October 4, 2012

Strange Bedfellows

Sleeping with the Furry Kids
I got an email from my sister this morning, saying that her back was hurting, from her bed and "from having a dog invade my space. She is so twitchy in her sleep that I'm practically on the edge of the bed trying to keep away from her. What's wrong with this picture?"   

It got me thinking about this picture that I'd seen all over Facebook lately:
"Sleeping with Pets: Expectations vs. Reality"
[Photo from: http://9laughs.com/sleeping-with-pets-expectations-vs-reality/]

I think those of us who let our dogs sleep in the bed start out thinking, "Won't this be nice!? Won't it be cozy!" But the reality is usually anything but.

All three of our dogs have been "strange bedfellows." Funny things (both funny-haha and funny-peculiar) have happened during the course of sleeping with our three pups.


Our old & grey slut puppy, Bailey
There's a scene in my novel, What the Dog Ate, where the main character, Maggie, thinks about how their Lab, Kona, ended up sleeping with them in the bed. The scene is taken straight for our life with Bailey: 

"They’d intended to crate train him as a puppy, but that had lasted all of three nights, well, technically two and a half. Of course, back then he took up minimal space, his brown bean-bag puppy’s body flopped between their pillows. Once grown, however, it was a constant struggle for mattress real estate. As with all such dealings, the key was location, location, location. Each night, he started out stretched along the foot of the bed, their legs bent around him in a horizontal game of Twister. But slowly, throughout the night, he’d slink his way up toward the head of the bed, burrowing in between them. Then he’d push against them until he had enough room."

Do you end up doing something that looks like a game of Twister with your dog in the bed?

The funny thing about Bailey was that she slept with us every single night of her life from about 8 1/2 weeks until 6 years old. Then, one night, she got out of bed, went down the hall, and we heard her get up on the guest bed. We looked at each other like, "What did we do?! What did we say?" It was as if she'd suddenly decided she was too old to be sleeping in the same bed with her parents.

She never slept with us again. Unless we had guests. Which she found most irritating.

Another slut puppy, Abby
With Abby, we originally  invited her to sleep with us. But with a 6'2" hubs, 5'11" me, and about 5 feet of dog (when she would stretch her front legs out over her head and stretch down to her tippy-toes she was a looong little doggy), it was too much. I couldn't sleep, so I insisted we try getting her a fancy dog bed all her own so she wouldn't want to sleep with us anymore. Here she is pictured in it - it's an Orvis medium "Deep Dish Deluxe." Doesn't that sound tasty, I mean, cozy? (The name always makes me crave pizza.)

Abby in her brand new bed.
That picture is taken right before we found out she had bone cancer. It was fortuitous that we bought it for her, because it was a great bed for her while she was recovering from her amputation surgery.

The funny thing about sleeping with Abby is that after her amputation, she never slept a full night in our bed with us again. We worry that she probably thought we'd try to cut something else off of her! She needed to maintain a safe distance!

The current slut puppy, Rita
Rita sleeps with us off and on, as her mood/the weather dictates. She doesn't hog a lot of space in the bed, so I don't mind when she sleeps with us. The funny thing about sleeping with her is that the very first night we brought her home, we're all snoozing happily, when we hear this crash.

I realized what had happened and sat up, "She fell off the bed!" At the time, we were sleeping in a sleigh bed, with a foot board. She hadn't fallen "off" so much as slid - feet first - down in between the bed and the foot board. We quickly turned on the light and she was wedged in there good, her little feet dangling. Poor thing!  After that we slid the mattress right up against the foot board, so no more wedged puppy, but my pillow would often fall off in the gap to the headboard.

Now we have a platform bed with no foot board. The first night on that, she fell off again! At least it wasn't far to fall, but I guess she was used to the foot board/backstop being there. (It's no wonder she doesn't want to sleep with us all the time.)

Crashed in the Deep Dish Deluxe (mmmmm. pizza.)
The Search for a Decent Night's Sleep
I could write a novella on beds at the moment, having (hopefully) just finished a year-long search for a comfy bed. (Seriously, we are on our 5th bed this year...) But what's relevant for this post is how the hubster convinced me to give up our set in our master bedroom with the adorable sleigh bed, which meant returning the queen mattress we'd just bought, in exchange for the same mattress in a king (which meant a lot of furniture rearranging with the guest room and a mismatched set in our room). He said: "a king size bed would mean we'd have room for another dog." Hmmmm. (He knows how my brain works, doesn't he??) Food for thought... Maybe there will be a little sister in Rita's future. Not sure about that, but it's something to consider!

If the new dog slept in the bed, would Rita suddenly decide to join us every single night again? Probably!

So, what about you, does your dog/pack sleep in the bed with you?

{BTW, I'm a little behind in my blogging, what with the nursing and all. If you saw our last post, you know the hubs had meniscus surgery on both knees. He's doing fine - but there's still lots of nursing, fetching, and chauffeuring to be done, so the blogging might be a little sporadic for a bit!}


  1. Levi was always too much of a bed hog to sleep with us. He would sleep on our couch...until it got light out. Then he would come "whap" at our bedroom door until we let him in (Yes, he continued this with one front paw too). We the let him in to sleep with us until it was time to get up. Koa has also learned this process but he whines at the door instead of "whaps". :)

  2. Rio used to sleep in the bend in my knees. After we lost her, it seemed really weird to not have a dog spoon with me. Now, the new babes are both bed hogs and restless sleepers. It'll be awesome if I ever get a good night's sleep again!!!

  3. Hubby and I hang off the sides of the bed 'cause we don't want to disturb Fred and Gloria! Then we just wake up stiff and sore. :)

  4. So glad my pain could provide fodder for your blog!

  5. Thanks Kath! Anything (dog-related) is potentially fodder for the blog!

  6. Our guys move around a lot. Doc, my velcro 13-year-old, takes hubs spot until he retires for the night, then he moves to his floor bed (more room to stretch out). As a pup, Doc secured the middle spot so I set Gus up with a pillow between mine and the headboard. That seemed like a good idea until he starting running in his dreams (ouch!). Gus is also my 5:30am alarm and will lay on top of me or paw at me to get up...that's before the alarm actually goes off. Beyond me how he knows the time when it's so dark outside now.

  7. Funny, Nancy!

    Bailey was like that too - she woke us up at 6.45 every day. We never set our alarm, unless we needed to get up earlier than that. We called the The Fuzzy Alarm Clock.

  8. It truly is amazing how much room a dog can take up and they sure do a lot of running in their dreams!

  9. Your Doggies sure do get to live the life of luxury!! The Bailey story was funny :)

    We don't have any of those issues in our house as I've still to managed to wangle my way onto the bed - doh!! I don't give up though, so there's always hope :)

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  10. LOL! Whenever Leroy jumps up on the bed with me I think it is adorable, for about 10 minutes then he starts snoring and kicking!

  11. Blueberry is surprisingly very nice to sleep with! She will usually stay on the other side of the California king and when she does get close - it's just to lay her head on my shoulder or nuzzle underneath my chin. Totally non-invasive! After living with my previous cattle dog mix that was the biggest bed hog in the history of bed hogs - I feel like I deserve the ease of sleeping with a dog like Blueberry! ;)


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