When you sleep with dogs, you wake up… happy

There are two kinds of dog guardians, which is the term that is preferred to “owners,” because it is more accurate.

There are the people who sleep in the same bed as their dogs, and those who do not.

My dog (left), and my daughter’s dog

I don’t know any who do not, although I thought I would be one of them after I/we adopted Nut Bag. (Not his real name. The only “real” family name I use on social media is my own. There are too many trolls out there with too much time on their hands.)

We adopted Nut Bag from Saved Me rescue, then located in Northern Liberties. They had pulled him out of ACCT Philly, where he had spent a few days as a stray. He had no name tag, no license, no microchip. The estimated first six years of his life were, and are, a complete blank. I hope to write an imagined history of his early years when I have time. 

For Half-Pint, it was love at first sight, and she started calling him “my puppy” during our first visit to Saved Me. Now she calls him “the Baby.” 

We didn’t take him home immediately because he had some health issues that had to be resolved by their vet, the most serious seemed to be the incurable COPD. It turned out to be the curable pneumonia, so the black and white Shih Tzu mix came home with us, along with a lot of vet bills. 

You accept life’s little victories.

Nut Bag was introduced to his crate, which was to be his cave, his special place, where he would sleep.

Many dogs love their crates and regard them as places of safety, like a lair.

Not Nut Bag, who had separation anxiety issues, not unusual for lap dogs. Also teenage girls.

Summoning up my most authoritarian  basso profondo voice, I told Half-Pint the dog would not be sleeping in our bed, but in his crate. As a concession, when she began bawling that he would be lonely in the other room, I bought a comfy dog bed and placed it next to our bed, in the master bedroom. [Political Correctness Note: Some Realtors have abandoned the term “master” bedroom in the odd belief that it somehow conjures up memories or images of slavery. People who follow that reasoning need deprogramming from Wokeness, a dread disease of the young and otherwise intellectually impaired.]

So Nut Bag slept in his bed and Half-Pint slept in her (our) bed. She turns in before me because she awakes at dawn to get ready for her day. I think she was a rooster in a previous life.

By Night Two, he was in our bed, and very comfortable, I must say. His bed is now in the living room, where he lounges during the day. All he needs are pajamas to look like Hugh Hefner. 

With him in my bed, I became familiar with the term “co-sleeping.” 

I have children and when they were young sometimes during the night they would come into the bed shared by me and my wife. They did this when they had a nightmare, or when they had to pee. (Thanks, son.)

The word we had for it was “getting into your parents bed.” I realize that is more like a phrase than a word, but let it be. 

Somewhere along the line, sharing your bed with offspring became “co-sleeping.” 

So we are “co-sleeping” with our dog.

My daughter has always slept with her dogs, despite the occasional complaint from a fiancé or two. If they didn’t like it, they were soon on the outside looking in. She admits to spooning with them. The dogs, not the fiancees, 

After several dogs during her lifetime, and vowing she had her last dog, my sister just relented and adopted another, a homeless pooch evacuated from Puerto Rico.

My sister and her dog

So my sister is taking Spanish lessons.

She wanted an older, calmer, house-broken dog to chill with. She wound up with an 18-month-old rat terrier/chuhuahua, a high-energy dog that regards everything in the family room as a fire hydrant.

Since Day One, he has been in bed with her and my brother-in-law. 

It is the one place he doesn’t pee.


My previous, and precious, dog loved to stretch out in my bed — until I got in. She would then rudely depart to get on the sofa in the bedroom. Great dog, but didn’t like sleeping with humans. At 80 pounds, she would have been tough to move. Nut Bag is one-quarter of that, but . . . 

Early on, if he was on my side of the bed, I would put my hands under him to gently slide him close to “Mommy.”

And the first time I did it, he growled.

My own dog growling at me?

That’s right. 

Pissed me off, too, until I decided — well, at least he didn’t bite me. You accept life’s little victories. 

After a while I learned that if he was on my side, if I simply told him to move over — he would. 

Another little victory. 

It’s nice to have a loved one’s ass against you during the night.

It used to be Half-Pint’s. 

Now it’s Nut Bag’s.

You accept life’s little victories. 

