07 August 2008

In the bedroom

I see that Lesley and Joe of Caxton are sensible enough to have their doggie boudoir downstairs. As you may have read elsewhere, our five have made themselves at home in our bedroom. Well, we are the Seven Musketeers – one for all, all for one, where you go, we’ll go, what’s yours is ours, now shove over. I know some people may be aghast at this but that’s just greyhounds and their soppy owners for you. But there is a certain order and routine about bedtime.

When we say it’s time for bed, they go upstairs, Miffy and Monty leading the way and getting pole position on the dog duvets. Susie, Arthur and Ranger will wait outside the bathroom, Ranger immediately following me to bed when I appear and Arthur succumbing to some encouragement up the bum to get up and do the same. Susie will come up when it suits her, usually a couple of minutes after the rest. It’s only then that the bedroom door is shut to prevent any nocturnal wanderings.

Susie as pack leader is allowed to sleep on the bed and takes up station against the footboard. Ranger is always on the side of the bed nearest the door, Arthur and Miffy in the narrow gap between the bed and the wall. It’s Monty who is the joker in the pack. Sometimes he’s quite happy to lie down next to Ranger except Ranger will invariably growl at him, sending him round to Miffy and Arthur to see if there’s any room at the inn. If there isn’t, he starts squeaking and if I can’t be bothered to get up and forcibly make room for him, I elect instead to encourage him to get up alongside his daddy. So quite often A is to be found with a great big wolf sharing his pillow. But he – Monty - never stops there all night, jumping off at some point and finding a spot of his own. And that’s that until the alarm goes off. If after this point I make any sort of movement at all, like turning over, then Ranger is immediately up in my face, supplementing Sarah Kennedy with some barking. For some people, the barking would be preferable...Unwilling to get up just at this point I tell him to go and lie down, which he dutifully does. I snooze for a few more minutes, turn over again and then he’s at me again, this time with hot breath and kisses. Surely it should be my husband doing that? We go through the same routine three or four times each morning until my need for a cup of tea is too great and I get up.

Now, bearing in mind that I am just three feet away from the bedroom door and my dogs, to all intents and purposes are asleep, with the exception of Ranger, how come I can never get out of the room without being smothered by eager doggie faces with paws clawing at my bare legs and barks of joy bursting my ear drums? This is invariably my fate with the three boys leading the charge – Miffy is more interested in being let out, with her paw gently scraping at the door, and Susie couldn’t care less as she is still fast asleep. When the door is finally opened, Miffy and Ranger charge down the stairs, Miffy to go outside for a wee and Ranger to see if there’s anything left in last night’s dinner bowls. Arthur, who at this juncture has the demeanour of a dog with a full bladder, never actually goes outside but just sphinxes on the landing. Monty sometimes hops ups next to sleeping daddy again but always hops off again if he hears me coming. Most of the time, he will also be taking his ease on the landing.

While tea is made, I usually have Ranger circling for any stray crumbs and when I take the tea up to A he always charges past me and leaps up onto the bed. He will then lie down for cuddles while we’re sipping tea and dunking biscuits, where he will frequently be joined by Miffy who does a nice line in dog agility. We can hear her tearing up the stairs, and with a smart 60 degree turn into the bedroom, she throws herself onto the bed next to Ranger. As soon as I signal to her to get down, she instantly drops flat on the duvet, sheepdog style. Mind you, this is the only time she’ll do it. At other times, she just gives me the canine equivalent of the finger. So it’s all very cuddly and fun for ten minutes or so and when we eventually get up and go to the bathroom, the dogs all come and wait patiently outside. They know that if mum and dad come out properly dressed, it’s walks on. We know that if we come out properly dressed, it’s madness as they’re all full of it.

I’m amazed that I’ve never tumbled down the stairs the amount of pushing and barging that goes on and when I pick up the leads, the frenzy reaches fever pitch. However they have to wait until they are calm before their leads are put on, just so that I have the feeling that I have some sort of control over them. The walks, by comparison, are tame, placid and orderly affairs but I wouldn’t swap the morning madness for the world. That dogs should experience such joy and fun and excitement in their retirement is something to celebrate, not censure. Obviously, if there is any kicking off before the alarm (and it has been known), I’ll all for censuring and they can bloody well bugger off.


Anonymous said...

When I'm feeling melancholy I worry about how the dogs would cope if they had to go to another home. Would a new owner give Blue the half pint of milk that he always has before going to bed? Would they realise that Lou likes a morning lie-in and has very long-range bladder? I was reassured by your post - all greyhound owners are obviously as soppy as each other!
Sue,Indigo Dream
ps. Ours sleep in the bedroom as well - feels nice to have the pack all together and if the house catches fire we're all in once place for a rescue! They don't share the bed though - we're big people and there really wouldn't be enough room!

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Don't let my lot hear about Blue's half pint - they'll be putting their orders in for Gold Top!