Love me, love my dogs


Illustration by Belinda Leontsinis

In which DD decides that four-legged furry family members make the best bedfellows.

The day started with the usual doggie yawn alarm in my ear – uncannily, as it happens five minutes before the clock radio alarm goes off.

Sheba, the German Shepherd-Labrador pup, had once again snuck onto the bed as soon as she knew I was asleep. I go to sleep at night with the best-behaved animals. All tucked into their various baskets and a large, comfy couch all to Sheba’s self, they sigh happily, and look so settled as if they are sure to remain firmly in their places all night. Huh!
 
Now, it is not that I begrudge sharing a bed with Sheba per se – in fact she is rather cuddly – but the fact that with every new addition to the family, the bed is getting smaller! Bearing in mind, too, that I am already an ‘animal widow’; my better half left the bedroom for the spare room years ago, claiming allergies (although I suspect he was just in search of a full night’s sleep, which one can understand).

But waking up in the dead of night with a cat doing a great impression of a beanie; a smelly Maltese (Sammy Bear or Sammy Bastard – depending on what she has done recently) and one of her many soggy chews, of which she is highly possessive and will have buried under my unsuspecting armpit; an old, leaning-towards-whiffy Cocker Spaniel; and at least two other cats dotted on the bed and then add aforementioned growing pup, is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m beginning to think that maybe I should take up with my better half in the spare room!

The problem is they are my entourage; wherever I go, they go. So it doesn’t help to slide quietly over the edge in a Boetie ons gaan border toe manoeuvre (already hanging precariously onto it helps) and leopard-crawl to the spare room. Give it five seconds and there will be various noises emanating from behind the quietly closed door. From whimpering to foot stomping to, more worryingly, the banging of objects and – while lying silently, pretending I’m not there – the worry that maybe it is Sammy’s head in the mouth of Sheba and not just a soggy chew being rammed against the door, forcing me to leap back up to check.

And there in the passage in the dark will be my trusty companions, little eyes glowing in the dark, tails wagging, and happiness abounding for their successful search-and-rescue mission. And so we all return to the main bedroom and our not-quite-king size ‘doggy’ bed…

Life with animals isn’t always easy. But I know you will understand when I say that on the very odd night when I find myself alone in bed, I just cannot go to sleep. There’s nothing like nodding off with doggie breath blowing gently on your cheek or holding onto a kitty paw for comfort!