Doghouse Confessional: Why Yes, I Do Sleep with My Dog
Last year a report made the rounds, crowing about the nasty germs we'd be exposed to if we slept next to our pets. But you know what? Screw that.
The dog and I have been sleeping together since his first night in the apartment, some three years ago.
I remember how we sequestered him in the kitchen with the three-foot doggie gate he would eventually be able to leap over with ease. He was not yet potty trained, and the kitchen contained the only hardwood surface in our little apartment.
That first night away from his littermates, he cried and cried and howled his little houndy howl until I climbed out of bed, clambered over the rickety puppy gate, and slept on the cold floor next to him. He didn't know me yet and I like to think I won him over that night as he lay there, tangled and tiny in my hair and snoring lightly after taking forever to settle down.
We live in a one-bedroom in San Francisco and our kitchen is more like a narrow walk-in closet, so my limbs were twisted in a most uncomfortable manner and smashed against his crate and the cabinets, but he slept so peacefully that I didn't dare move for a good four hours.
Eventually, the soreness won out and I carried him to the couch; the bed was too tall and I worried he would tumble out and break a delicate Italian Greyhound leg. And that’s where Jeffrey (the boyfriend) found me the next morning with a 7-pound pup snoozing around my neck like a fuzzy necklace.
Of course I was drooling and snoring most ungracefully as the little dog cut off my ability to breathe, and this little nugget is always emphasized in full detail by said boyfriend when he tells people the story. (Why are boys so very mean?)
These days, our Moxie is a tall 22-pound boy, so long and lean he is often mistaken for a Whippet. (In fact, I have been tempted on multiple occasions to buy him a shirt that screams, "I am NOT a Whippet." But that would just be snotty.) He loves to run his tail off at 30 mph or thereabouts, and he loves to sleep like a brick when he gets home from the park. There’s a reason sighthounds have earned the label “high-speed couch potato.”
As the only child, Moxie is pretty spoiled, with four beds around the house (two doughnuts -- one next to our bed, another next to Jeff's desk; his crate; and a large Eco Drop beanbag dog bed in a now-discontinued color sent to us by West Paw Design as a Dogster review sample for review a few years ago). But his most-coveted perch is our own queen bed. Mox has been trained to sleep in his doughnut on the floor by our bed, and knows he's allowed up only once the sun peeks through the windows. But that doesn't mean he doesn't plot to circumvent the rules his dad has put in place.
The dog knows I can deny him nothing -- he learned this pretty young, as you already know -- and he knows to follow me to the bathroom and turn on the cute when my bladder wakes me at 2 a.m. He'll sit his best sit, straight and tall, just beyond the bathroom door; tilt his little head; and make the most pathetic little whine in the world.
Sitting on the toilet looking at him, I am powerless to resist, and so I lie here in bed, typing this post with one finger on my phone while he snoozes under the sheets, his long spindly legs sticking into my stomach in victory. I am suddenly grateful I had the foresight to trim his nails.
In a few hours Jeff will wake up and chide me for letting the dog into the bed before sunrise for the hundredth time, and like clockwork, our day will begin.
Tell me, Dogster readers: Do you sleep with your dog?
Credits: All these wonderful illustrations are by Scott Smith.*