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Whose Bed Is It Anyway?

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“Seriously, Sally?” I lift my head from the pillow and squint at the alarm clock. 2:31 a.m. Wednesday.  Sally nudges my arm again with her long snout. I swing my legs out of the covers while Sally lands with a thump on the floor.

This is the second time she has woken me to go outside, and I am less than happy. I feel with my toes before standing on the floor so I don’t step on Mary. She is napping on her pillow beside the bed. Eli snoozes in his kennel, and Mike is snoring over on his side of the bed.

“Why don’t you ever wake up your dad?” I whisper to the little white dog at my feet.

As I open the front door against the wind, Sally dashes through my legs and out into the snow. I close the door and scratch the frost off the glass so I can keep an eye on her. She wanders, sniffing at every deviation in the snow banks. I pull my hands inside my pajamas to keep warm and continue to watch. As soon as she squats, I open the door.

“Come on, ya little brat.” She looks at the door, and then wanders toward the side yard. “Sally!” She stops, looks at me over her shoulder, then turns and bounds back to the house. Bounding at 2:30 a.m.? Who does that? 

She is snuggled under the covers before I even get back into the bed and is such dead weight that I find myself arranging my body around hers. When did this become her bed?

Before we got Sally, I went online and read several articles about dog training. They all said the same thing; do not let your dog sleep with you. Ha! This had never worked with any of our other dogs, but I was determined to do the right thing with this puppy. On Sally’s first night, I put her kennel next to the bed, tucked her inside and turned off the light. Silence. This is so easy. I closed my eyes and odd little alien noises started emanating from the doggy container. 

“What is that?” Mike asked.

“I think it’s Sally.”

“No, really, what is it?”

We listened. Sure enough, it was Sally. Not a whine, whimper, or bark. This was a sound unlike I had ever heard from a dog before. Come to think of it, unlike any I had heard period. I thumped the top of the kennel with my knuckle. “Quiet.” That is what the dog articles had said to do.

The noise stopped and I settled back into my pillows. 

“What if I scared her when I thumped?” I whispered to Mike.

“She’s fine.”

Quiet.

“I feel …”

The noise started again. 

“That does it,” I said. I leaned over the edge, opened the kennel and scooped up the pig-like puppy. Mike held the back of my pajamas so I wouldn’t fall out of bed. 

“Okay, pull,” I said. He pulled me up and I put Sally between us. She licked Mike’s face, turned around twice and settled under the blankets. The bedtime routine was established.

I lift my arm and hold up the blankets as the white dog emerges. She lays her head on the pillow beside mine. I open my eyes and she is staring at me. It is unnerving so I roll over and she starts stretching her legs, which means kicking, which means her paws are battering against my back. This is not conducive to a restful sleep.

“That’s it,” I say as I throw back the blankets. Sally jumps up and body shakes. She leaps off the bed and heads for the door. “Sally, kennel.”  

She stops, and then takes a tentative step forward.

“Sally, kennel,” I repeat. She turns, walks back to the bed and jumps up. I wrap her in my arms and carry her to the kennel. In the dark, I stub my toe on  the bedpost and utter a few unhappy words. I set her in front of the kennel and give her a little shove. She stands solid. 

Understand, Sally loves her kennel. It’s fancy with a gigantic pillow inside that makes it a warm nesting place. During the day, she will go inside just to nap. So going into her kennel is not a bad thing. Except for tonight, it seems.

“Sally, in.” I give her another little shove and she walks inside. I close and lock the door, limp back to bed and nestle into the blankets. I hear her turn around a couple of times and plop into the pillows with a loud yawn.

Five hours later, my alarm goes off. It is amazing. Sally has not made a peep and even now, she is quiet. In fact, I think she is snoring.

“I think Sally should start sleeping in her kennel every night,” I whisper to Mike.

“Um hmm,” he says. “Like that’s going to happen.”

“No, really. This is going to be the new bedtime routine.”

“Right.”

“Seriously, Sally?”

The little dog nudges my arm with her snout as I lift my head and look at the clock.

2:18 a.m. Thursday.

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