Monday, June 6, 2011

Puppy Prep---the next phase!!

So here is the most current picture of our new puppy, Merlin, that we've gotten.  Isn't he adorable?!?  We can't wait for him to finally come home and live with us full time----which I learned this past week will happen THIS COMING SATURDAY, JUNE 11TH!!! HOORAY!!

Of course that means that we have to kick the preparations for Merlin to come home into high gear!  We have already done quite a bit....'ll recall from our last blog post that we did some work on our back patio/porch to create a safe place for him to play and hang out with us by building a gate and by fully enclosing the lower portion of the railing so that he couldn't sneak out and escape into traffic or run away or anything. 

We have also done a lot of shopping----for food bowls and food, snacks and treats, a harness and leash, a crate, a carrier, a doggy bed, grooming supplies (brushes and doggy shampoo, etc.), a soft-sided play pen to use in the yard or when we're traveling or visiting with family and toys galore--and we started researching vets and pet hotels/boarders (since we travel once or twice a year and we'll probably not be able to bring him along). 

The one thing we have been looking for that we couldn't find, however, was a baby gate.  Well, I should probably qualify that statement----we couldn't find a baby gate that wasn't absolutely hideous and/or that would match our decor!! (I am, after all, gay gay gay----so matching and appearance matters! LOL)

So here's the deal.  Merlin is already crate trained to sleep in a crate overnight which is fine...but we're going to want to keep him somewhat confined during the day while we're at work, as well.  This will help prevent him from destroying things while unsupervised and confines any potty accidents that he might have during the day when I can't get home from work (just a couple blocks from home) to let him out.  (Although Mary Jo tells us he is pretty much potty trained to use a puppy pad and is learning to let you know when he needs to go outside----which is good news...but better safe than sorry and no matter how well trained he is, he still has a small bladder and will only be able to hold it so long!! LOL)

So we've been on the market for a baby gate----because we decided the easiest and most convenient thing to do would be to put a gate at the entrance to our kitchen----a space that is about 7 foot square and that has really nothing close to the ground that could hurt him or he could destroy as long as cabinets stay closed. (Now, the wood floors are another issue.....we're probably going to put some kind of floor covering down at least initially to make sure that he can use the puppy pad pretty consistently to try to protect our floor....but you get the idea).  Well, we've looked in both pet stores and baby stores and if I have to look at one more ugly white wire or beige plastic atrocity I think I'll gouge my eyes out!! LOL  It is painfully clear that whoever designs baby gates values function over form....but that just won't work for me!

So after thinking about it for a while, I decided we should make our OWN gate...and design it so that it blends well with our decor....and so that is what we did.  It was a several day project as we worked on it in bits and pieces (and Jason's father helped us with part of the woodworking aspect when we visited them over Memorial Day weekend)...but it was well worth it!  I did the primary DESIGN of the project, and Jason did most of the handiwork (with some help from me).  The basic premise is that I wanted to create a gate/door that matched some homemade glass artwork that we already have hanging in our kitchen and living room which would mean using black framing, glass or plexiglass sheets and glass paint.  I couldn't be more thrilled with the end results!!  Here are some pictures of the work in progress:
Two sheets of thin plexiglass that we used for the center section of the gate.

Jason sawing away to create the 45 degree angles necessary to build the outer frame of the gate (which we custom built to fit exactly into the entry to our kitchen).

Me helping out with some of the saw work once Jason's arms got tired! LOL

A few of our final cut pieces of the framing are starting to come together in our basement.

The piece is pretty much put together and now it needs a coat of paint.

Fully painted and ready for hardware and then to be mounted.

Installing hinges, a magnetic catch (to hold it open when we're home and don't need to confine Merlin) and a latch to lock it closed when Merlin is in the kitchen during the day.

So the gate was designed, like I said, so that it would close off the kitchen during the day but when we're home in the evening it would stay propped open (using a magnetic catch) and out of the way against the side of dishwasher/counter/cabinet----and to match our decor visually.  Here are some before and after shots of the kitchen and/or gate:
The entry to our kitchen before the gate is installed.
The gate is installed here and open---you can kind of see it against the side of the black cabinet there under the paper towels.

The finished gate installed and latched closed (you can imagine Merlin peeking out from behind it)----in this picture you can also see the artwork that we created when we bought our house using glass frames and paint on the wall above...and the gate was designed to match.
 Now, really, have you ever seen anything cooler?!?!  *smile*

I am sure that our next update will be pictures of new little guy when we go and pick him up from Jason's step-sister, Bridget......only 5 days till he's home for good!!!


  1. Merlin is one lucky pup! He's adorable, and the gate you made is fantastic. I wish you'd been around to do the ones for our kitchen back when we had a puplet.

  2. Love your gate. I was thrilled when we found a cherry wood one a few years ago that we use to keep little dogs out of the bedroom the cat considers his, although he does let Cathy sleep there :-). You two have some serious talent.

  3. OH i just love that gate! Soooooooo YOU!

  4. Wow, I am so impressed

  5. Is Merlin home yet?