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Dan and I don’t fight over who is the head of the household. That power position is without dispute held by Lyric, our golden retriever. We inherited this sweet pooch from some dear friends, and within minutes, she had stolen our hearts ... and taken over our home. After a few dog-free years, piles of hair and muddy footprints are once again a part of my life. I’ve gotten pretty good at not only decorating around a dog, but also celebrating our canine companion in our decor. Here’s how you can, too:

Pretty protection from your pooch: Lyric goes with Dan to work, riding shotgun in the front seat. In fact, I refuse to ride in his car anymore because it’s so doggy. Our sofa, Lyric’s favorite bed, would be just as bad if I hadn’t figured out my favorite dog-hair-protection trick: Cover the back and seat of the sofa with a washable quilt.

Instead of covering your gorgeous sofa with a sheet to protect it from your pets, try my trick instead: Get a twin-sized washable quilt, drop it behind the sofa about 8 inches, then drape the remainder over the back and seat of the sofa, tucking it in at the back of the cushions. If your dog sleeps on the sofa, tuck the tail of the quilt under the front of cushions. If your dog sleeps on the floor, but rests against the sofa, extend the quilt to the ground, like a skirt. When the quilt gets dirty, hairy or smells like dog, just throw it in the wash. I have a stash of three quilts, so I always have a clean one in the wings in case we have unexpected guests.

Best of show: People who love dogs — and even those who do not — often like to use images of dogs in their decor. I’m crazy about hunt club styling, especially in the fall, so I couldn’t resist Spode dishes that feature hunting hounds. The gorgeous fall colors lend themselves perfectly for a richly layered tabletop.

When I do a thematic tablescape, I like to have a bit of fun by poking in a whimsical element or two to make guests smile. For me, zany 3D dog mugs were just the ticket. Here are a few other suggestions:

■You could mix and match an assortment of breeds or set the table with your favorite.

■Accent pillows are a great way to add a bit of your own personality to your decor. How about tossing in a pillow that features your dog’s breed?

■Artwork featuring dogs is a classic. Pick a large piece to hang over a buffet or sofa. Or create a display that pulls in diverse works of art that revolve around a central theme.

■Like any theme, a little bit goes a long way, so pick and choose your dog-related accents wisely. Maybe a figurine on an end table?

Some doggone cute stuff: I’m always on the hunt for unique home decor, distinctive pieces that will set your home apart. This year, I lost my heart to a Seven Barks Fine Goods and their crazy cute line of dog-themed paper products. Their tagline says it all: “Fabulously fun. Seriously useful. Dedicated to our four-footed friends.”

Designed and produced in the United States, their high quality stationary products feature vintage images of dogs and are made from recycled paper.

Treats for Fido and you: Dog essentials don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can enhance your decor. Lyric uses blue and white ceramic dog bowls. I also like to keep dog food and dog treats in pretty containers, like a lidded jar or glass apothecary jars. Where do you keep your dog’s leash? Instead of stuffing it in a drawer, hang it on a pretty hook by your door back.

Many dogs like a private place to curl up and take a nap. Instead of a kennel, why not treat Spot to his own pup tent?

Let’s clear the air: Let’s face it: Dogs can be stinky sometimes. If guests are coming, or if you just want to clear the air, light a Pickwick candle. This fall, Pickwick created a scent just for Nell Hill’s called Gathering, and it’s a beautiful blend of cloves and oranges. It will be burning in my home this fall so that Lyric is not what guests smell when they come to visit.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com. She can be reached at marycarol@nellhills.com.

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