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!