How My Dog Made Me A Better Hostess

Back in the 1950s, magazines taught women how to be the perfect hostess.

I’ve learned the same thing, but with a lot more dog hair. Because my golden retriever has taught me everything I need to know about making people feel welcome.

Golden Retriever eating a bone

Take a seat. I’ve been keeping it warm for you.

Two Extroverts On The Loose

Yes, I know that you introverts who are reading right now are shivering at the thought of unexpected guests dropping by.

But my dog Honey and I are both extroverts. So having company is fun.

At least it has become fun once I stopped worrying about stupid things like whether I was wearing make up, how long since I vacuumed, and whether I had anything to offer people to eat every time the door bell rang.

Luckily, I have Honey as an example of the perfect hostess.

Honey the golden retriever checks the pantry.

Let’s see. I have extra dog bowls and some Honest Kitchen. Let’s see what I can throw together for company.

Honey The Hostess

When the doorbell rings, Honey runs downstairs. She stands in front of the glass door swishing her floofie tail in a graceful rhythm.

As I open the door to say hello, Honey rushes forward to give her greeting then turns away to grab a gift from her basket—a tennis ball, a tug toy, or the remains of her stuffed lamb who has seen better days.

After I take our guest’s coat (this is Ithaca, they almost always have a coat), we sit down in the living room. Honey can’t stop wagging. And she shuffles around the room, frequently returning to our guest to make her feel even more welcome.

Honey never worries that her ball is too spitty. She doesn’t look twice at the dog hair dust rhinos blowing under the chair as we sit down. And she doesn’t worry about sharing her biscuits with our guest. That’s just not going to happen anyway.

In other words, Honey is the perfect hostess.

Honey the golden retriever sits on my lap.

And if I really like you, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you here.

Don’t Worry About Stupid Stuff

Okay, when a recent guest couldn’t stop sneezing because of the dog hair I felt kinda bad.

But most of the time, messy hair or a dirty house aren’t such a big deal.

Friends are a gift. And if we turn them away, or can’t enjoy their company because we’re too self-conscious about the condition of our house or the fact that we don’t look like a fashion model after working from home or scrubbing the tub, we’re missing out.

My golden retriever knows that every person is a gift. And by following her lead (minus the floofie tail), I’ve become a much better hostess.

So drop by any time. Honey and I will be glad to see you.

Just know that the perfect hostesses are the ones who make you feel welcome, not the ones whose toys are never spitty and whose house is always clean.

Your Turn: Do you and/or your dog welcome drop-ins? Or would you have a moat with alligators if you thought you could get away with it?



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  1. I’ve always been a “neat freak” so unexpected visitors are never a problem. I don’t worry about Harley’s toys all over the floor though. As long as the kitchen sink is empty and the bathrooms are clean – I’m cool…

    • Oooh, well if you’re a neat freak you and Harley better call if you’re planning a trip to Ithaca. It might take me a while to get to Doodle-bug drop-in standards. :)

  2. Hmm, good question. I’m a little bit in between. Luckily (?) we live far enough out in the boonies that we don’t get many drop-ins.

  3. Both. Obviously we love our solitude because we are alone in the middle of nowhere. But guests are welcome too, as long as they let me know ahead of time.

  4. I don’t do well with unexpected drop-ins!! But, when it happens, I like to make the most of it! I may not always have food to offer either, but… One thing I have learned over the years is to keep a box of Zyrtec in the pantry so that I have something to offer those sneezey guests. :)

  5. I am definitely an introvert so having unexpected guests stresses me out. Plus, I like to make sure I can at least run the vacuum before friends stop by! Mauja and Atka do remind me how to be a great host though. They always greet every guest with a kiss and a wagging tail. Oh, and a whole lot of white fur 😉

    • Yes, I do try to keep in mind the extroversion or introversion of my friends before I drop in. Perhaps introverts who live in a town where drop-ins are likely could get a little sign for their window telling them that an introvert lives inside and they’d appreciate a call first. :)

      Of course, with Mauja and Atka on greeting duty, I can’t imagine anyone would pay much attention to humans. :)

  6. I’m sort of halfway between in– and ex– but I can’t imagine anyone dropping by my house without phoning or texting ahead even if just to say they are nearby and is this a good time.

    You won’t even have to think about being an impromptu hostess when you start your sailing adventure, will you?

    • Actually, I suspect I’ll get more drop-ins sailing than I do now. Cruising sailors seem to be a pretty gregarious bunch. Or maybe it’s just that after spending 23 days crossing an ocean with only their partner for company, they’re desperate to talk to someone new. :)

      And when we were in Panama, we got frequent visits from the Guna Yala Indians, selling molas and fish, asking to charge their cell phones, and looking for help repairing an outboard engine.

      At least the cruisers usually radio first. But you never knew when a Guna dugout canoe was going to stop by.

  7. I wonder how many drop ins you will have on the boat? It seems more suited to solitary life. We don’t mind the occasional drop by folks, and Mom has relaxed about the fur all over since living with a Kuvasz is just a fur disaster every day.

    • Good idea for the mom to relax about the dog fur. You just have to pick your battles, right?

      And lots of cruisers are pretty sociable. In Panama, they even made a party out of burning garbage. They’d radio to all the other boats to meet on an island with their garbage. Everyone brought something to drink. And they sat around and watched the garbage burn. Weird, huh?

      But everyone normally does radio ahead before dropping in. It probably has to do with the fact that lots of tropical cruisers are also nudists. :)

      • Mom and Katie have lots of experience with nudists from Germany where pretty much every beach has a nude area. From what I hear, those folks were rather scary to see! I guess you can just sell you clothes along with the house…more room on the boat that way! LOL! Honey may want to keep her collar on, my sisters and I never leave home naked.

  8. “Dog hair dust rhinos” I love that!! Hahaha it’s like that at my house only it’s cat hair mostly.

    I’m guilty of going into a cleaning frenzy whenever I am expecting guests, I try to have hair picked up and such from furniture, couch spots, and off of the floor..
    Recently it has become more challenging to keep up, I feel like i’m always cleaning..maybe I should take Honey’s example and just not worry about it so much. :-)

    • Yeah, I used to be like that when I was younger. I’ve discovered two things:

      1) A clean house is very nice and I shouldn’t only do it for company. I’m worth it too. (But I’m not so hot at practicing this one).

      2) People come to see us (well, usually Honey), not our house. And your true friends aren’t looking under the furniture for tumbleweeds or on the shelves for dust. :)

      Besides, I bet Dante and Ziva would rather spend time with you than your vacuum. :)

  9. I am guilty of worrying too much about the state of my house. The other day I put up a curtain rail and somehow it isn’t straight. When I was complaining to my dad about it he said “don’t worry a true friend won’t notice the pole, and if they do you are better off without them in your life (i paraphrase)” then one of my best friends came round and the first thing she said was “what’s going on with that curtain pole”. I told her she was a rubbish friend and threatened to throw her out (obviously I was joking). We still laugh about it!

    • Just had to tell you my husband loved your comment so much he read it out loud to me. :)

      Maybe your DAD’s friends wouldn’t notice a crooked curtain rail….

      • The tail continues, last night I was at the house of the friend who commented and had to laugh when I saw her curtain pole which is currently broken and so is actually v shaped! I may have pointed out the need for a new rail ever time I walked into her room!