Friday, March 7, 2008

A Full Night's Sleep

I've finally had a full night's sleep. After 3 or 4 weeks of getting up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30, I finally had a night where I was able to sleep through the night uninterrupted.

The usual source of my sleep disruption is my dog. We have two of them - Chewie and Pansy. Chewie is really Hubby's dog; Pansy is mine. Chewie is about 8 years old now - an Australian Cattle Dog. He's very protective and fierce and scary looking to anyone who hasn't seen a silver haired dog! He's not particularly big like a lab, but he has muscle and will run like anything, especially after squirrels and rabbits.

Pansy is a dog we (I) adopted two summers ago. I have no idea what got into me - I am not really a dog person. My theory is you are either a dog person or a cat person - and I was totally convinced I was a cat person. That summer I had some overpowering need to have a dog. I really did not want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on some dog at a store, so I started going to all the pounds around me. Hubby said I was in charge of the search - he didn't want to go to shelters and see all the dogs waiting for new homes or death, which ever came first. So I went online to and looked and looked and looked. There were several that I called about, but had "just missed". I saw Pansy listed in a shelter that rescued dogs from the south - where they routinely put dogs down after a few weeks.

The Boy had been interested in getting a dog and put his two cents in for a beagle. Now, all I had heard about beagles was the braying they were famous (or infamous) for. I was not too keen on more noise in the house, so I wasn't too sure about that. Pansy fit the bill - she was part beagle and part pointer. So we went to see her - me and The Boy. She warmed right up to The Boy and basically ignored me.

As part of the adoption process, everyone in the family had to meet Pansy and get along - that included Chewie. So I had to bring Hubby and Chewie to meet Pansy.

That was an interesting experience. Since we have Chewie trained pretty much as a guard dog, he is very protective and loud. The trainer at the shelter took Chewie by the leach and walked around him, going behind him. The growl that came out of him when she brushed his tail was low and guttural, but he stood still and let her complete her walk around. She said something to the effect of she was impressed that he didn't bite at her and that we had not put up a fuss about her actions. I was pretty much figuring if she was stupid enough to walk up behind a strange dog, she deserved whatever she got! Anyway, we got the two dogs together in a "neutral" area - somewhere Pansy had not been on the property and obviously Chewie had never been there either. So neither of them "owned" that space. They sniffed each other, with Chewie especially interested in her butt (no surprise there!). Then they went on their separate ways... no biting, no growling, no tension. So all went well and we ended up bringing Pansy home the next day.

As a shelter dog, house training was not her strong suit. The first week was horrible - the whining from the crate, the constant battle to get her out before her bodily fluids got out, and the constant peril our belongings suffered from the threat of being chewed up. We got her settled into a routine, but every now and then she would get in the basement and use the concrete floor as her spot to pee or poop. We had to start closing the door to the basement, and that seemed to clear up.

We kept her in a crate at night until just recently. She never complains about being in the crate... she likes to snuggle up in it. But the crate takes up this huge amount of space - there is just no good place for it. We finally ended up putting it in front of our front door. It is a double door, so we put it in front of the door that does not open. Unfortunately that also puts it in front of our closet door, which we actually do use. So, it was a big inconvenience and a pain in the butt. I finally decided to get her out of the crate at night. The big problem is ... she is convinced that she is a lap dog. She jumps on the bed and snuggles with me. I generally don't have a problem that, but I do enjoy being able to move in my own bed when I am sleeping. So, I took a small leash and attached it to my bedframe. I put her bedding from the crate on the floor and now that is her bed. It works great - no more crate and she still can't jump on the bed with me.

Unfortunately, I am a very light sleeper. Everytime she gets up I wake up. Then she lets out a little soft whine, just enough for me to hear (and not Hubby). I get up, take her out, and I have to give her credit, she almost always pees and/or poops. Then, back in we go... her to her bed and me to mine. But, alas, I am now awake.... and sleep eludes me. For an hour ... for two... until it is just about 6 am - time to get up.

But last night, I heard no whine. For the first time in a very long time, I got 6.5 hours of sleep IN A ROW.

My body was so unaccustomed to it, I think this morning's headache is a direct result of its' confusion.

No comments: