Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dog Bed

     The dogs have never been allowed to sleep in my bed at night. Bow knows this. Pete thinks it's negotiable. I guess he's right.
     Since the cold weather crept into the house this winter, I've started saying yes to Pete when he anticipates bedtime and steals into my room. He waits while I get ready, trying to be as good and quiet and unobtrusive as he can be in order to ensure a spot in bed.    
     This is unusual Pete behavior. Pete is a loud, insistent, asshole kind of dog. He cares about getting his needs met first and lets you know (repeatedly). Food! Walk! Cuddle! Fetch! Attention! But waiting to be lifted into bed, Pete acts like the meekest, mildest dog. I think he knows that if he blends in I will haul him off the floor automatically--another habit of bedtime, like turning off the lights.
     A few years ago Pete ruptured two discs in his spine. His back half became useless. He had a hemilaminectomy, which, after several months of recovery, mostly fixed the problem. He can walk and run and gimp his way over downed trees now. He still has trouble knowing when he needs to pee or poop. He counts on me to keep track of that for him, which I'm not always good at. That's part of the reason he hasn't been allowed to sleep in bed and usually sleeps in a crate. 
     As soon as Pete starts moving on top of the covers, around 6AM, I figure I only have seconds to rush him outside. A drill sergeant voice yells in my head, "Get up!" I do. I run Pete to the front door, hoping that I can get it open before the poop, sometimes dangling from his ass, hits the floor or my arm or we step in it. It mostly works out, but there are nights when I give Pete one too many pizza crusts and forget that this will throw off his whole poop schedule. This happened last night. I woke up at 3AM, felt Pete's body contract, and then smelled shit in my bed. Pete woke up too and looked at me like, what happened? Did I do that? Guilty. It's not his fault. It's mine. And stupid pizza's.
     So why do I let Pete sleep with me when there is the potential for this mess? It's cold outside and Pete wants to be in that bed more than anything. He'll even be sweet just to get the chance. I'm glad that I can do this for him. It gives him dog happiness, which makes me happy. But I like having a warm body next to me, too, one that absolutely wants to be there, right next to me and nowhere else. When I lie down and turn out the lights, Pete makes these contended comfort sounds and falls asleep instantly. Those sounds slow my restless brain and help me fall asleep. Thanks, Pete.

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