This arrangement suits us even more because of another household reality: our three dogs. My adjustment to canine companions has been reluctant, especially since my wife brought two of them home without consulting me. One from a roadside puppy stand; the other from the shoulder of a country road.
“How could you?” I asked. “This is like adopting a child! You just don’t do that unilaterally!”
She said nothing, holding up the little fur balls so their irresistible eyes would meet mine. What was I going to do? Call the pound? Go out on a country road and re-abandon them? Show my horns and forked tail?
I accepted our new status quo, grumbling all the while. When there was a mess, I quickly pointed out who needed to clean. I counsel people not to bring up the past in conflicts. I dredged it up in tractor loads.
Over time, these new family members assumed their places. They are:
1. Remy – a male Heeler mix, protective of my wife, a bit grumpy.
2. T-Bone – a male Rat Terrier, perky, affectionate, sticking to humans like Velcro.
3. Pearl – a Golden Lab mix with a sweet disposition, unless she sees a possum or cat.
Back to our nighttime arrangements. All three dogs sleep with my wife, another reason it’s fine that we have separate rooms. I call hers “the lair.” As the Big Dog, I sometimes intrude, but usually I let sleeping dogs lie. :-)
Then, a couple weeks ago, my brother moved in with us. We’re giving him a six-month “leg up” to start a new chapter in his life. The only way to accommodate him was for my wife and me to share a room.
We figured we could deal with the snoring (I’m still not revealing the source.) But the dogs, for me, were a different challenge. How was I going to cope?
In the first few days, they stayed on the floor. Then they took to standing next to the bed, their eyes imploring me for human contact. Oliver himself couldn’t have looked more plaintive as he held up his bowl and said, “More, Sir!”
I guess I’m a softie because I relented, and soon they found places to lounge on our king-sized playground.
But they didn’t stop there. My graciousness emboldened them. The other night I woke up to find T-Bone snuggled under the covers, Pearl’s face draped over my neck, and Remy licking my ear.
Did I scream with anger and frustration, banishing them forever to the carpeted hinterlands? No, I just relaxed in the warmth of a three dog night. I even scratched Remy behind the ear and said, “Good boy.”
After all, my brother has to leave some time. Doesn’t he?