Even in Winter, Falstaff Is An Oregon Hot Dog, Thanks to His Solar-Heated Home
On sunny days he can stand on his porch, admire the aspen trees and breathe the cool Oregon air. A cedar fence surrounds his property, keeping the riffraff out of his rock garden. He enters his handsome, custom-designed solar home through a specially constructed canvas door. He sleeps on peach-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, and a mallard duck print on the wall enhances his dreams. For Falstaff, a 3½-year-old golden retriever, a dog’s life ain’t so bad.
There was a time when Falstaff was just another garage dweller, but he was such a good duck hunter that his master, Sunriver, Oreg. labor relations attorney Bruce Bischof, 44, felt the dog deserved better. He jokingly told friends at a Christmas party three years ago, “Falstaff is so fine he deserves a solar dog house.” Before you could say Rin Tin Tin, a couple of Bischof’s buddies, a construction businessman and an architect, tossed in free scrap materials and blueprints, and over the course of a spring weekend Bischof watched incredulously as Falstaff became the proud owner of a swanky solar home. Made of kiln-dried Western cedar, it comes complete with a Plexiglas window that functions as a solar panel to keep it warm during the winter and cool during the dog days of summer.
Word of Falstaff’s classy canine casa soon spread, so Bischof and his family organized a housewarming party. “There was obviously a lot of envy and jealousy,” reports Bischof, yet Falstaff’s four-footed friends still came bearing gifts like biscuits, duck calls and whistles. A newspaper article brought love letters with woofs, arfs and bowwows sprinkled through the pages; a few were signed with paw prints. “Some 25 to 30 lady dogs wanted to meet Falstaff,” says Bischof. “Falstaff is eligible but he has no girlfriends. I don’t want romance to impair his hunting.” Amazed at the sudden notoriety, Bischof adds, “After all these years I thought I’d be known for my fine law practice and here I am known for my dog.”
Bischof, who lives in a 12-room non-solar house, further feathered his pooch’s plush pad recently with an automatic feeder that drops his chow into a bowl every 24 hours, and with a sound system, so he can “go to bed listening to his favorite duck songs.” Now that’s really putting on the dog.