Sleeping With Dogs

I haven't slept alone in five years. Not in my own bed. Even if husbands or boyfriends or significant others were out of town, I have never slept alone. I didn't even remember what it felt like until last night when I sprawled across the wide open space of the bed-sheets, testing the temperature of the left side of the bed, where Hal sleeps when he isn't out of town.

"It will be nice to sleep alone for once," I thought, before remembering that I hate to sleep alone, especially after a long day of working by myself. I want something to touch or talk-to. I need to hear breathing next to me. It is the only thing that lulls me to sleep. I flipped the light and wandered bleary-eyed down the hall toward the living room where the dogs were curled up together in their bed.

"Come on guys," I said. "Come sleep with me."

For years before Hal and I met, Cooper and Zadie slept with me in my bed. Children of a past relationship, they grew up sleeping with my ex-boyfriend, Jason and me. Cooper slept between us and Zadie at our feet and when we broke up and he moved out, they stayed with me and slept in my bed every night so I didn't have to sleep alone.

Men came and went. In and our of our lives but no matter what the dogs knew that when it was just the three of us at home, we would all fall asleep and wake up, together.

When Hal and I met, the dogs weren't allowed in the bedroom and over the years, have never slept with us in bed. They eventually stopped begging at the closed door and obediently slept together in the living room.

But not last night.

"Come on, guys," I said, once again. "Get up here. You can sleep with me, tonight."

But the dogs just stared at me confused until I pulled them up one by one onto the comforter.

Cooper (pictured above) cuddled up to me under the air-conditioner and Zadie went under the sheets, nuzzling up next to my feet.

I slept soundly through the night like I used to years ago, my Insomnia instantly cured by dueting doggy snores, my original family.

And I relished in the simplicity of sleeping beside animals, hairy and smelly and uncomplicated, remembering what it felt like to be a different kind of family of three, overwhelmed by what has changed since last we slept together. Different sounds. And smells. Different dreams and breathing patterns.



Chicky Chicky Baby | 4:53 PM

My husband will not allow our dogs to sleep with us, but the way I figure they rule every other aspect of our lives so this is one concession.

But sometimes I miss sleeping with a dog. They're good for spooning.

Scar | 5:09 PM

I love Cooper. He can come sleep in my bed when Hal comes back.


you make it sound like i didn't let you sleep by yourself in chicago. i guess you can add exaggeration to the list of bad habits you picked up from me that week.

Jason King | 7:25 PM

Your ex-boyfriend is hot.

Whit | 11:17 PM

Our dogs used to sleep with us, but since the kids came they have managed to kick the dogs off. What we need is a bigger bed.

Rambling20-something | 11:33 PM

you're absolutely right.there is nothing quite like sharing a bed with a dog. they're especially wonderful in winter I've found :D

our dog is still our baby so he gets full reign of the bed. or at least the part of the bed that the cats aren't occupying. our bed can get rather full. but its nice. they're also easy to shove off when they get annoying. unlike significant others ;P

kittenpie | 8:27 AM

My cats sleep around us, too, though they seem to come and go through the night. Sometimes Henry will sleep tucked along the length of my body, my arm over his middle and under his front paws. So cozy.

Anonymous | 10:03 AM

This touched my heart. Thanks!

Anonymous | 1:57 PM

I guess it is better than sleeping with the fishes.

Pinterest Failures | 2:10 PM

What a handsome! I want to squeeze his cheeks! Sorry, I start to talk to like a high-pitched 8 year old girl when I see boxers. I have two white boxers at home and I spend my days squeezing their cheeks

Anonymous | 1:42 AM

whenever i go back to my parents to stay my dogs run straight up to my old room and jump on the bed, cos they know that's where they're sleeping that night. i love it, they stink, but i love their stink!
it makes me feel right.

Anonymous | 12:30 PM

Cooper is beautiful!

We had to buy a king-sized bed to fit us all: my husband, our beagle, our cat and now our 5-month old.

Thanks for writing about this. I happened to read it right after a story about Michael Vick and the dog-fighting charges. This really cheered me up and reminded me that most people really love their dogs.

Binky | 1:41 PM

Our dog sleeps with me when my husband is away. Thankfully, my husband was not away at any point between the time Roxie recently became infested with fleas and the time we realized it. Though our whole house was hoppin' with those little buggers, our bed was not.

Anonymous | 10:10 AM

"the dogs weren't allowed in the bedroom and over the years, have never slept with us in bed. They eventually stopped begging at the closed door and obediently slept together in the living room." EEEk! This is my future. New beau doesn't let his Rottie in his bedroom (allergies) and so I suppose if and when we shack up my two beasts will be banished as well. I have no idea how I'll handle the crying at the door bit... How'd you do it?