Saturday, 6 December 2008

Beagle Bedfellow Blues

I'm visiting my parents this weekend, which means a much-needed dose of beagle. Wilbur, just to set the record straight, is a Real Dog, well-versed in the noble houndly arts of chasing rabbits, rolling in marsupial dung, excavating his way into the compost bin, and feasting on the suppurating remnants of last month's potato peelings. The reason the record needs to be corrected here is that Wilbur is also the fifth baby my parents never had. When they leave the house for the day, he comes with them, or attends a doggy day care centre, named (like the erstwhile Sydney bordello) A Touch of Class. There (possibly as at the erstwhile Sydney bordello; I have to confess to gaps in my research here), the wards play disheveled rounds of Duck Duck Goose, sit down for craft (last time Wilbur came home from A Touch of Class, he had made a macrame dog-angel for the Christmas tree), and, for an additional fee, have their nails done. (Wilbur, of course, doesn't have his nails done because he is a Real Dog, and he wears his nails down himself by digging up stegosaurus fossils with his Bare Paws.) Also, and this is so self-evidently the right and proper thing it's almost unremarkable, Wilbur sleeps in a human bed. Usually my brother's.

Last night, in honour of my Prodigal Sister Returned to the Fold status, my brother relinquished his Wilbur bedfellow rights and let Wilbur sleep with me. This is how it went:

At 8:45, Wilbur and I pottered off to bed to read Margaret Diehl's The Boy on the Green Bicycle. Wilbur lay stretched out beside me. We were both comfortable.

At 10:00, I decided that I was at risk of falling asleep so I took Wilbur outside to wee. My father helped. My father said "Do wetties" and Wilbur did wetties against a tuft of grass on next door's lawn.

At 10:10, we returned to bed. Wilbur burrowed under the sheet and stretched out alongside me. This was fine.

At 10:27, I rolled onto my side. Wilbur immediately rolled into the space I had vacated.

At 10:33, I was now lying to the extreme right of the bed, clutching the mattress with my toes to save myself from plunging to the floor. Wilbur was pressed against me, snoring slightly. He weighed 146 kg and was immovable.

At 10:34, I got out of bed, and got back into bed on the other side of Wilbur. Wilbur woke up and looked peeved. Why was I wriggling so much? Couldn't I see some people were trying to sleep?

At 10:40, in disgust, Wilbur elbowed his way further down under the sheet and curled up in the space my knees go. I made a me-sized ball up the other end of the bed.

At 11:10, my left leg grew numb and had to be amputated.

At 11:20, Wilbur emerged from his slumber in the space my knees go and came and put his head near mine. I stretched out. I put my arm over him. He snored slightly. We fell asleep.

At 3:25, Wilbur jumped out of bed. I suspected canine urinary urgency, so opened the front door for him. He ignored the open door and ambled into the pantry to check whether anyone had accidentally left a plate of steak Tartare on the floor. They hadn't. We went back to bed.

At 3:40, Wilbur jumped out of bed. My eyelids were stuck together. I heard him patter up the corridor and jump into my parents' bed.

At 6:15, my brother came into my room wanting to know what I had done with the dog.

The End.

I'm going back to bed.


vague said...

HA! This is almost exactly what it is like whenever I (rarely) let my dog sleep in my bed. Last time this happened he got up at 6:30 and stood in front of his empty food dish barking up a storm. Also, the dog weighs only about 14 pounds, and yet he manages to take up ALL the space in the bed. How, I ask!

nailpolishblues said...

This very much reminds me of my recent visit to my parents and cat. Only she's a hell of a lot smaller and, for reasons completely unknown to me, finds it appropriate to wake you several times during the night so that you can pat her.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

We tried it again last night, and managed to some sort of amicable arrangement, where I lay down right in the middle of the bed and stayed there stolidly all night. Wilbur managed to squash himself semi-satisfactorily up against the wall.

He doesn't really weigh 146 kg, by the way. That was an unkind calumny. He's actually prime beagle weight.

JahTeh said...

Reading this brought back many unsavoury memories of "the husband" and wonderful memories of that Decree Nisi.

nailpolishblues said...

Cats are not known for being beagle sized. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how a cat can take up a full half of a queen sized bed. A small cat.

ThirdCat said...

We had to find a new home for our beagle a few weeks ago, and it made my cry, but I was pretty pleased he was going to one of those homes where they let their beagles sleep on the human bed (not that I ever did, because they are kind of enormous when they're asleep).

And reading this has made me all weepy again.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Jahteh, if you were married to Wilbur you'd want it to be for life. Besides his bed-hogging antics, he is one of the gentlest people on earth, with exceptionally nice ears.

Nails, I know. I challenge physics to explain this phenomenon.

Thirdcat, oh, that sounds achy. But it is good he'll be somewhere where he's getting some love. It sounds like you've done the very kindest thing for him you could.

TimT said...

I challenge physics to explain this phenomenon.

According to Einstein's Theory of Felinitivity, e = mc (squared), where

e = size of cat
m = distance of cat from bed
c = speed of light.

According to this theorem, the size of the cat increases in proportion to the square of the speed of light times by the distance of the cat from the bed.

Theoretically, by the time the cat reaches the bed, this cat will have reached an infinite size, and therefore there will be room for a human on the bed. However, in the real world, some room is allowed for experimental error (and/or extraneous humans.)

JahTeh said...

Baron, having seen Wilbur I would joyfully have him in my life forever. I even have a patchwork quilt on which he would be quite comfortable.

A scientist tried to explain to me why a cat with such dainty paws always feels like an elephant when walking over a sleeping body, it's something to do with the ratio of weight to paw region that I never fully understood probably from lack of oxygen because of a cat sleeping on my head.