Monday, 16 August 2010

My World Tuesday Bedtime

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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!


  1. My life is a little easier, I only have 4 cats they are of course not that heavy but only two sleep with me, the two others with Mr. G. My friends dog had gastric torsion and passed away. Now she feeds her dog (also a Dalmatian) little portions several times per day.

    BTW did you get my email ? I am leaving here on wednesday morning.
    If we can't make it this time there will be other occasions !

  2. There is nothing that looks cozier than a dog or cat curled up sleeping. Thanks for sharing these interesting pictures and informing about the health issues of Dalmatians.:)

  3. We only have the two dogs and normally Mojo sleeps upstairs with Adam and Sam downstairs with me. However! when Adam is out of town I find myself sandwiched between the two of them! Even so it can't compare your nighttime, that's for sure! Great, fun photos for the day, Janice! Hope all of you have a great week!


  4. Our pets are part of our lives. We have two cats, and the small one (a pixie bob) snuggles with me in the bed, and yes, she licks. The other cat always gives way to the small one and sleeps with my daughter.

    Love your photos, each one claiming their own space.

  5. I can definitely relate to being sleepy-eyed in the morning from being woken up during the night by my cat. I absolutely wouldn't have it any other way:)

    loved all the shots of bedtime with your brood.

  6. I can definitely relate to being sleepy-eyed in the morning from being woken up during the night by my cat. I absolutely wouldn't have it any other way:)

    loved all the shots of bedtime with your brood.

  7. You have quite the nighttime routine. I had no idea Dalmatians had such problems, that is very interesting information.

    We only have one cat at the moment and she prefers to sleep on a chair in my office rather than the bed.

  8. Fantastic routine for them. They are very adorable.

  9. You have many pets, beautiful looking dogs like look the dalmatian..I would love to have one dog just a baby one to play...

  10. That's a problem I wouldn't mind having, but my husband is not as much of an animal lover as I am. Right now, I'd settle for just one cat.

  11. *chuckle* what a delightful yarn this is. I only have two cats and I know the hassles I have. I cannot imagine how I could copy with your menagerie. Lovely to read. The love and affection shines through.

  12. Lovely, your pics put a smile on my face.

  13. How many dogs do you have? Do they always sleep in that position?

  14. WOW!!!! Do you put them on a leash and take them out on walks at the same time?

    In Auckland, we have areas where dogs are allowed off leash.

  15. Enjoyed reading this fun post! We all have our bedtime routines, even the animals. They all look comfy and cozy. How funny to claim bedspace.....

  16. I hope you have a king sized bed for all of you!!

  17. Great post. I have a little dog called Nina.

    Roberto from Brazil

  18. Bedtime is a true event at your house. :)

  19. I had a chuckle over some of your post. I'm sad about your dogs illnesses but the sleeping part is funny. At one time hubby and I had four dogs..two labs(one of them was Maui a choc lab was a big boy at 125 lbs) and two goldens retrievers. We had a king size bed between all four dogs, hubby and I were lucky to get any room for ourselves. Sunshine, my old yellow lab would lay above my pillows and her paws would be around my head. We had a lot of wonderful years with our old dogs. Our one Goldie Girl now sleeps on the floor.

  20. (Note to Roberto from Brazil -- I used to have a little dog called Niña, also.)
    I love the description of bedtime with Barry and the other animals. Our golden retriever would like nothing better than to get onto our bed. We had a new mattress and box spring delivered today and she eyed it hopefully, but to no avail. One night I was sleeping in the spare room because my husband's snoring was particularly bad, and I did let Lindy up there with me because there was a thunder storm and she was terrified. But there isn't room for all three of us, even on our big bed.
    When I lived on my own with two cats and a spaniel-cross named Niña, one cat slept at my right shoulder, and one at my left knee, but Niña slept on the floor beside my bed. For months after she died, I found myself swinging my legs wide when I woke up "to avoid the dog" and every morning I felt a jolt of pain when I realized she wasn't there.


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