One major hurdle we will need to over come on our quest for tiny living is finding a way to live comfortably and peacefully with our dogs. Some of these concerns are more for us, including the ever present carpet of fur, surfing the counters for tasty morsels, barking incessantly at the mail carrier, and stretching out the entire length of the bed. And some are for the day to day safety and well-being of our “fur children”.
We recently downsized from roughly 1,000 ft/sq to just over 700 ft/sq. While there were some tears shed when we realized we were going to have to downsize our lives and begin to think smaller, we (and our animals) have adapted well. There is no doubt that our transition was made easier by having a nice sized fenced yard for the animals to roam (except during the rainy Oregon winters).
When considering our move to a tiny home, one thing us humans are very excited about is the opportunity to have a sleeping loft in our tiny house on wheels. I can picture us climbing a beautifully hand crafted ladder to our personal sleeping nook, and bedding down with-out a couple of dogs already stretched out across the bed. No more waking up in the middle of the night and banishing them from the room. No more early morning wake-up calls requesting kibble. No more dirty dogs ruining our clean sheets! While this all sounds pretty wonderful. I am also a bit sad to think of a time where I won’t be able to lay in bed with my arm around a couple of wonderful pooches. I’m a bit sad that I won’t be able to call one or both in to bed for an early morning snuggle-fest. Clearly there will be quite the adjustment period for the whole family, but there are a few things we can do to plan to make the transition smoother.
My first idea was to build a nice fenced area outside our tiny house. This would be something familiar to the dogs, and would give Nikki and I the peace of mind to know that they won’t be running off and getting in to trouble. Along with the fence, we decided we would need to pull our tiny house to an area that is fairly temperate. This would allow us to keep the doors and windows open, giving us and the dogs additional space and freedom to move. An added bonus would be if we were in a situation where the dogs would be welcome to come with us during our daily activities. Once they have the appropriate amount of stimulation and are adequately fed, they seems to have little use for us and choose to rest up for the coming days activities (visions of mail-carriers dancing in their heads).
Another idea I had just the other evening was to design a lower “lounging area” where we could all (comfortably) occupy the same space. A long bench seat and open floor area where we could all comfortably cohabitate during the cooler months of the year.
Perhaps one of the largest changes I can foresee us making in our move to such a small space is that we will be required to spend much more of our time outside of our home. It will be less important to ensure that we have enough space inside our tiny home, and more important that we all get out and enjoy the world outside of it.
I am realizing that this is one of the major philosophical differences between the traditional and tiny house movement. Specifically, that we become isolated in our “McMansions”, spending our lives amongst four closed walls. Some may even live in a house that is so large they become isolated from those people they live with. I want for our tiny home to be a vehicle for connecting us back to our community. We recognize that we cannot do it alone. We intend to give what we have and find ourselves in a community that also desires to share what it can as well. We recognize that we become stronger when we bond together, and that it becomes easier than trying to do it all by ourselves.
I haven’t found many resources that discuss living with dogs in tiny houses or small spaces in general. I welcome any and all feedback, stories, and helpful hints that anyone reading has to offer.
All of Us! (Mitchell, Nicholette, Bailey Roo, Cooper Dean, and Jesse too!)