This Carpet Concert is For the Dogs

The last thing William Dick wanted when he got a new puppy? New carpet.

“I was so tired of dealing with this carpet stuff,” says Dick, a not-so-retired music educator in Austin, Texas. In the past 10 years, he’s raised six dogs in the house—all rescues. And usually two at a time: two older, two middle-aged, and two puppies—and they’d all done damage to his 25-year-old carpet.

“It’s easier with two [dogs] than it is with one,” Dick says. “They’re pack animals. And it makes me more content knowing they have a companion.”

The plan was to get a new puppy to pair with Scarlet, a 4-year-old black lab, and replace the carpet in the piano room a few years later.

That was the plan, anyway.

Meeting Pablo, the puppy from the Rio Grande

One day, a friend sent Dick a picture of a puppy.

“His story was the most compelling part,” Dick says.

The puppy was found in a town five hours away, in McAllen, Texas. A friend of Dick’s found the puppy, which had crawled under a fence at a water-quality center in the Rio Grande Valley.

“She said that the house next door had a pack of dogs that were not well taken care of and that she thought the little guy (the future Pablo) was trying to escape,” Dick says.

“We decided to meet in a town called Three Rivers, which is halfway between Austin and McAllen.” They made the puppy handoff in a restaurant parking lot.

Finding a message in inky paw prints

Those first few days in Austin, Pablo mostly kept to his crate.

“He stayed there for quite a while, just looking out from between the bars,” Dick says. Scarlett, the black lab, had previously been aggressive with an older dog, so they waited. Patiently. But eventually, Scarlett took Pablo in.

“It was as if some hidden mother instinct kicked in, and she took him as her baby,” says Dick.

Out of the crate and exploring his new home, Pablo chewed an almost-empty printer ink cartridge that Dick had left in the wastebasket. That’s when the message became clear to Dick, written in inky blue paw prints on the old carpet: time to get new flooring.

“A dog’s going to get into the trash can,” Dick says. “So you can’t blame him. There’s a phrase my dad (who trained animals) used to say, ‘You have to be smarter than the dogs.’”

Looking for a flooring teacher

“If someone asks me about the violin, I can give you the right advice,” says Dick.

That’s an understatement.

Dick is a nationally known, award-winning music educator. He taught music in Austin schools for almost 30 years and was presented a “Music of the Heart” Educator Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Sony Corporation, and the National Coalition for Music Education in 1999. He even co-founded a method for teaching violin.

He also has an educator’s intuition about when he’s getting good advice. And when looking for new flooring, a former student told him about Landers Premier Flooring in Austin.

“He said, ‘Call Landers,’” Dick says. “They’re good carpet people and they’ll tell you the truth.”

Landers’ flooring expert, Phil Powell, came out to the house, and Dick says he knew he was getting the right advice.

Flooring an older home with uneven floors

Dick wanted new flooring with a hard surface. But as Powell walked through the house, he saw that the subfloor in the piano room was uneven. The house was built in the 1950s and over the years, new rooms were added. The piano room, a sunken spot, had once been an outdoor patio made of flagstone. It could hold a hard floor above it, but possibly buckle in a few years.

Plus acoustically, with so much music in the house, sound would have bounced around on a hard surface, Powell said.

And then there was Pablo.

“I had this feeling that this was not just words he was supposed to say to sell the product,” Dick says about Powell. “But that his experience with the carpet gave his words a ring of truth. So the idea of the STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet, when Phil explained it to me, it was like, ‘OK, that’s the answer for us. That’s being smarter than the puppy.’”

Making way for new carpet

How to move two pianos? Call professionals. They showed up at 8 a.m. and moved the pianos into another room. Then came the carpet installers with the new carpet. The pianos were back in their spots by 5 that evening.

The color of the new carpet? Fido. Of course.

“What impressed me the most? It’s soft and plush, and you don’t have to worry so much with the animals on it.”

Dick continues: “It’s practical. Aesthetically, it’s so first class. It’s a win.”

Holding a concert for the carpet

Thirty days later, Dick loves his new carpet. His family—Pablo, Scarlet, and husband Kiyoshi Tamagawa—hosted a music recital for one of their students, Peter. It was a “Grand Carpet Commemoration Concert” in honor of the carpet’s one-month anniversary.

“We had pumpkin spice popcorn and some drinks,” Dick says.

“It’s a little way to beef up Peter’s little recital,” Dick says. “He plays with the dogs when he’s here, and he thought it was pretty funny when Pablo chewed up the ink cartridge.”

new carpet black lab pet parent

The dogs love to roll around on the new carpet, Dick says. And there have been no accidents.

“Pablo did find a shoe polish bottle,” Dick says. “But he took it outside.”

Keep it clean with STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet. No matter how many dogs (or piano students) are over.

By Molly McGinn | Photography by Scott Van Osdol

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