Seeing a tee shirt with the words, “Sleeps with Dogs” made me laugh. In my case, it’s true. I really do sleep with dogs. The four-legged kind. Two to be exact.
Amber, my English Pointer, and her sister Topaz, a Pointer-black Lab, are the best bedmates one can have. No, this isn’t kinky. We just share a house and a bed. The “girls” are my fur children and are treated as such.
In nature, animals gather together in packs and sleep together for warmth, bonding and security. I remember visiting the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in the early morning before it officially opened to the public. Observing the animals while they were still sleeping was educational. From reptiles to foxes, animals snuggled together. They were serene and comfortable. Animals don’t sleep alone. It seemed to be a part of nature.
I wondered why it should be different with domestic pets.
Some pet owners lock their dogs in crates for the night. Others let their dogs sleep in dog beds in or out of their bedroom. Most of us, however, allow our dogs to share our beds.
I see it as perpetuating the pack mentality. My previous dog, a Pointer-black Lab named Ebony, had major behavior issues. I found that her behavior improved when she began sharing the bed. She calmed down, became more affectionate and began to listen. Knowing that she was part of a pack seemed to make her feel and act as a part of the household. She “belonged.”
When we brought Amber and Topaz home from the shelter, they immediately ran upstairs and hopped into our bed. These were dogs who had resided in a shelter for several months after having been tied out to doghouses. Yet, they found security in bed with their new humans.
Some people argue against dogs in bed. After all, there’s fur and possible germs and dirt and the fear that these are animals with powerful jaws and teeth. Yes, there is fur but it’s nothing that the washer and dryer can’t deal with. As for germs and dirt, I haven’t become ill from dogs. They are also very clean and haven’t any odors. As with any relationship there is a degree of trust and love. My girls know that I will not harm them and they will not harm me.
It’s a wonderful experience to share a bed with another species and to feel safe because they are nearby. In the winter, the extra body warmth is welcome. The subtle snoring and breathing is comforting as well. There’s a sense of bonding and togetherness.
When I awaken in the morning, it’s fun because I never know who will be on the pillow beside me. Amber? Topaz? My husband? It’s a pleasant surprise.
I often awaken to nose nudges, a lick on the face and a paw on the head. I may open my eyes to a furry creature nestled in my arms or one rolling over on her back for a “tummy time” tummy rub. It’s all joyful, harmless fun.
When I was a little girl, my bed was filled with stuffed animals. Now, I have the real thing. Furry, soft, warm and alive!
Yes, I sleep with dogs and I love it!