For the love of dogs DIY

There is no way we could live life on the daily without a dog door. Like, really, no way. We had a dog door in Florida, and at Sahalee, we keep the door open almost year-round and the pups go freely in and out as they please. When we started working on Casablanca, there was no fence and no free will allowed for any of us. We worked to remedy this immediately after Sweet Pete came on the scene. Mostly just to preserve our sanity during lockdown so the young one could be out of the house as much as possible and not feel neglected if no one thought to let her back in.

The fence was a relatively simple and low-budget design- Wire farm fence sandwiched in between two pressure treated 2x4s. The hardest part was digging the post holes. We used our hand auger that worked wonders for the solar panel tower supports at Sahalee. We put 4×4 metal caps on top to help keep the moisture from pulling the wood apart and twisting over time. It also gave the fence a real sharp look.

Really, the best part of the new ‘dog yard’ was the upcycled iron gate we added by the driveway (big enough for Buffy to drive through). Our awesome fire department friend agreed to sell the decorative window grates AND help to modify for the gate with hinges and stake latches- SO grateful to our talented, generous, and resourceful local community!

The first custom access came after we built the sun porch. I didn’t want to cut into the new storm door, and the pre-fab units cost more than I wanted to spend. Since the porch wasn’t insulated, it wasn’t imperative to have any super engineered airtight contraption. A framed opening with a carpet scrap cover would serve our purpose. During the day when the winter porch temps were toasty in the 70s-80s, we just left the kitchen door open. That would not work at night, on inclement weather days, or in the summer when temps hit 100 and we needed to keep the door shut to cool the house.

Pete actually took to it quite well, and Radar followed when she finally gave in to the cold weather venture. We did have to add a little block step underneath the door outside so that it wasn’t so much of a drop or jump for the tiny one.

The second animal access point came a little later with more finagling. The kitchen door was a nice insulated steel exterior door that I couldn’t bear to cut into. (The long-term plan is to install a solid wood Dutch door with a dog portal at the bottom.) So, I preserved the metal door and reused the hollow-core wood door we extracted from the bathroom during demolition. (EDIT: See the full bathroom renovation.) had to refit the hinges and learned how to use my new cordless router. It ended up going in ‘good enough.’ (Again, this is a temporary arrangement.)

The hole was sized for a medium dog and ended up fitting the big puppy just right. The little dog had more of an obstacle so I used some more old carpet scrap to trim the rough cut opening. Another low-tech flap from a discarded rug on each side blocked most of the cold draft, but not all. The time will come very soon for the next upgrade to the solid door and proper dog access.

We did it all for love… Yes, dogs rule.