I’m going to tell you that I once read an article that said about 70% of people sleep with their pets. That way, you won’t think I’m a big weirdo. I’m in the majority.
When I go home to Saskatoon, or the family dog comes to Edmonton, he sleeps on my bed. Fergus is a cairn terrier and weighs about 15 pounds. He is allowed to sleep on my bed as long as he stays above the covers, and generally sleeps around my feet. Sometimes, he will wander up to my back and snuggle up against me. We’ve had four cairn terriers during my lifetime and the family cardinal rule is that dogs may be allowed on the bed, but they’re not allowed on pillows. There are boundaries.
So I’ve been housesitting my friend’s greyhound. I’ve been living with the dog for almost a month. My friend told me the dog was allowed on the bed, and she usually sleeps with her.
I didn’t know very much about greyhounds before this month. I’ve learned they are very sensitive dogs. Their lack of body fat makes it very uncomfortable for them to lie on floors, so they need dog beds or prefer couches or human beds. They can curl up in teeny, tiny balls. They have extremely thin skin and velvety soft fur that is pleasant to touch and they actually don’t need that much exercise.
During the first week, the dog was allowed on the bed while I was reading or watching movies on my lap top. When I went to sleep, I kicked her out of the bedroom, and she had to go into her dog bed. I quickly learned that she didn’t like me to touch her that much when she was sleeping on the bed. I usually bury my feet in Fergus’ fur when he sleeps on my bed but Miss Greyhound would not stand for that, and would growl in protest. (She wasn’t growling as a threat, just to voice displeasure. Very different) When she growls at me, I stop what I’m doing but still give her crap for growling, since she isn’t allowed to growl at her human.
However, we soon developed a pattern. I would make her go sleep on her dog bed. Then in the middle of the night, I would wake up to go to the bathroom and would go get her for company. She soon started settling into “her” side of the bed, leaving me on “my” side of the bed. One night, I fell asleep stroking her ear.
Eventually, I stopped putting her in her own bed. She gets on “her” side of the bed in the pre-sleeping reading period and I get on “mine”. As long as we have enough room, there are no problems. However, there have been times when I have been lying on the bed, and her paw has stretched out to rest on some part of my body. It’s really quite sweet. Greyhounds also seem to dream about running a lot, and their legs twitch when this happens so she has gently kicked me a few times.
I must admit that sleeping with a 60 pound dog is a lot different than sleeping with a 15 pound dog. When Miss Greyhound circles before she sleeps, she shakes the whole bed. One night, I woke up to a gusts of wind in my face. Miss Greyhound had moved in such a way that we were spooning and she was snoring right into my face. Sadly, this was disturbingly intimate, and an invasion of privacy. It was even more disappointing when I realized this was the first spooning action I’d had in months.
I guess I got her back for this, because one night, I rolled onto her accidentally and she woke me up by yelping, an entirely appropriate reaction when someone tries to smother you in your sleep.
However, the piece de resistance occurred during the day. I went to check on her and found her lying on my dog bed with her chin resting on a pair of my underwear. I felt strangely violated and far too aware of the intimate nature of our past month’s co-existence. I think I’m going to miss this dog when her regular human returns 🙂
Just to prove to you that I’m not nuts, here’s a video that a woman made about sleeping with greyhounds-