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Note from the Founder – September 2012

Janice Brown and LunaA few years ago, I interviewed interior designer Nate Berkus. He shared his tips, ideas, and overall philosophy on design—specifically when there are pets in the picture. My biggest takeaway from our conversation: Your home should be “livable.” His advice is to accept the reality of your lifestyle, and make the appropriate design choices (read: concessions and sacrifices).

In my house, this means being OK with clumps of white fur on the floor; pretzels, pennies, and Legos between the couch cushions, under my pillow, and in other strange places I didn’t think they could fit; and princess, superhero, and glow-in-the-dark stickers on nearly every surface within reach. And here’s one thing I know for sure: Until my youngest goes off to college, our home will be void of any white sofas, fancy wallpaper, or carpeting of any kind.

I don’t even realize how much our so-called “style” revolves around our reality, until guests come over who don’t have pets or kids. Why is there a pile of bones in the living room? Because Luna likes to chew on the area rug so the bone does not slide around, of course. What about the enormous train table in front of the living room fireplace? You mean some people actually build fires when they entertain? Oh, and ignore the Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics needed to maneuver around the cage and giant dog bed in our bedroom … Luna needs options to maximize her comfort level when sleeping.

Luckily, there is hope for pet-lovers to pull off stylish surroundings while catering to the four-legged family. Well-known designers Jason Cameron, Jeff Lewis, and Nate Berkus offer their tips for maintaining a beautiful home—while keeping the humans and pets in it happy, as well!

According to Dr. Barb Royal, one of our favorite vets, paying attention to how animals act in the wild is another great way to keep our pets healthy and pain-free. So, after considering that Luna’s ancestors spent their time hunting for food and protecting their young, letting her leave antler chews and pig ears on my floor is the least I can do. Be sure to check out how Dr. Royal’s amazing experiences have transformed the way she looks at pet health—moving beyond simply treating the symptoms and factoring a pet’s nutrition, stress, and overall well-being into the equation.

I love learning new things and thinking about new ways to help our pets live their best lives. Now, if I could only figure out how to keep dog treats out of the Tinkertoy bin.

Go ahead, check under your own couch cushions. I bet you’ll find change…

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