Thursday, February 28, 2008


For months I have complained about our sleeping arrangements but have done nothing about it. Except complain. At some point in the past year Duncan decided that if the bed was good enough for the cats and us it was good enough for him. He spent the first two years of his life sleeping on the enormous fluffy pillow in his kennel, but at some point he decided he liked sleeping under the bed better so we folded up the kennel and listened as nightly he scrunched down and did a kind of belly-waddle under the bed, sometimes bumping his head in the process. Eventually, though, with all three cats nestled around us, he decided he wanted in on the action as well.

He is the gentlest, biggest-hearted dog I've ever known, sensitive and kind and unbelievably giving, but he's never been bashful or conservative about where he sleeps. Once he claimed the bed it was all I could do maintain my little niche there. Winnie prefers my hip, Pip lays claim to my chest or shoulder and Olive alternates between Ken's pillow and mine. We are surrounded on all sides. Ken doesn't notice Duncan's sprawling presence and can sleep just about anywhere. I, on the other hand, have to toss and turn for a bit before I finally settle down, and tossing and turning requires space. Winnie has adapted fairly well, rising up on her tip toes when I roll over and doing this little sideways shuffle in order to remain in one spot. Once I've found a good position she settles right back down as though nothing happened. Pip is a heavy sleeper and doesn't stir. Olive reaches out a paw and touches my forehead making a comforting little meow when she touches me. But Duncan sleeps heavily, snores loudly, and doesn't budge. And to make matters worse, he tends to sleep right down the center of the bed--sideways--forcing Ken and me into scrunched up balls. Ken doesn't mind but it makes my life difficult. I've threatened them both with the kennel but nothing ever comes of it.

Last night, however, Duncan crawled under the bed and didn't budge. And I, of course, didn't sleep a wink. It felt strange without him there, warming my feet, taking up space, snorting and twitching his hind legs all night. Try as I might, I couldn't get him to join us. Finally, at 3:15 he started whining, which disturbed me, so I slid from under the covers, got down on all fours and poked my head under the bed to check on him. He wagged his tail at me, crawled out, jumped up on the bed, off the other side where he immediately belly-waddled back under. He spread out, whined a bit and made some gurgling noises in his belly, but fell right back to sleep.

I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the night awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I'd been abandoned, and why I'm so uncomfortable stretching my legs and feeling free to move around. Too much freedom just didn't feel right.


Traci said...

I remember before I got Chloe, Murphy was trained to stay off the couches. Since Chloe had no such training she made herself comfortable, especially in her favorite spot, atop one of the back cushions. At first Murphy would sit there and look at me with this helpless expression that seemed to say "What's with the new girl up there when I have to lay on this crappy rug on the hard floor?", but eventually he figured it out and the couches have been their domain ever since. But I figure, why have a dog if you can't curl up on the couch or in bed with them? My favorite time of day is right when I wake up and Chloe has curled herself up right next to me in my "nook". I just lay there and pet her gently, waiting for the day to begin.

NodakJack said...

When my soon-to-be ex-wife moved out, I let my dogs into the bedroom. Bad idea. They weren't all that interested in sleeping. They wanted to play, nibble, and yip. I prefer to sleep. I booted 'em out. They now sleep anywhere they want. I pile a bunch of blankets in the middle of the living room and they crawl under them and sleep...Without me. I don't feel abandoned. I feel human. I can't imagine sleeping with that many mammals so close to me. You didn't get THAT from me.
However, when having drank too much, I often fall asleep in the recliner. The female, (Midge,) sleeps at my side. The male, (Whalen,) between my legs. I love it. You DO get that from me. I love dogs...and used to love cats.


Lori said...

My brain would be going, "What's wrong? Is he sick? Why is he under the bed??????" Hope he just wanted a change of scenery! Maybe he thinks YOU hog the bed, and he just wants to be able to stretch out! One of our dogs (except Sprocket, who can't make the jump) always starts on the bed, but as soon as I turn off my reading light and settle in, they usually get down. But the space thing, whenever I roll or turn, they manage to somehow instantly expand their body mass to occupy any tiny bit of space that was temporarily vacant as I shifted, leaving me even less room than I had to start with!

Curt Rogers said...

The funny thing is, I'm exactly that neurotic. After he crawled across the bed then squeezed back under, I kept Ken awake for thirty minutes or so talking about how concerned I was, how it wasn't like him to stay away from us. Ken was a good sport and spent much of the discussion simply grunting until I prattled on so long he finally fell asleep (he recalled nothing of the conversation in the morning). I, of course, spent the better part of my day convinced Duncan had some dire stomach problem, that I'd come home to find the apartment decimated but I'd be too concerned for Duncan to care. Let's just say my anxiety level was a little elevated all day today.

I'm sure the cats talked him into it. It was a conspiracy.