16 thoughts on “When you sleep with dogs, you wake up… happy”

    Your latest blog has been up for hours. Is everyone at church ? I would have thought that THIS would be the one with the most hits – right from jump street, as we used to say.
    I’ll have to go back to be sure, but I don’t think that you used the phrase. dog lover, for yourself or the rest of human kind. How could you not ? I know that you Stu, are at the least, very fond of animals. I think that you could also be classified as a dog lover.
    I, unlike most humans, don’t love dogs, cars or other inanimate objects. I think that the word is overused, therefore, it lost its important meaning. “I love your hair”, clothes, shoes, implants……… No, I like many things but I do love love people. At least some people and that separates them from those that I don’t like or even tolerate.
    I am very fond of critters. Growing up, we always had dogs and cats and an occasional rabbit at Easter time. They were pets. With my first wife and sons, we had cats and dogs that were also pets. We had an Alaskan Malamute ( think husky PLUS another 100 pounds ) Tina was a pet – a big pet. She was a house dog, for protection but she just as soon would have stayed outside were she belonged. In the summer, I would take her over to the farmer’s pond for a swim. In the winter, when she could break the ice, she went swimming. Out here in Chester County, we like our critters. The dogs have all passed. They were pits and mostly adopted. The cats are ferral. Amish don’t worry about procreation. They convenient pass that on to God, along with all of the other life’s problems. So we have an abundance of stray cats ( ferral ) that make more cats. HELLO, PETA ?!? Because we live up against a land trust ( similar to state owned land ), we get all of the critters that inhabit Chester County. We take the cats and have them fixed that we used to bring home. Any cats trapped today go to the center, get fixed, and adopted by others. The cats – outside cats – managed to keep the rodent and snake population under control and out of the house. That is also a plus for the chickens. Rodents carry disease that harms the chickens.
    Sorry to say that we have no more dogs. They were inside to protect, but outside, they kept the wild critters at bay. Yes boys and girls. Foxes, cayotes and many other critters are our neighbors and we try to live in harmony. The hawks and eagles pretty much keep away from our animals, but they have to feed their young.
    So, yes Stu. People that have pets are usually better human beings. People that love their pets, I think, have an issue with human beings.
    Now, go take them pooches for a walk.

  2. Stu. I am so intuned with you. My dog has always slept in the bed. At one time I had 3 cats and two dogs. Everyone slept in the bed. I used to find strays when I lived across from Woodlawn Cemetary. People would abandon them. If I dated I always said love mr love them. I am a oackage deal

  3. Bravo, Stu…………you have your finger on the pulse of reality!

    Best thing that is ver happened to you…….leaving the Inquirer!

  4. Wellllll doggie (said in Buddy Ebsens voice) I’ll be doggoned, sounds like it’s ruff (no groaning, please).

  5. My sister (then 14 years old) was walking near where she lived with my parents, and saw a car stop and the driver tossed a paper bag out. She saw the bag moving so she picked up the bag. Inside the bag was a puppy, which she took home with her. My dad, not the warmest of people after he returned from WWII and a German POW stalag, fell in love with the puppy, which he named Honey (owing to the color of her fur). For the next 13 years Honey was Dad’s constant companion, never leaving his side. When Honey died my dad sewed her into a shroud made from one of my mom’s best silk sheets, crying the entire time. He buried Honey in the woods in which his house was located and marked the spot with a beautifully-laid stack of stones. I mention Dad’s crying because it was the only time I ever saw him cry; he didn’t even cry at his father’s funeral. Honey was more than a dog, she was a pathway into my dad’s aching heart.

    1. Vince,
      I’m sure that you are aware that nobody knew what PTSD was back during our earlier wars. Men had to suck it up, as they say. So they did. Some became alcoholics. Some committed suicide. Then some, like your dad somehow managed to keep it inside and hold some resemblance of life together.
      My dad, courtesy of the Uncle Sam and the U.S. Navy, got to go on the famous “South Pacific” tour. As a “Seabee”, he was first in during the first wave. He never talked about the war. If we were at a family affair, and the other uncles started talking about their tour of duty, my dad would simply get up and quietly walk away. It wasn’t until my dad was in the burn unit at St. Agnes that I learned a bit about his service. While comatose, he would scream out warnings or incoherent words. Your up in the air, putting together a hanger. A shot rings out and your partner falls off of the steel. Yea. War is hell.
      I hear you. I feel you.

  6. Thank you for writing about the connection between humans and animals. For me it is the purest kind of love. Rico is a special dog whose life prior to joining us can only be imagined as terrifying for him. He now rarely cowers in fear and is beginning to trust people. He’s a lot of work, but he brings me laughter and joy every day.
    Some dogs are the best people I know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *