Allyson Heumann, owner of two black pugs, Maximilian and Morgan Ellie, didn't want "airline crates" or ugly plastic pet taxis in her living room, which is decorated entirely with one-of-a-kind Arts and Crafts pieces of furniture. So the downtown dweller bought two small, aged cedar doghouses shaped like Chicago bungalows. They're meant for the outdoors, but Heumann had an ironmonger design Arts and Crafts-style open grillwork doors that latch "like a gate when entering a house" and the pair of houses now serve as fitting indoor retreats for her pooches.
Homeowners are also responding to the needs of their aging or infirm pets.
Marcy LeMaster-Gibbons, an investor in Integrative Pet Care, a Chicago animal-care facility that incorporates design that's compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, consults with clients who want to build a ramp for an aging or infirm dog on their deck or front porch.
"We use ramps to get the dogs [and cats] into a resistance pool and onto underwater treadmills," she says. She recommends a 6-degree incline.
An alternative she recommends is the ramps sold to load or unload a dog from the back of a car or van. They are available at pet supermarkets such as PetsMart in telescoping, wide, lightweight, folding and small sizes.