Sleeping with the dog: move over, Rover!

4f2be-annierestsPets do not grasp the concept of personal space. Offer to share the couch with them and they will ignore several feet of empty cushions to sleep on top of you. If you invite them onto your bed, they will plop themselves right in the middle, sideways, and expect you to deal with it.

At lunch the other day, a friend talked about the cat who keeps sleeping on top of her feet despite being kicked off several times a night. Another described how her old dog slept horizontally in the middle of the bed, causing her and her husband to cling, vertically, to the edges. Picture a big letter H.

dscn1480Thinking back many years ago to my first marriage, I remember a cat whom I referred to as The Flying Cat because he kept getting in my face while I was trying to sleep, which led me to see how far I could throw him, the farther the better so it would take longer for the cat to come back and start the whole affair over again. During the day, that cat would chase me and try to bite my legs. I happily gave him up in the divorce. I can still see his white face pressed against the bars of its cage, yowling, as I moved my stuff out of our apartment. Buh-bye.

Cats get this weird dominance thing going, but dogs, they just want to be close. Very close. Look at how puppies cram together. With their siblings gone, dogs want to get just as close to you. But now they’re big. And they sleep with their paws stretched straight out, pressing into your skin or your nightgown. They’ll drape their whole heavy body over your arm, your belly, your leg, any part that will prevent you from leaving this cozy lovefest and they don’t care that they’re cutting off your circulation.

dscn1315Sleep on the floor? Sleep in a crate? No, I want to be with you. Sound familiar?

Until this year, I kept Annie out of my bedroom. I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is. The few times we tried, she spent all night bugging me to pet her, wagging her tail and pawing me. So no, Annie and her brother Chico were faithfully crate-trained. Take these two Milk-Bones, go sleep in your crates, and I’ll call you in the morning.

Chico is long gone. This winter, thunder scared Annie so bad she banged my door open and insisted on being together. I was feeling lonely, so I said okay. Helping this decision is the fact that dear Annie is in the early stages of hip dysplasia. She can’t jump up on the bed anymore. And I’m not lifting a 75-pound dog. I spread a blanket on the floor. She settled in. But she seemed cold. The next night, I added a second blanket. Now we’re up to three. I have to slide off the far side of the bed and use the hall bathroom so as not to disturb the sleeping dog. I need a flashlight so I don’t trip over the blankets, which tend to move during the night.

Annie has not quite accepted the fact that she can’t share my blankets. Several times a night, I hear her walking up to the side of the bed. I feel her hot breath and her nose poking me. Hey, hey, hey. “Go to sleep,” I mutter. She collapses on top of my slippers.

As a result, I am half asleep typing this, and Annie is running in her sleep on the loveseat out in the living room. Neither of us got enough sleep during the night, but by God, we were together. Now I don’t dare try to kick her out. The habit is formed. I’m thinking about going to a motel to get some sleep.

So how do your dogs and cats sleep? With you or elsewhere? Do they take up the whole bed? Horizontal? Vertical? Legs in the air? Please comment to tell us about your night-time adventures with your furry friends.





C is for Crate, as in Annie’s apartment

When Annie and her brother Chico were little, less than 20 pounds combined, they shared a little crate in the den, then moved to the laundry room. All the dog-training books recommended crate training, so we did it, and they adapted well. We had our ritual. I would lure them out to the laundry room with Milk-Bones, turn on the Tiffany lamp I placed on the washing machine for a night light, wish them good night and quickly close the door. At first, they whined to come back in, but eventually they would settle down. God help the person who opened that door because they would zoom back into the house and we’d have to do the good-night ritual again. In the morning, I’d open the door and they’d come running, ready for breakfast.

When we traveled, I put the crate in the car. It kept the dogs out of trouble, and they seemed to feel safe there.

As they grew, I got a bigger crate, which they still shared. But these were not destined to be little dogs. Eventually I bought a second crate. For months, they still slept together, but one morning I discovered Chico had moved next door. They slept in their side-by-side crates until Chico ran into trouble and I had to give him away.

Annie still sleeps in her crate when I’m not home or when she isn’t feeling well. She has a doggie door now, so she can go out whenever she wants–although she usually waits for me to go with her. Over the years, the crate has taken a beating. Annie and Chico were chewers. They chewed up the opening of the crate so that the door no longer fits on it. And Annie likes a messy bed. If I put her blankets in neatly folded, she will push them around with her nose until they’re a big ball of wool with the edges sticking out.

When I’m home, she now sleeps in the house, either on one of the big chairs or on her pink and white blankets on the floor. The laundry room was a good idea until the temperature dropped below freezing for weeks at a time, and the crate was just too big to bring into the house. The laundry room is only partially finished and gets almost as cold as outside, so I let her sleep inside. We tried sharing my bed, but we kept each other awake, so she sleeps in the living room, and I sleep in my room. But that beat-up crate is still there, just the way she likes it, stinky, messy, dark and private.

C is for crate. Where does your dog sleep? 

This is Day 3 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Each day in April except Sundays we are writing posts corresponding to letters of the alphabet. Because I have several blogs, my alphabet posts will appear in different places on different days. Here’s the schedule. 

A Newsletter–A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage–B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon
D Writer Aid
E Unleashed in Oregon
F Unleashed in Oregon
G Unleashed in Oregon
H Childless by Marriage
I Unleashed in Oregon
J Writer Aid
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 1300 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. Check out the list at You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Find out what D stands for tomorrow at Writer Aid.