At one point, there were eight of us that needed to fit on the bed. Four cats, two dogs and two humans. Oh, did I not mention the cats? I was a cat person growing up. We always had at least one cat, usually more. Until we got Zeta in 2002, hadn’t had a dog since I was five (my wonderful Basset Hound Jennifer). I loooooooooved kitties. Still do. So imagine my surprise when I found out I was actually a dog person! Not that I neglected the kitties by any means, but really when dogs entered my life it was like a veil was lifted and I found true love.
At any rate, back to the sleeping arrangements. We had a LOT of animals to fit on the bed. We also, thankfully, had a California King mattress. Still, two people sleeping with up to four cats, one black Lab and then a moose… it was crowded. Dexter could span the entire length or width of the bed, leaving very little room for the rest of us. With a small animal, you can physically move them if they are in the way. But if a 100-pound dog ignores your pleas, well, you are kind of stuck.
You could poke him, jostle him, put your feet on top of him or underneath him, but if Dexter didn’t want to move, he was not going to budge. The one and only thing that would work was… food. So ya, reward him for being a bedtime nuisance. The trick was to throw some kibble on the floor so that it would disperse, then race over and jump into sleeping position before he finished rooting out every last morsel.
Once we were all tucked in and he was asleep, the adventure continued. Farting, snoring, dreaming, howling a little bit in his sleep (which btw sounded like a full-voiced dog of a smaller size)…. It was like sleeping with a flatulent old man. Even the couch was fair game. If I took a nap or slept there for any reason, he’d have to be right there with me. I learned to sleep in the most ludicrous, uncomfortable positions! Legs off the couch, propped on a chair, twisted into a pretzel.
Of course, if he was going to take up the entire bed, he had to get onto it in the first place. Because he had spent a lot of time using the sling, he was not always keen on helping himself up onto things. He would often put his front paws up on something – the couch, the bench in front of the bed – and then look at me, waiting for me to help his back end up. Which I almost always did. Sometimes he’d even whine waiting for me to come over and help.
In order to get up to the bedroom, Dexter (well, all of us really) had to climb up two short flights of stairs. It’s an old house and the stairs are wood covered only by indoor/outdoor carpet (design win #47), so they creak, and you can always tell when someone heavier than a cat is on the stairs. I could always tell when Zeta was bounding up the stairs, but I could never tell when Dexter was on the way. It’s not that I couldn’t hear him, it’s just that I never knew if it was Dex or Hubby that would round the corner and appear at the top of the stairs. He came up slowly, looking a bit like a horse would if they tried the climb the stairs. It didn’t sound like four paws at all, and the noise was certainly loud enough to be human. Yet, he never squeaked the way all the humans did on the stairs. Fascinating.
Once up, it was necessary to close the door at the bottom of the stairs. It was in no way secure to leave the door open and let Dexter or Zeta run around all night. Not nocturnal animals, but certainly aware of any opportunity presented them. Nighttime could have been the perfect time for a prowl across the counter, a riffle through any laptop bags left out, or something wonderful to rip apart.
Dexter hated the closed door – possibly because he might need to ring some bells in the middle of the night to let me know he was ready to go out. So he’d walk on down to head out, bang his head against the door and then walk back up to the landing between flights. There, he’d whine, or flat out bark to let me know “Itistimetogooutwhythehellwon’tyouletmeoutyouareaterriblemother.”
Yes, nighttime was quite the adventure.