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Our first dog Willie was a tiny, spirited little guy. A Maltese mix, he was small, energetic, and super affectionate and we fell in love the moment we saw his wiggling butt in the shelter. Willie took to our old apartment immediately, claiming about 90% of the available space as his private property that he sometimes allowed us to use. Both my husband and I travelled a lot for work, which Willie objected to, but we usually arranged for someone to stay over or visit him during the day, so he didn’t often feel completely abandoned.

When we bought a house and moved, Willie was at first a bit cowed by the size of the new place, and he kept finding new hiding places to cower in. Several times we thought perhaps we’d lost Willie somehow, only to discover that the little scamp had found a new nook or cranny to fall asleep in. We worked to make Willie more at home and gave him a lot of extra attention. While he slowly got used to his new surroundings, he still showed a penchant for hiding in the strangest places when we weren’t home.

We suffered from the typical affliction of people who move from apartments to houses: A lack of furniture. A few months after the move, new furniture arrived for the living room, saving us from sitting on the floor while watching TV. Willie loved the new couch and claimed it for himself. A few weeks later we began to notice that we’d often sit down to watch a show and have no Willie in sight, and then we’d glanced over and he’d suddenly be there, as if by magic.

One day, we had workers in the house and Willie disappeared. We searched everywhere we could think of, and thought back over the course of the day, wondering if Willie could have escaped outside. It seemed impossible, but we couldn’t locate him anywhere. We sat on the couch with the laptop computer, plotting strategy for a search party. Distraught we sat for a moment in silence … and realised that our new couch was panting. I crawled underneath, and looked around and there was Willie’s head, poking out from inside the couch.

Willie had tunnelled up through the thin fabric on the bottom of the couch and found a pocket of space in the armrest where he could just fit for a nap. The bottom of the couch was torn up, and tufts of cushion had been excavated by our pooch to make more room for himself. He’d obviously been spending a lot of time in his little club house over the previous few weeks.

We coaxed him out with some treats and covered the bottom of our very new, very expensive, and now very ruined couch with some cardboard. Now whenever Willie disappears we have to search not just the dark corners of the house, but the furniture as well!

About the author: Jackie McLellan and her family are based in Scotland and are animal mad, living with dogs, cats, rabbits and sheep. Jackie now breeds beautiful Australian Labradoodle puppies and regularly has labradoodle puppies for sale.

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