Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Bedtime at the Asylum

Daisy has her own room. It didn’t start out that way. Once I had her fairly well trained to go potty right before bed, and hold it for the rest of the night, I started allowing her to sleep in the bed with Pup and me, free of her kennel.

B.D. (Before Daisy), Pup and I had our routine. I would shut down the house, turning all the lights off and checking that the front door was locked. Pup would follow me around as I did my patrol, accompany me to the bathroom for a final visit, and hop up onto the bed as I settled in for the night. She would instantly nose her way under the Vellux blanket and snuggle up to the small of my back. Within just moments, Pup would be sound asleep, while I watched some TV. Around the time I was ready to turn off the TV, Pup would sense it and slither up my back, out from under the blanket, with her beautiful, big, normally erect Chihuahua ears flopped down and pink from the warmth she had been in under the covers. Seeing those droopy ears has become one of my favorite things in

life. She looks so sweet and content, like a baby who just awoke from a nap. Then for a few minutes, Pup would lick my hand or the inside of my elbow, apparently for security or comfort or because she thought I would like it. Pup is generous that way. I would turn off the TV, and in the dark Pup would find her way back to the small of my back, and we would drift off to restful sleep.

Daisy had other plans for bedtime. Once she felt she had the house under martial law, she completely took over our routine and fairly condescendingly reshaped the evening. First of all, on our patrol of the house, Daisy would run around wildly, darting between and around my feet like a canine agility champion doing the weave poles. I would trip over her, cuss at her and yell “leave me alone.” She quite possibly misinterpreted what I was saying as “weave", the command most agility-dog handlers use when asking their charges to triumph over the difficult task.

After stumbling over Daisy, I would make my way to the bathroom as usual. Only now Pup would be hiding in utter terror from Daisy’s rowdy antics, and Daisy would be tugging on the back of my nightgown as I brushed my teeth, or jumping at my legs as I, um, how can I put this delicately, used the facilities. All the more fun if she was able to steal a slipper from one of my feet and run away with it. Then we could all spend the next half hour looking for it. Or better yet, if she could snatch the toilet paper out of my hand as I pulled it from the holder in the wall and run like hell with it; that was an especially amusing trick. By the time I could grab the toilet paper and tear it at its perforated squares, Daisy would have the paper in one million and thirty-two little pieces. Little wet, sticky specks of white saliva covered papier-mache hanging from the walls and stuck to the couch and tables like the aftermath of the blast of a weapon of mass destruction. Keep in mind, I was held hostage in the bathroom, because I knew if I came out I would be swooped down on before my foot touched the hardwood of the hallway. And now, for the first time in my life, my bathroom door is kept closed, and locked (don’t ask…another story, another day) at all times.

After cleaning up any messes Daisy gifted me with, we, the happy trio, would head for bed. Pup would try to snuggle in, but Daisy would take that as a sign of delinquent activity and mete out swift punishment. She would flop straight down on Pup and the yelping and squealing would begin. You may think Pup would be the one doing the yelping and squealing because she was the one under attack…but like me, you would be wrong. Daisy loves to vocalize. She has an octave range that makes Mariah Carey sound flat, and she has the enthusiasm to express herself freely. Daisy has never met a thought she hasn’t shared. She has orations that sound like a snotty teenager sighing and clucking and doing the head-bob thing when she is displeased. She squeals in delight, grumbles in anger, whines like a two year old child and barks at the slightest change in the atmosphere. She screeches when she yawns and moans and groans when she sleeps. She just can’t stand silence. So, poor old Pup would sneak out from under Daisy and go hide under the bed. After awhile things would calm down and Pup would find her way back up onto the bed, but not up to my arm for her nightly comfort of licking me. She would have to be satisfied with sleeping on top of the blanket at my feet. Daisy, you see, was standing guard at my head.

Daisy is never still. Even asleep, she moves, makes sounds and stretches her long legs out to poke me with her razor sharp nails in the most inappropriate places. Apparently she needs comfort in the night, too. I would wake up with Daisy sleeping on my head. Her burning hot belly would be on my neck, her huge and unpleasantly moist tongue would either be in my ear or in my nose or she would lick my eyeballs as my lids flew open in panic at the realization I was being suffocated by my dog. “DON’T LICK MY EYEBALLS, DAISY! YOU KNOW THAT CREEPS ME OUT!!” I would yell at her in a voice already hoarse from the Jihad she had wrought upon my home at bedtime. And the three of us would try again to settle in.

I gave it the old college try for several nights and then weakened and surrendered to the very primal need for a true night’s sleep. I realized two things: Pup needed some time away from Daisy and I could use a stiff drink.

I decided Daisy should have her own room. A space where she could sleep where she wanted, where she could watch TV all night and where she was the queen of the world! Considering the fact that I have a small two bedroom house, and that I most definitely did NOT want Daisy having free run of the whole place, I had the choice of either setting her up in the bathroom or the second bedroom, which I use as my office. Looking over my list of pros and cons for each room, I came to the conclusion that the bathroom wouldn’t work, mainly because I don’t have a cable hook-up in there and because I do occasionally have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The last thing I would want would be to have to fight my way past Daisy as I tried to make it to the toilet without wetting my pants. So that was that, and we set “Miss Thing” up in her own room, my office. It was an improvement for all of us, but not a perfect solution, since I could still hear her banging around in her room, complete with vocal soundtrack. I am not positive she ever actually sleeps at all…if she does, she must also talk in her sleep and sleepwalk. Daisy has a recliner to sleep on, plenty of paper to shred and the TV on for her, with the volume very low, all night. She prefers Animal Planet and CSPAN. She is a well rounded girl.

We have returned to our routine, putting Daisy to bed in her room before Pup and I shut down the house for the night. Pup seems to be very happy with our sleeping arrangements and her “quiet time” with me all to herself, and I have recaptured the joy of seeing her with her warm, sleepy ears, as she licks my hand and drifts into a peaceful sleep...


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