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Sled Dogs & Bed Dogs

By mysticcharoite, Jun 19 2018 07:50PM

Now the Internet keeps telling me I shouldn't sleep next to my dog. Haha, and the Internet doesn't even have the first idea how many freaking dogs I sometimes sleep next to. But there's apparently science behind this which ranges from the hysterical (" From 1977 to 1998, there were 23 documented cases of human bubonic plague that could be attributed to the family cat!") to the more sensible (humans sleep better when they're not spooning a canine).

Some people seem to think if you allow your dog such a privilege s/he will reward you by eating you one day. I really doubt that, a lifetime of spoiling dogs rotten and I’ve not been eaten yet. Maybe this is because all of the dogs I’ve known and loved in my life are far too pragmatic to bite the hand that feeds them (aside from the odd occasion when they either mistake that hand for a chicken foot or for another dog who happens to have really, really pissed them off, ouch). After all, give a man a fishing rod and he can feed his family (and dog) for a year. Give a dog a human and he will have breakfast, dinner and hopefully plenty of treats for the rest of his life.

This is Wren. Wren isn't a fully fledged bed dog. More of an afternoon nap dog.

The Mayo Clinic study, referred to above, concluded…Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog's position on/off the bed made a difference. A dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected. I wonder if the same applies to partners? Does having another human sleeping on the floor not impede your sleep as much as the one attempting to starfish in the bed next to you?

I think it’s safe to say, if you allow anyone in your bedroom you’re going to – for better or worse – lose a bit of sleep now and again. We sleep a lot in our lives. It’s possible that by the time you reach 75, you’ll have spent 25 of those asleep. Surely you’re not going to miss the odd 40s here and there while your dog rearranges his balls or chases phantom rabbits?

It’s not even as if all dogs actually want to sleep on the bed with you. It’s kind of a privilege if they want to snuggle. Out of my mini horde, five couldn’t give a toss about my bed and if I ever invite them up they usually kick up a fuss at 1am demanding the cold floors of downstairs or choose to curl up in a crate. Some can take or leave it. The rest are dedicated bed dogs who sit and stare pointedly at the door to the world upstairs from 9pm onwards.

There is a 3 bed dog maximum rule in my house which is mostly broken. Not because dogs expect democracy and fairness but because I am weak. If someone hasn’t been well, looks upset, there’s an R in the month etc I can be swayed into letting a 4th or even 5th sneak up the stairs as I sigh and try to insert myself Tetris style into the abstract space between imaginatively arranged sleeping hounds.

Yes, I do sometimes wake up breathing through a nostril full of fluff, sometimes they fart (although they’d probably say the same about me) and they have the annoying habit of not having that irritable space between sleep and wakefulness like us and will joyously tell you it’s morning by jumping on your head or digging their claws in your underarm. It doesn’t even have to be actual morning either. If they are naughty or don't settle, they know they will get kicked out of the bedroom.

It’s also nice to sleep without the canine company sometimes.

However, if they want to then generally I let them up because to me, it's another way of strengthening our relationship. Dogs don’t care that you are asleep (or at least trying to), it’s a bit of extra time with their human that might get lost otherwise in daily life, work, social lives and the mundane stuff that distracts us from the fact our canine companions live precious short lives that we don’t share enough of sometimes.

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