04 November 2009

Where Sleeping Dogs Lie

I'm sure I've grumbled before about the jet lag-like effect of the biannual time change, or if I haven't, you can probably fill in the blanks.

One side-effect of the shift back to standard time I can't fully explain, even to myself, is this: the dog starts jumping into the bed to sleep.

I was raised in a well-ordered household in which dogs did not sleep on the people's beds. The dogs were much-loved members of the family and were underfoot most of the time, but they did not sleep on the people's beds. Nor, in most cases, did they seem to want to.

For the light half of the year, this dog doesn't seem to want to, either. He's perfectly content to sleep on the rug in the bedroom, or, in the hottest months, on the bare floor.

But the night the clocks are set back, he leaps into the bed. We do not invite him to join us. The temperature is not necessarily colder than it was the day before -- in fact, we had colder weather mid October than we did last weekend. Nevertheless, there he is.

Sometimes he curls up at the foot of the bed, in imitation of the cats (who are not amused by his takeover of their space). Other nights, he snuggles up between us, like a large furry toddler seeking comfort after a bad dream. So far he has not had one of his wild-wolf-howling dreams while sleeping on the bed. It is to be wished, devoutly, that he does not, if only because howling dogs are not especially good for my own sleep.

Of course we can, and sometimes do, order him off the bed. He will dutifully climb down and slump to the floor. There he lies, dejected, mournful, until he gauges that it's safe to leap back up. This is rarely more than 30 minutes. Then he'll sneak around to my side of the bed and spring nimbly into his place at the foot.

And so it will be until it's time to set the clocks forward, when for mysterious reasons of his own, the dog will return to sleeping on the floor.

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