Mocha, our miniature schnauzer and first dog, slept on our bed. Lucy, our mutt did not. When we adopted our lab rescue in 2013, Teddy, I said “No” to sleeping on the bed.
No to dog hair covering the bed. No to being pushed out of bed. No to wet noses and dog kisses in the bed at 2 in the morning.
After Teddy’s foster mom left from dropping him off I checked on him and my daughter, Jordan.
Teddy must have been exhausted from traveling from Indianapolis to Bellbrook.
The pooch was curled up on Jordan’s bed. Jordan, right next to him, was beaming. Teddy looked relaxed and happy.
My “no” had lasted all of two hours.
Sleeping with one’s pet isn’t all that unusual. The American Pet Products Association reported in 2015 that nearly half of the dogs in this country sleep in their owner’s beds.
Teddy first slept in a crate in our bedroom. When he could be trusted not to roam our home the pooch graduated to a dog bed.
Not just any dog bed, either. A soft, roomy, way too expensive dog bed. Way too expensive because some nights he spends more time in my husband Ed’s and my bed then his.
If a dog respects an owner’s personal space and knows bedtime is for sleeping not playing, Brittany Jones, Teddy’s trainer, is OK with the arrangement.
Cairo and Bonnie, Jones’ two German shepherds, don’t sleep with her and her husband, Ben. Boo, their gray 7-year-old cat, had claimed the spot before the two dogs joined the family.
Brittany worked out a great bedtime routine for Teddy.
Ed or I let Teddy outside before going to bed. When Teddy comes back in he heads straight to his bed. His reward? Cheese cubes, his favorite treat.
This routine works beautifully, until the pooch wakes up around 2 in the morning.
Teddy looks around the room and thinks, “What am I doing down here? I should be sleeping with Dad, my fearless leader. I should share my warmth with Mom.”
To his credit, the lab doesn’t paw, nudge or push us to get attention. Abby, the cat, does that when she decides to join us in bed.
Thankfully, Teddy sleeps at the end of the bed. I’m not sure we could move the sack of bricks once he’s plopped down.
There just one problem with this sleeping arrangement: Pets’ fur collects allergens.
People with allergies or asthma can be allergic to dogs and cats with fur. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America as many as three out of 10.
Ed and I are two of the three out of 10. We’ve had allergies since we were children.
A solution? Ed and I get allergy shots weekly.
The shots cover various allergens including those on Teddy’s fur as well as, Abby, our cat’s fur.
A second solution? Lint rollers.
Before going to bed. armed with lint rollers, Teddy’s alpha leader and Teddy’s mom attack the fur he’s left on the bed the night before.
A third solution? Make Teddy stay in his soft, roomy, overpriced bed.
That’s never going to happen. Ed, like our daughter, sees no problem with furry family members sleeping on the human family members’ beds.
The best solution? Keep the pooch and the cat out of our bedroom.
That’s too logical. Cold. Cruel.
In the end, we went with the first two solutions, shots and lint rolling. It’s a small price to pay to keep the pooch happy. The cat, too.
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Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.