Sleeping With a Dog

I was sitting in the living room of my apartment, talking with my roommate, having a good time. He was playing some kind of anime game, I would be lying if I even tried to guess at the title of it, and I was doing a little bit of work debugging a computer program, but mainly I was just having fun chatting with him, staying up late. My dog, who is also highkey my boyfriend, was there in the living room with us, lying on the ground between the couch and the TV on a blanket that I always have laid out there for him.
At some point, during a lull in the conversation my roommate and I were having, the dog raised his head towards me and let out a grumbling groan, telling me that he wanted something from me.
I looked to him, and from the way his head was nodding off, and the way his eyes were half closed, I had a guess at what he wanted, that was beyond the standard questions dogs are asked of "hungry?" or "outside?" He is very willing to tell me more nuanced things, and in this case, I think it was pretty clear what he was asking me for.
"Is it time to go to bed?" I asked.
He sleepily licked his lips. Yes, is what that meant: it was time for one of the loud chattery computer monkeys to stop doing talking and computers and take her dog boyfriend to bed.
I told my roommate it had been fun, and saved what I was doing on my laptop and closed that. He made fun of me for getting bossed around by my dog, but, me being a zoosexual who could not be more in love with this dog, I was pretty happy to get bossed around into going to bed with him, so I wasn't complaining. My roommate was just making a joke, anyways, he knew as well the lengths I am willing to go to to give this dog what he wants. Our time living together has taught him a lot about the things that a dog might want, the ways that a dog might try to communicate to you, and how much an "owner" might more-so position themselves as a dog's steward, caring about not just meeting those needs, but exceeding in caring for a dog, being invested in the dog getting a good life as though the dog was the one who owned you.
I got up from the couch. The dog stood up from the floor, wagged, and took a stretching step forward, almost like he was a pointing dog indicating towards something, but instead of locking in place he was just limbering up his back and his legs from any stiffness caused from lying there on the floor.
I went around the corner, into the doorway into our bedroom. The dog followed, walked past me, and hopped up onto the bed. I closed the door, and changed into my pajamas as he watched me and wagged.
Dressed for a good night's sleep (and ready to sleep mentally, me and my roommate had indeed been staying up way later than I'd realized,) I looked to the bed. I think it's maybe a queen sized mattress, I'm not completely positive, but basically it would have enough room for two humans who really like each other to sleep side by side. Or, in our case, one human and one dalmatian mix who both really like each other. Kind of the same thing, size-wise. There on the bed, I was lucky enough to see that he had laid down on the left side of the bed, giving me room on the right. He doesn't always: sometimes he flops down in the middle somewhere, and I have to debate if I'm going to find some way to wiggle myself into the bed, push him over much to his groaning and annoyance, or find some other place to sleep. I've done all three, I've never made up my mind on the best way, it kind of depends on how we're feeling. But, on this night, he gave me plenty of room, and I crawled up onto the right side of the bed, and laid down with him.
We tend to sleep side by side, both of our heads at the head of the bed. I know other dogs are more contented to lay at the foot of the bed, or on their own dog bed that's separate from the human mattress. But he is my equal and he knows it: he is more than entitled to sleep on our mattress in all of the same ways that I would.
I took one of the blankets that he hadn't laid down on top of, and put it over myself and over him, and I laid down on my back. He was lying on his side, with his back towards me. We snuggled in against one another, him wriggling backwards and me wriggling over, until we were all snuggled together. And with that huge dog pressed up against my side, I closed my eyes, and began thinking about tomorrow, how much sleep I would get before my alarm--still plenty, thankfully, I had a late start tomorrow to look forward to. And just generally relaxing and being ready to put the last day behind me. The dog, already having been half snoozing on the floor, was quicker to fall asleep.
A lot of times, I'll wake up for little moments throughout the night. I'll know I have been asleep, but maybe my arm has gone numb from the way I was lying on it, and I slightly wake up for a minute to adjust. At some point in the night I turned towards him, both of us still under our blanket, and I rested an arm over top of him, over the top of his slowly rising and falling chest, and nuzzled my face into the hair on the back of his neck, and then fell back asleep that way.
In the morning, I woke up to find him turned around the other way, towards me, one of his forelegs resting on top of my head, my face pressed into his chest, some of my drool soaking his hair and the side of my mouth. I felt so glad to be waking up with such an assurance that this enormous dog feels so comfortable with me, that he would turn his belly towards me and fall fast asleep with my face under his arm.
I stayed there like that for a while, until eventually I was feeling like getting up and getting started on the day. Not wanting to just rudely get up and suddenly leave him all alone, I reached up and started gently petting him on the back, as my face was still where it had been, pressed into his chest. Hearing the thumping of his tail wagging on the bed, I could tell he was awake. Shortly, he did a big stretch, pressing his chest more against my face, and then craned his neck downwards to stick his nose towards my face. I scooched upwards on the bed so we were face to face, and we gave each other some warm and wet good morning kisses, tongue on tongue, lip on lip.
With one last big smooch on his mouth, I got up out of the bed, and started getting ready for the day.
I was thinking, the other night, about some of the different places he and I have slept.
There was one time we went camping, nothing too remote, just a commercial campground by a lake somewhere. It turned out to be unexpectedly cold one of the nights we were there, and I remember shivering, and making sure that he was covered in what we had for blankets, at the cost of me only getting a little bit of the edge as he and I snuggled in close with one another, trying to impart our body heat to each other rather than letting it go out to the air.
There was one time we were visiting my grandmother's house, and the bed in our room was so tiny compared to what we usually have, and it was also so loud, the slightest adjustment on it making the old wooden boards of it groan like it was offended by you and wanted you to know. I ended up sleeping on the wood floor and letting him stay up on the bed alone, so that me trying to get comfy throughout the night wouldn't be noisy and bothersome to him.
Usually, though, he and I have slept in our own bed, through the years and through the seasons. Hot summers with just a thin sheet draped over me, and nothing on him. Winters with lots of blankets: it's not that our bedroom is ever freezing exactly, but in the winter, unless you really have the heat cranked, there can be little coldnesses, your fingers and toes just get icy easier, and it's so nice to have a warm companion you can snuggle up on then. Springs and falls with the window open, letting the outside smells come to us, rain, wind, sometimes faraway smoke.
I love sleeping with a dog.
Article written by Somnosnork (January 2024)
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