There are people who allow pets on the furniture.

And there are people who build furniture for their pets.

I used to be one of the former.

Now I’m one of the latter.

The credit goes to Francesca.

Or the blame.

Let me explain.

Francesca and I have five dogs and two cats. We’re outnumbered, and we’re fine with that. Except I spend all day getting up and opening the door for animals.

A workout for middle-aged women.

Of course I have dog doors, but not all the dogs have figured out how to use them.

Actually, the dumb ones use the dog doors.

The smart ones use me.

So Francesca and I were hanging out in the family room, and she loves looking at pet supplies online, since she has always been the personal shopper for our pets, as well as their primary advocate.

We call her Attorney-at-Paw.

She got the idea that the dogs might need a ramp to get onto our beds, since they’re getting too old to use the little stairs we already have. And it turned out that there were a slew of choices for dog ramps, like one had a rug for better traction and another had adjustments for steepness of incline.

One even had a railing. Because I bet that my dogs, who can’t even be trained to sit, will learn to use a banister.

Anyway, I went along with getting the pet ramps, since she agreed to build them. I’m happy to pay and watch her work while I drink a Bloody Mary.

By the way, Bloody Mary was my mother’s favorite drink, so we call them Mother Mary.

When I die, I hope I’m immortalized in alcohol.

So we got two ramps, one for each bed, which clinches the likelihood that I’ll be celibate forever.

Imagine when I bring my date to my bedroom and he catches sight of the pet ramp.

You don’t see that in the movies.

Maybe you should.


After the pet ramps arrived, Francesca built them, and we put one next to my bed and one next to hers, and now we’re teaching the dogs to use them.

Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. Except for Boone, who barks until I lift him onto the bed.

I’m telling you, this dog is no dummy.

We were fine except that the other day, Francesca was looking at pet catalogs again and decided that the cats should have something to sharpen their claws on.

Meanwhile, these cats are 13 years old, and the back of every chair is already shredded.

Honestly, I don’t mind. I tell myself it’s shabby chic, emphasis on the shabby.

It turns out there are three million scratching posts you can buy for cats, most of them made of sisal and cardboard, and there are also entire edifices of scratching posts, even one called a cat condo.

Which Francesca agreed to make, so I said fine.

I made another Mother Mary.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen a cat condo before, you’re in for a treat. It has four floors, an arched front door, and absolutely no curb appeal.

The top floor has a little ball that hangs down, so you can bat it around.

Never mind that our cats don’t bat anything around anymore. My dining room is littered with ignored cat toys that squeak when you step on them, like a pet-supply minefield.

In any event, the cat condo arrived, and Francesca built it, and we put it in a corner, since it stands 5 feet tall and is the most hideous piece of furniture I’ve ever owned, if you don’t count two pet ramps.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for the cats to move in.

Maybe they need a ramp?

Look for Lisa’s first historical novel, “Eternal,” coming on March 23. Also look for Francesca’s debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” on sale now.