Come home soon, kids!

By Mir
December 29, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m completely smitten with the dog. I adore her. Yes, I have become one of those people who basically treats the dog like a third child, albeit a child who never grows up and is a bit “special.” (Hey, neither of the kids I gave birth to lose their fool minds whenever the UPS guy comes up the driveway, is all I’m sayin’.) Also it’s very, very rare for me to make the human children eat kibble out of a bowl on the floor. So there’s differences, of course.

Yes, in the world of blended families, Licorice is Otto’s and my lovechild. (We love each other SO MUCH, we produced a furball. Go, us!) So when the (human) children go off to visit their dad, Licorice stays behind, somewhat confused as to where her playmates have disappeared off to. (Not for lack of trying on Monkey’s part, you understand. He has been angling for us to allow them to take the dog when they see their dad for FOREVER. That… is a whole ‘nother story. About specialness. Ha.)

And for the most part, just having Licorice here is kind of like being alone. Mostly.

The problem, I think, is that when Licorice first came home I was all, “The dog will sleep in the crate and SHE WILL LIKE IT.” I am a big fan of crating dogs; it gives them a spot that’s all theirs, where they feel safe, and particularly for a rescue like Licorice I think it’s invaluable to establish both routine and boundaries to aid in the adjustment process. Other than just a night or two where she complained a little bit (the most pitiful whining and barking you ever did hear…), she happily took to running to her crate every night at bedtime.

Everything was perfect. But then I made a critical error.

Chickadee started begging for us to let the dog sleep with her. Actually; both kids begged, but Monkey both has an elevated bed (and Licorice is a small dog) AND he sleeps the way most people dance, so I feared for the dog’s safety if she was put into the flight path of Hurricane Monkey. Chickadee, on the other hand, sleeps in a large, regular-height bed, and can be virtually impossible to rouse in the morning. I am always looking for good incentives to get her up, and also ways to get her to take on a little bit more responsibility, seeing as how I am hoping that someday she will move out and be able to handle herself better than just sitting on the front steps and crying about not having socks or whatever.

So we started letting the dog sleep in Chickie’s room.

On the one hand, her crate is in my office, so moving her upstairs meant that I could start my morning without the immediate HI HI HI I LOVE YOU LET ME OUT GOTTA PEE GOTTA JUMP HI HI HI I LOVE YOU flurry that I’d previously been subjected to. Now I can get my coffee, check my email, and otherwise enjoy a few minutes of peace. It’s lovely.

On the other hand, my dreams of Chickadee springing out of bed and taking the dog out and feeding her in the morning haven’t exactly come to pass. It turns out that she’s able to use that giant brain of hers to figure out that… if she just opens the door and lets the dog out of her room, I will take her outside because the alternative is to argue with Chickadee while the dog pees on the floor. Hrmph.

And then, of course, there’s the part I totally forgot to take into consideration: When the kids are gone, the dog is not at all interested in returning to the crate.

Could we force the issue? Probably. We tried it the first time the kids left after she’d taken up nighttime residence with Chickadee, and lo, there was HOWLING indignation. We were tired and are basically lazy and total softies, so we let her sleep with us. And now we’re stuck; when the kids are gone, the dog comes in from the last pee-run of the night and settles herself in the middle of our king-size bed like the freakin’ queen of Sheba.

I have to admit, she’s pretty cute. She has a very hard face to resist, you know.

There’s two problems with her sleeping with us. Wait, no; three problems.

First: Periodically she hears a gnat landing on the grass a mile up the road and starts barking ferociously, as is her station as long as she’s In The Big Bed and we require her protection services. Ahem. And there’s nothing I love more than a 2:30 a.m. wakeup via growling dog! Except maybe having toothpicks inserted directly into my eyeballs.

Second: Otto apparently has very tasty ears. Licorice seems to wake up in our bed and is so overcome with the joy of being In The Big Bed that she must immediately go plunk herself down on Otto and jam her tongue directly into his ear canal. I don’t know why she does this—she never does it to me—but I’ve seen her do it enough times to know that she is preternaturally drawn to his particular earwax. And as much fun as it is to be woken by barking, based upon Otto’s reaction, I’m guessing wake-up-call-via-ear-canal-violation is EVEN BETTER.

Third, and perhaps most egregious of all: What are the words that come to mind when you describe a dog? Cute? Fluffy? Adorable? Sprightly? All of these words are good descriptors of Licorice, it’s true. But whenever she sleeps with us, the only word we seem able to mutter in her direction is MOIST. She is the MOST MOIST DOG I have ever known. Why? Let me set the scene for you!

Scenario 1: It’s been a long day, and we collapse into bed, exhausted. All either of us want is to go to sleep. The night is still. We are drifting off. And suddenly— *SLURPSLURPSLURPSLUUUUUUUURP*

Yes, Licorice has a bit of grooming to do! Don’t mind her, she’ll just be laying there between us SLURPING AWAY. That’s not disturbing AT ALL. Or…

… Scenario 2: It’s been a great day and we’re cuddled up in bed, talking and snuggling and maybe one thing will lead to another, and just as things are getting interesting— *SLURPSLURPSLURPSLUUUUUUUURP*

Um. Kind of a mood-breaker, is all I’m sayin’.

And no matter how many times one or the other of us hollers, “LICORICE! STOP BEING SO MOIST!” she continues licking away.

It was perhaps during one of the above scenarios—I’ll let you figure out which one—when I whispered to Otto in my most sultry voice, “I really miss the kids right now.”

So come home soon, darling children o’ mine! Licorice We just miss you—and your nighttime stewardship of Her Royal Moistness—so much! We’re counting down the days!


