To see more My World posts please click here.Thanks to the My World team who host this meme.Bedtime in our house follows a particular routine. First comes the rallying call - 'All-ee, all-ee out' - which awakens the dogs from their slumbers so that they can tumble into the garden for a final 'comfort break'. Then we all make our way upstairs.
Our dogs always sleep in our bedroom. Thus, if any of them is ill in the night, we can deal with them immediately. This is particularly important for our Dalmatians. Of the four Dallies we've had, three have had gastric torsion and in two of them the stomachs twisted. This is a life-threatening condition that occurs in deep-chested dogs. Immediate action must be taken to prevent a painful, swift death. Additionally, Frodo has idiopathic epilepsy and while he doesn't have frequent seizures, there is an ever-present danger that he might go into status epilepticus, when fits either don't cease or occur so rapidly one after the other that the brain is damaged and death follows soon after unless veterinary treatment is given to halt the fits.
Once the dogs have been counted back into the house we switch off the lights and make our way to bed. Going upstairs is not a problem for the younger dogs – three bounds for Frodo, four or five for the Labradors. Buddy usually manages to climb the stairs but a combination of very poor sight and elderly stiff limbs means that occasionally he requires assistance.
Having reached the bedroom Buddy goes to his comfortable bed on the floor, Frodo to his basket and the Labradors position themselves variously on the floor, in baskets, or, favoured site, our bed. Often there's no pretence at going to their own beds - they simply stretch out on our duvet and fall sound asleep.
Winston may or may not grace us with his presence. Periodically he likes to be the cat that walks (or sleeps) on his own. Last night we were honoured that he decided to join us.
Wherever the Labradors start the night, invariably they are on our bed by morning. Currently, this means four solid dogs spread across the available space, which becomes ever more available as they push with their paws and shove with their bodies. They snore, they dream, they twitch and whimper but the slightest unusual sound alerts them to a chorus of barking.
Now and again I leave Barry to herd the dogs and dash upstairs to get ready for bed and claim my bedspace. Sometimes he goes up before me and then it's a case of threading myself into bed between blissfully snoozing canines.
This was the scene on Sunday night.
Buddy settled quickly on his duvet.
Foxy went obediently to a basket and squintily to sleep.
Tia is not allowed on beds or furniture in her own home but enjoys her holidays with us when she is able to take full advantage of all the soft furnishings in our house.
Jenna also went to bed and was soon joined by Frodo, who clambered in on top of her.
Gus believes his rightful place is our bed. From his earliest days with us his ambition was to climb onto the bed. He will sleep in a dog bed too, but prefers close contact with his humans.
Winston possessed me, lying across my arm and licking and nudging me from time to time as I attempted to read.
No wonder I stagger forth each morning, stiff and bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived from the awkward positions I've been forced to assume and the cacophony of seven animals - well, eight, including Barry. It's a great life, if you don't weaken!