There is an order to all this, and I’m thankful for it. Bert has to sleep on the right side of the bed, near my head. Apparently this is some position of honor, and Sam will try to sneak into the spot if Bert isn’t quick enough. Sam has learned not to jump off the bed when I’m trying to get everyone situated, and he sometimes can grab the spot simply because I’m too tired to deal with puppy politics. If Sam gets the Honor Spot then Bert will walk around to where my head is and stare. The room can be totally dark, but I know he’s staring. Then he’ll walk around the bed and stare at Sam. The he’ll walk back over to where my head is and stare. Okay, I admit it. I’ve moved Sam to the foot of the bed so Bert could sleep in the Honor Spot. The Puppy Lucas sleeps at my side on the left side of the bed, and neither of the older dogs will have anything at all to do with the left side of the bed, ever.
There’s a no scratching and no licking rule that goes into effect as soon as a dog gets on the bed. All evening absolutions must be done on the floor. Once on the bed there is no changing of positioning allowed. No barking, no growling, no getting up in the middle of the night, and when the train leaves the station you’re on it until it stops, I don’t want to hear it. You get off the bed you stay off the bed. This is how it works.
Sam would sleep in if it was just Sam. He’s totally content to lie there and nap. However, Sam is a Happy Hound, and when he does wake up, his tail thumps. Thump, thump, thump, Sam is awake and he’s happy. Sam is happy each and every time he wakes up and he’s here. Sam is flawed, horribly damaged, and he’ll never be whole, but Sam is grateful for each and every morning he opens his eyes and he’s home.
Bert stares. I have no idea why it works or how it works, but I can wake up and feel it. I can see the silhouette of his ears perked up over his head, and I know he’s staring at me. It’s time to get up. Why aren’t we up? Why haven’t you turned on the light? Are you dead? Do you need mouth to mouth? Bert will edge closer to me and wait. If I pet him he comes closer and if I don’t he’ll stare. Once he’s close enough he’ll start licking my face until I get up or roll over. If I roll over that’s Sam’s cue I’m getting up and he’ll come over to be petted. Lucas sits all of this out until the pettings start and then he has to walk on top of me to get to the pettings.
None of this kicks in until the temperature in the room dips below fifty degrees. Anything less than that and everyone is perfectly happy on the floor. Sam won’t get up on the bed until Bert does, but once Bert breaks the seasonal barrier it’s on. Bert doesn’t like to get on the bed when the lights are on; he likes for me to turn the lights off before he jumps up on the bed for some reason or another. I’m not allowed to rearrange Bert once he’s on the bed. If I try to push him around he’ll growl at me with this high pitched leave me the hell alone growl. I truly think he’s afraid of heights. I can tell him to get down, and he’ll get down, and then before he gets back up I can talk him into landing where I want him to land, but once he’s there, he’s there.
Bert’s a Dropper and a Winder. He has to walking around in a circle two and a half times before he can lie down, and he cannot just lie down. He drops likes he’s been shot. He lands on the bed like a seventy pound dog dead of a heart attack. If he lands on a leg or an arm, it hurts like hell. I’ve learned to yelp loud when any of the dogs step on me. That teaches them what they’re doing hurts, so they’re careful not to step on me. Sam is a Glider. Sam can get on the bed in the middle of the night and I never know it. This usually happens when there is some light thunder, or something scares him. I’ll wake up in the morning to find Sam sleeping at my feet. He’ll look at me then look around as if he, too, is puzzled as to how he got there. Lucas is not a Winder but he is a Dropper. He’s getting some mass to him and when he drops he usually likes to land on me. Lucas craves body heat. He’s a great dog to lie on the sofa and watch television with, on a cold day. Sam stares at us when Lucas and I watch television together because dogs are not allowed on the sofa. He makes me feel like I’m committing adultery.
Bert’s sleep is deep and even. He rarely dreams, almost never snores, and I have to listen hard to hear him, even when he’s right next to me. I can tell when he’s sleeping, and when he’s staring, and I can tell when he’s just lying there resting. Sam snores. Sam has dreams. Sam’s sleep is more restful when he’s on the bed than when he isn’t, but Sam sleeps like there is something going on in there. I can tell where Sam is instantly. Lucas is still a puppy, but he’s showing signs of being a bit of a dreamer, like Sam, but without the drama. At night, before I go to sleep, the last thing I hear is the sound of three dogs breathing deep of sleep, and at least for one more night, all is right in the world.