  1. Burgh Baby

    “Moist” happens to be one of those words that is like nails on a chalkboard for me, except it’s in a way that makes me simultaneously cringe and want to puke. So, thanks for that. So much.

  2. dad

    La la la la lah….I can’t hear you.


  3. Aimee

    See, this is why we no longer let our cats in our bedroom.

  4. Katie in MA

    Do NOT include Scenario #2 in said explanations to the kiddos or they will NEVER come home again, if only to ensure a complete and utter stop to Scenarios of the #2 variety forever. ;-)

  5. Randi

    Our dogs are SO not allowed on the bed – granted they’re the size of a human and would likely squish us, but they’re definitely not allowed on the bed. As for the licking, we have one dog who does that. A well aimed pillow at his head tends to stop the licking :)

  6. bob

    I think this is the 1st documented case whereby parental “romantic liaisons” are enabled by children being present – totally opposite of the effect children traditionally have on this activity. At least, in my experience.

  7. Beth R

    My boy cat was a total bed-time groomer – and very moist also. I just slid a foot/leg under where he was on the blankets and flipped him around a bit. He’d wind up stopping for that particular time, but he never got the long-term hint. Not real bright, but cute :)

  8. Chuck

    Well, at least the kids aren’t gone too often…

  9. Tracy B

    This is the funniest I’ve read in a while. I use to have a cat that did the same thing. I finally kicked her OUT of my room. Then she would set by the door and meow all night until either I locked her in the one of the kids rooms OR I’d let her in. I just love Licorice even if she is moist. Oh and those licks in the ear…love licks. She’s just so happy you found her she sometimes spontanously wants to show her appreciations..that’s all I’m saying. ;o)

  10. laura

    I’ve tried shutting our little princess out of the bedroom. The look she gives me when I open the door, it makes me feel so ashamed. She has the smallest, blackest, disapproving little lips.

  11. ste

    The word moist may never seem the same again. It might be interesting to see what comes up in your stats for keyword searches!

  12. Kathy

    I’m with Burgh Baby on the word “moist”! BLECHHHHH!!!! Just gives me the heaves! But … loved the post! Thanks!

  13. heather

    I have a full sized bed that just holds two adult humans if they like either enough and now I’ve added a 40 lb dog who believes in sleeping perpendicular to the humans. Fun times. My dog considers scenario #2 to be “group cuddle time” and gets offended when she gets banished.

  14. 12tequilas

    What bob said. And what heather said about perpendicular dogs…that’s our bed, with two adults and two canines and the occasional stealthy child.

  15. kakaty

    Ha. I wonder how many people will now find this blog by googling “ear-canal-violation”. Poor twisted souls. Our dog does his grooming right when we get the kids to bed and settle in for a little TV. It’s so gross.

    (also, Licorice looks JUST LIKE my childhood dog. It’s unreal).

  16. Heather

    The word moist just totally skeeves me out. It’s rather ironic that you have to wait for the kids to get home before having “alone time”, so to speak :P

  17. Mary

    Sorry about Scenario 2 but this is some really funny stuff! Kids will be home soon but by then the mood might change. :O)

  18. Cele

    I have pillows to heave at Arlo in the midst of copious lapping of paws, inner legs and parts no one should ever lick. Sometimes it helps. Good luck.

  19. joaaanna

    HA HA HA! I just hollered at my dog to stop licking himself while I was reading this. It just drives me batty!

  20. addy


  21. Flea

    Our Lou cat loves ear wax. It’s like kitty crack for him His eyes roll back and he’ll start to bite after a bit. I wasn’t aware that dogs had a thing for it, too.

  22. mamaspeak

    One of our cats will clean out our DOG’S ears, (so gross). So that’s what you need, another dog. Then they can groom (lick & clean out) each other.
    Also, you could be one of those people who gets steps for your dog, so the dog can get onto Monkey’s bed. ;-) Just a thought.

  23. Rachael

    This post has all the elements of a great movie: I laughed; I cried. I cringed; I threw up. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants; I heaved when I read the ear-licking thing and then got the most incredible urge to go find a Q-tip to clean out my ears from all that dog-licking moistness. I was mortified. I blushed. I cheered. I rejoiced. And now, I’m still sitting here, waiting as the credits roll by on the screen, just waiting to see if there’s any hidden goodies of extra script…

  24. Pat

    I have a Chihuahua that thinks I need to be groomed every day/night. Especially the ear canal! She barks at ANYTHING that is different or makes a noise at night. Great @ 2:30 as you mentioned. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has encountered this dilemma.

  25. JennyM

    Oy. I have never commented before finishing the previous comments before, but my jaw was clenching and my spine was trying to crawl out the top of my head and go curl up in a ball alone somewhere at all the instances of the “m” word. That is one of the worst words ever.

    Anyway. My dog does that too. And if you stop her, she looks at you, all “You don’t want me to be CLEAN?”

    Bless Chickadee and the deep, undisturbed sleep of the pre-teen, able to withstand nocturnal canine interruptions….

  26. Brigitte

    Hee, I didn’t know so many people were so grossed out by the mere M-word. Now I just picture their reactions if the aspiring villain “Moist” (from Dr. Horrible’s . . ) was hitting on them in a bar or somesuch. ;-D

  27. Rebekah

    omg-I-can’t-stand-the-slurping! We have five dogs, four of whom (FOUR) sleep in our bed with us and the fifth, an old, mean, cranky terrier mix, sleeps on a blanket next to the bed, slurping and shnuffling ALL. NIGHT. LONG. And he does it rhythmically like a disgusting metronome that you cannot turn off. Serenity NOW.

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