The Princess and Me
Updated: May 3
We used to let the dogs to sleep with us. Two 50 pound dogs, two average sized humans, one king sized bed. So cozy, with all the snuggles and cuddles and early morning kisses! I loved waking with a muscular little dog butt pushing up against me. Or a sweet, wet nose snoring softly on the pillow we both shared. I used to treasure those moments when they'd dream their wild dreams and my husband and I would watch bleary-eyed as those big paws twitched and flicked, running in some imagined field of green grass. And those low, muted early morning dream "woofs" would tug at every heart string, knowing some doggy adventure played out behind their sweet, sleeping eyes. They were such good times!
It seems though that my husband is not as sentimental as I, and "The Girls" as we call them, sleep on other surfaces now. It's supposed to be the floor, but often turns out to be the armchairs in our room. Or sometimes on the bed in the spare bedroom - our little princesses! But last night my dog, my sweet, cuddly Ellie-Belle was in the dog bed on the floor. I thought of how much I miss sleeping with her. And I know she misses me too! I can tell by the way she nudges my foot, or stares at me from the side of the bed just before sunrise, whining and grunting to let me know she's always watching over me.
Inspired and wanting some sweet doggie cuddles, I crawled down on the floor with her. Curling up next to the dog bed, I slid my arm under her head, gently so as not to wake her. Sensing my presence, she looked up and I could feel it, all her love pouring out at me through those dark chocolate eyes. We are bonded her and I, and in that moment I could tell she knew how much I loved her.
She started to stir, and just as I suspected she was re-positioning to move in, to be closer to me, maybe even flop her weight down against me just like old times. "Oh, my sweet girl" I said opening my arms to her. But wait... what? As I lay there, my hip going numb on the hard surface of our bedroom floor and using my arm as an uncomfortable pillow so I didn't disturb her too much in her moment of comfort, my precious fur-baby got up and moved away.
Instead of the warm, soothing cuddle I'd so anticipated, she pulled her head away from my arm, stood up, spun one counter-clockwise circle, then moved into the farthest back corner of the dog bed, putting as much distance between us as possible. After curling into a little ball and tucking her head into her paws, she licked her chops once and with a heavy sigh (the same damn contented sigh she was supposed to make as we spooned together in the dark), she promptly fell asleep.
"What the hell?" I thought as I cajoled my hips and back into working again, and slowly crawled off the floor. Glancing at her sleeping there so peacefully I remembered all those nights I dared not move, not wanting to wake her. Or the times I couldn't move, trapped like a human burrito pinned beneath my sheets. Or how many times I never even had sheets because she'd done her little burrowing, nesting thing, pulling all bits of fabric to one side and leaving me and my husband to freeze. Then there was that domino-squeeze thing she'd do - as I rolled toward my husband, she'd move closer to me. I'd move over to make more room, and she'd move closer to me... and before I knew it the humans were clinging to 8 inches of bed while the dogs enjoyed the back 40.
I thought of all the dog hair I washed, re-washed, then washed once again to get out of the comforter. And it occurred to me I've been duped. That all that time she was in it for her! We weren't "sharing a moment" nearly as much as I was aligning with her desire to sleep like a queen.
So taking my cue from her I slid back into bed, stretched out my legs as far as they'd go, burrowed my head deep into my pillow, fluffed the blankets just the way I like them, and fell fast asleep. And when I woke to her sirens song of dog-talk, her sultry brown eyes imploring me to join her in a pre-dawn jaunt through the yard, I simply patted her little head. I felt no remorse as I said, "You're on your own this time princess," then rolled over and fell right back to sleep.