Sunday, July 11, 2010

Andy's Sleeping Arrangements

Andy quickly adjusted to his new home. He immediately befriended my mom. They were inseparable, and spent almost every waking moment together, as well as their time asleep. Andy slept in her bed right by her pillow. Andy quickly established the bed as his domain and would become restless or fidgety if anyone or anything tried to get in the bed other than my mom. Andy would tolerate Abby sleeping in the bed, but she had to stay at the foot of the bed. Father, on the other hand, could not get in the bed unless under unusual circumstances such as a thunderstorm. Otherwise, Andy would growl at any attempt by Father to climb in the bed. At night, my mom had her bedtime rituals. It would be initiated with the following question to the dogs: Do you want to go nighty? It didn’t take Andy long to learn what that meant, and when he did, that question would send him into a trot down the hall straight to my mom’s room.

He did this to establish his position on the bed which was his safe haven, cocoon, and a place of his own solely of his dominion. Sometimes Abby or Father would have a head start because they were in the hall while Andy was on the couch with my mom. This only accelerated Andy’s gait. He would forcefully thrust himself past Father and Abby to jockey for position in order to be the first in bed. Abby took the slight in stride, but Father would be indignant and snarl and snap at Andy. Under these circumstances, it didn’t matter since Father couldn’t catch Andy, and once Andy was on the bed, no dog would challenge him. It was sort of like their own version of king of the mountain and Andy was the King. My mom’s bed was a place of comfort for Andy. There he was free from his fears and phobias, but it was in the bed that Andy could be aggressive.

For example, one night a couple of years later when I was down visiting, I went to my mom’s room one night after I had just arrived from my 8 hour trip from NJ. Father was so happy to see me that he wanted to jump on the bed to greet me. Andy would have none of that. Andy let out a low growl. I felt his normally soft and squishy body tense and become hard from his muscles flexing. Just then, Andy lunged at Father. It took everything I had to hold Andy back, and I’m not a little person either. Andy was a strong little bastard.

Even when if I approached my mom’s bed with Andy on it, Andy would become anxious, stand up and shift his body in a tactical position as to block any attempt of mine to sit on it. He wasn’t mean about it, but he was subtle about the fact that I was not completely welcome to approach that bed. He didn’t mind Abby getting on the bed, but she had to wait her turn while he would get in and position himself before she was allowed to climb on. He would not allow her to sleep by my mom at the head of the bed. The head of the bed was Andy’s and Andy’s alone. My mom’s bed was Andy’s sanctuary and the only place where he would sleep at night.

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