Dad has Gone to the Dogs

I hated the leather couch before I even set eyes on it. I begged my father not to buy it; “Think about the poor helpless cows you’re killing! How do you sleep at night with that on your conscience”? The not so subtleties of my teenaged self righteousness were at an all time high that year (I spent the couple months that followed crying over the tree in the side yard that my mother insisted on chopping down). Much to my dismay, one Sunday afternoon, the beast was dragged into the house through the back door, its monstrous wooden legs taking out a glass window on its way in.

The following photo series documents the metamorphosis of the leather couch, from my father’s well cared for, immaculately kept, treasured territory, into the sunken in, fur covered oasis for my family’s two bratty, but beautiful, Golden Retrievers.

Originally adamantly against the adoption of both pups (Missy and Lucy), he complained vehemently about their muddy paws, the way they barked at the squirrels at 7 a.m. and the constant slew of dog hair that blew across the hardwood floors like tumble weeds in the Mohave Desert. However over time, though he will deny it to his death bed I am sure, he has come to love the dogs, who he now refers to as “the girls” (my two sisters and I apparently have been stripped of that title…) taking them on long walks through the woods of his own accord, sneaking them the fatty ends of the New York strip steak under the table, and talking to them when he thinks no one is listening (we hear you, Dad).

When the dogs invited themselves on to the couch and he didn’t have a conniption, I knew he had finally lost it.

Here she is in all her glory, my father’s luxurious leather couch. I can practically hear it moo-ing.
And now the man himself, Thomas Mullins, lounging feet up, work laptop at the ready. However, let me draw your attention to the TV clicker in his hand. Tom can usually be found flipping between Jim Cramer’s Mad Money programming and some sort of Sci-Fi adventure movie while seated on the couch. My sisters and I know well: if you are going to talk, mention changing the channel, or even chew too loudly, you will be kicked off the couch and probably exiled to another room. The dogs are never welcome.
In my father’s defense, the dogs are not welcome on the couch, because they often return home looking like this. Missy not only looks like she has been swimming in a mud puddle, but smells as though she has lived in a gym locker for 3 decades.
Originally, Missy (left, 2) and Lucy (right, 3) were content sleeping on the ground like your average canine. Though they both have dog beds, the hard wood floor in the dead center of the kitchen, conveniently in the way of all family members, is often preferable.
I can’t quite put my finger on the exact moment it began, but my father slowly became a softy for the dogs. He often snuck them pieces of people food, such as the chicken parmesan calzone pictured above. Missy sensed his growing weakness, and decided to capitalize on it.
At first I thought I was imagining it. I woke up groggy one morning, trudging down the stairs, to find Missy on the couch: her angelic head laid delicately on a decorative pillow, paws outstretched, fast asleep.
I let out a gasp, waking her from her slumber and tried to shoo her off before my father caught her on his couch. Her face said it all, “I am NOT moving.”
Soon I found Missy on the couch every morning. She had established her corner of the couch and was happy as a clam. Lucy still sat on the floor like the well behaved girl she is, but I could tell Missy’s new life of luxury on the leather coach was tempting her to the dark side.
It didn’t take long before Lucy decided she wanted more. I was sitting on the couch, watching my favorite episode of The Office, when Lucy’s face popped up between my legs. Her eye’s told me she was ready to make the jump, and she leapt on to the couch next to me,
And the rest is history. Missy takes the right side of the couch, and Lucy takes the left every night before they go to sleep.
And amidst the fur balls, and nail scratched leather, sits my father. Lucy sits on his lap, and Missy by his side, the only two of his “girls” who will silently watch his Sci-Fi movies, and listen to Jim Cramer screech, without complaint.