Are Your Dogs Barking Too?

What can our pets teach us about ourselves and our spaces?

I’ve never mentioned my dog, Shea, on these pages, so until now you would never have known how deeply connected I am to this furry little being. There are many things to consider as a pet owner from how to provide a lifestyle that ensures balance and happiness for all concerned, to where in your home that dog bed is going to live?

Animals are acutely tuned into the present moment and we can learn much from them by observing how they use the spaces in your home. They can educate us about how to use our spaces, and the items we fill them with. Below are 3 aspects to consider when sharing your home with a pet that works for both of you beautifully.


We all have a strong subconscious connection to objects of the past. This has more to do with the story they tell, rather than the fact they are old per se. However, to keep your space fresh and interesting, mix things up. For example, an old sofa that still retains it’s robust comfort placed next to a giant modern anglepoise lamp and perhaps add a backdrop of floral wallpaper. Together this mix will come alive and lose the overly sweetness of nostalgia. Together they allow us to experience a warm connection to the past while freeing up the way we think. Also, our items are not so precious and they will stand up to the rigours of having pets on and around them.


Play is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Stress is relieved and the brain in play mode is good at solving apparently insoluble problems. Pet’s love to play and play with us! Make room in your space to play in general and with your pet. Often an open carpeted area is all you need. Shea has a basket of toys and when it appears, he chooses what it will be. Roll out a yoga mat, and you’ll have a place for your mind to subconsciously work/solve the current issues in your life.


We are happiest when we’re working and experiencing “flow”, or that sense of doing what we do well when we can lose ourselves in the moment. Many of us work from home at least some of the time now and we can make the experience more rewarding. In practise, work boils down to right brain creative work and left-brain logical work. We exist in a combination of ideas happening in their own time and also being efficient and and rational. We all do a lot of technological work, so it’s important to bring in some warmth, some sensuality. Drop the office aesthetic that reinforces the message that work is a duty. Have your office in a sunny warm space, or in the garden shed! Make it pleasurable: the perfect chair, efficient technology, the perfect light.

With these changes, my guess is that your pet will join you.

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