Two dogs looking out their new extra-large doggie door. The power of the doggie door, choice.

The power of the Doggie Door and how to harness it.

The power of the Doggie Door and how to harness it.

You live in a house long enough and you'll know every detail you want to change. Because buying a house that fits lasts as long as you don't change how you live. A big two story felt big and capable. Then we added two dogs, eight parrots, a rabbit, and a guinea pig. The dogs are not small. The parrots expand. Exponentially. In their own heads. Give a parrot an inch and they will take that football field and your inch, and while they're at it, throw in the State of Nevada.

We curated The 8201 Change Request document. One item we felt sure would be the cat's meow, a doggie door. Since we were replacing all the doors and windows, it felt quite right to put a doggie door in one of those high impact next gen weather tight doors. The dogs are not small. The opening is not small. It has a hinged clear three panel impact plastic with rubber seals curtain. This doggie door has a locking high impact exterior door, as well as a heavy impact interior slider to secure it closed. We chose wisely. We paid a premium.

Angus Lee took to this door like he takes to raw rib eye steak bones. Effortless understanding and athletic egressing.

Dante took to this door like he takes to all things. He looks at a new thing, then looks at me with his, "I'm gonna die, aren't I?" face.

Days pass with Dante running after Angus up to, and sometimes into, the new doggie door. A day comes when he pushes his snout against the panel curtain. "YEGADS!" He scuttles back. "What is that sound? I'm gonna die, aren't I?" Yes, Dante, the thing sounds like a thousand-year-old castle drawbridge and a clogged vacuum having sex. How do I explain materials, air compression, and seals to a dog? I don't. That's how.

More days pass. Angus sees the doggie door as the Angus door. Angus leaps through it now. The castle drawbridge breaths it's baritone moan. In and out. Whenever he chooses. He leaves to nap in a patio chair. He returns to sip water and nap on the couch. He leaves because he swears he heard a squirrel hurling insults. He returns. No squirrel after all. What we didn't think to expect was Angus becoming a calmer dog in the house. The freedom to investigate anything at will has turned Angus into a security guard, with a Taser. Confidently accessing territory that needs a perimeter check. Without waiting on an amateur human who doesn't care, they are about to die.

Dante sees the doggie door and jumps on the couch.

Until the day Dad took matters into his own hands. "Let's go, Angus!" He opens the door and runs outside clapping hands and calling.

"Roger THAT!" Angus catapults off the couch to burst through the Angus door that yields a sharper baritone moan.

Dante's brain is in override. Rebooting to the "FOMO" file in his head. MUST FOLLOW TO THE ACTION! He jumps off the couch and stops dead at the door curtain. Thankfully, the inventors of said door made the panels clear. A dog can witness all the action he's missing out there. Dad is low to the ground goading Dante. He's playing with Angus! He THROWS A STUFFED TOY! HIS stuffed toy. DAD! Angus! Toy!

Instinct turns primal. Dante is now dog only. Ready to die for the trifecta of dog life. Dad, roommate, toy. He doesn't so much burst through the door as tentatively put a foot through first. Then pulls it back. Then tries the other foot. Then pulls it back. He is still alive! Amazing. Being a stubby Staffordshire, legs don't work like his roommate's. He has to find his own way to get through and then over the bottom of the door. His solution? Walking on his front legs until the last of his butt rope makes it through. He gallops into the arms of DAD. Dad doesn't last long in a crouch. He's on the ground now. Two dogs and their human celebrating the dog's life.

It's been weeks now. Dante is a professional. They are in and out all day. At will. Alone and in a pair. Confidence and calm increases with each use. It's their choice. Choice is everything.

Choice confirms identity and capability. A doggie door is an available choice. It isn't just a convenience for dog owners. It's a mental health item. If I lived in an apartment, I'd put a temporary doggie door on an interior door. Just so they had something intriguing to choose. Being able to choose freely is important. For everyone.

Test drive a doggie door choice with an insert rather than a built in. Simple is a choice, too.

Dogs need their comforts for their own confidence.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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