Things that bark in the night
It is officially time to take back the night. For the past six months, Irwin and I have slept a total of 26 hours. The problem: Our animals. It's like sleeping in a livestock barn. In the days before I owned pets, I had a very idealistic image of...
It is officially time to take back the night.
For the past six months, Irwin and I have slept a total of 26 hours. The problem: Our animals. It's like sleeping in a livestock barn.
In the days before I owned pets, I had a very idealistic image of the "family bed." I envisioned a flawlessly behaved pooch perched on a delightful, little plaid pillow at the foot of our bed. With just a simple verbal command - "Bedtime!" - our four-legged friend would assume a sleeping position and nod off, perhaps snoring softly once or twice throughout the night. He or she would remain there for the next eight hours, waking only at 9 a.m. (I needed to sleep in, of course) to march off to use the toilet (I formed this fantasy shortly after seeing "Meet the Parents.")
Our actual sleeping arrangements are nothing like this. We have Jake, a 100-pound Labrador retriever who carries more gravel between his footpads than you can load onto your average Mack truck, then deposits them on the sheets.
He also takes up 80-percent of prime real estate - a.k.a. the center of the mattress - leaving Irwin and me to cling to the 10 percent on either side. He snores, drools, licks himself, and emits a series of odors and noises that you'd normally associate with Jabba the Hutt. When he senses impending danger from, say, a vicious-looking jackrabbit in the front yard, he will poke his Popsicle-cold nose into the center of Irwin's back to wake him. And, since Jake seems to view our yard as a veritable "Night of the Lepus," Irwin feels the brush of that icy nose at least three times a night.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Kita, a 6-pound Pomapoo. One would think the biggest nuisance of sleeping with such a dog is that you would inadvertently flatten her. But somewhere in Kita's ancestry, there was obviously a highly trained police dog. This means that if she hears anything - a footstep, a flapping boat tarp, a single raindrop pummeling the pavement - she will yap as if aliens have landed on the roof. She will literally bounce on her tiptoes and yap as if she were designed to rip out intruder's tonsils rather than to fit neatly into a rich socialite's purse.
I'm sure Kita's skills will come in handy if we ever have burglars and Jake's skills will prove invaluable should we ever be invaded by giant rabbits. But in the meantime, they're just preventing us from getting sleep. The last straw was when Irwin moved to the guest room about a month ago. When I dared to ask why, he blew a gasket: "Between that little one yapping and Jake sticking his nose in my back and my wife snoring like a buzz saw, I'm not getting any sleep!"
So this holiday, there will be some very special gifts under the tree. There will be a big kennel for Jake and a little kennel for Kita. Both will be stationed in the garage at night.
And I will receive the most wondrous and magical gift that any girl could want.
Tammy Swift writes a weekly column for The Forum. She can be reached at email@example.com