When Your Couch Wolf Cramps Your Decorating Style

I have a lot of strict rules when it comes to home decor and interior design. The first rule is: nothing cute. I don’t do cute sayings or inspirational quotes, and anything folksy can forget about entering my domain.

But, here’s my problem, I have a Shiba Inu. Have you seen Shiba swag? It’s all cute and a whole bunch of no for my design aesthetic (says the woman who has two Hello Kitty wallets). We’ve all seen it. And yes, I love to coo at it and go “awwww,” but like heck it’s ever entering my house.

I am so very grateful that people respect and honor my love for Buttons, but I have a little colony of shiba and dog-related coffee mug gifts stored in a high cabinet in my kitchen.

(Hi, I am VERY type-A if you haven’t noticed already.)

While I realize I kind of sound like a jerk right about now, I should say that I am 100% exactly like my dog. We’re both peculiar beings who like things a particular way (and listen, if every primitive dog owner can’t identify with that statement, then who are you even?)

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All of this particular-ness presents a big problem, because I very much want to have a physical way to show off how much I adore my couch wolf. How does a shiba-lovin’-non-cutesy-woman do this?

Foxes - or as I routinely refer to them “Regal Representations of His Majesty, Prince Buttons.”

Even foxes can put me on shaky ground decor-wise because it’s pretty easy to slip into folksy territory. In fact, my first piece of fox decor was almost too much folksy-ness for me to handle. I mean, it’s from Cracker Barrel. I talked myself into it because it was a fall decoration… but it’s somehow managed to stick around with my regular decor through two moves. Whoops.

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One of my favorite fox pieces isn’t actually a fox at all. I found out after I bought it that it is, in fact, a cat. But since I’m already pretending foxes are shibas, pretending a cat is a fox really isn’t that big of a leap. I don’t know how anyone could look at this and not see a curled up sleeping fox/shiba!

It’s handmade blown-glass that I special ordered to get the “tortoise-shell” color because shiba has a black saddle of fur on his back and I thought this pattern reflected his coloring more than an entirely orange or red figurine would.

The next two items go together. They’re both salt and pepper shakers from Target. If you have a Shiba, you’ve likely seen these before. They were all the rage a few years back when Target had a lot of fox-related home decor. The white set was especially nice because people with cream shibas have a difficult time finding suitable decor.

These shakers have never been in my kitchen and never been filled with anything. I bought them with the intent of using them as nothing more than figurines.

I love how sleek and simple the orange ones are. The exaggerated cheeks give off a touch of whimsy that I also appreciate.

The white ones have a bit more personality to them. They have an endearing quality that the orange ones don’t have.

I also like that they both sets are small. One thing I am also adamant about is that my home isn’t littered with too much of one thing. I like my home to be representative of who I am as a whole person. I don’t want it to be all about my dog - though there is enough dog hair everywhere to make it very apparent that I have one.

Speaking of dog hair, I do everything I can to minimize its presence in my home. We’re talking three vacuums, plus one robot vacuum. But when you have a double-coated dog, you can’t stop it. Fur is going to happen. The only coping mechanism is acceptance. If someone doesn’t like that there is dog hair in my house - welp, they can find the door on their own.

Still, like I said, I try to minimize it. We have two dog-free chairs, but he is allowed on the couch. I could cover my couch with cute dog blankets or those furniture covers that scream “Yes, I am an ugly furniture cover that ruins the aesthetic in the house but there is a lot of dog hair here!”, but, I’m sure you’ve guessed it, that’s not my thing. Plus, I have a vintage couch and I really don’t want anything distracting from its shape. I have a large pillow sham that matches the color of my couch. It stays on “his side” of the couch. This gives him a “place” to go and helps keep the hair on the other side of the couch at a minimum - or at least that’s the idea. In practice, things don’t really go as planned….

(in case you happen to notice, at the time of this photo, Buttons had an ultrasound a few weeks before and had his belly shaved. it’s wild to see how much hair they have when compared to the nearly nekkid spot.

(in case you happen to notice, at the time of this photo, Buttons had an ultrasound a few weeks before and had his belly shaved. it’s wild to see how much hair they have when compared to the nearly nekkid spot.

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In addition to the pillow cover, my friend and fellow shiba enthusiast, Marjo Puranen, made Buttons an incredibly soft blanket that is the perfect match for our couch. It also makes for great photo ops when he uses it as a cape.

And yes, this definitely borders on cute but it is so.incredibly.soft. I’m honestly jealous that it’s a dog-sized blanket because it would be a dream to curl up in this on a chilly night.

Speaking of cute, there is one thing in my home that is undeniably cute and folksy and it’s ridiculous that I love it.

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Two years ago, my aunt sent me a giant fox cookie jar. When I unwrapped it and realized it was a little too cute for my taste, I really didn’t know what to do - because what do you do when someone so very sweetly thinks of you and gets you something that’s completely on brand for you, but they miss the mark just slightly? We’ve all been there - but then I looked closer at the jar and completely lost my mind.

It’s a momma fox with her baby fox and I actually said out loud, “OMG it’s me and baby Buttons!” and now the jar lives on the main floor of the house for everyone to see. Because sometimes…. sometimes you’ve just got to embrace the cute.

My absolute favorite piece of fox decor was an impulse buy that has somewhat of a sad story behind it.

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Last year, my dog became very ill. There was a very scary period where he wasn’t eating and barely drinking. He was almost hospitalized because he went such a long time without drinking and he could barely move. All of these horrible thoughts were running through my head. While messing around online, I ran across this fox garden sculpture. I stopped in my tracks and bought it immediately.

It was an unwise purchase, I suppose. It was, most definitely, one of those purchases you make when your emotions are high and you somehow think “stuff” will make you feel better. While it certainly didn’t make me feel better about my dog’s health, it brings me tons of joy! I love it. It sits right outside of my front door year round.

The expression on the fox’s face is one my dog wears often. He’s sizing you up. He’s not quite sure if you are worthy of his time - should he judge you or love you? Should he do a combo? Should he continue to sit and not come when you call - even though he knows very well what you want him to do, but has yet to decide if it’s worth it to adhere to the request.

These are the thoughts that constantly run through my dog’s mind. I love that before people enter my home, they get an idea of who lives here. They get an idea of whose home this is. They know a couch wolf lives here.