By Tracy Ahrens
My first dog––a Brittany Spaniel named Speckles––knew my routine when it came to daily activities. He always reacted specifically for each one. For example, I’d brush my teeth in the evening and he knew I was going to be heading to bed shortly after. He would stand in the bathroom doorway to see what I was doing and then walk slowly to his crate where he nested for the night.
My cat Forest is like an alarm clock. He knows that when the sun starts to rise my alarm clock is about to ring. He will jump onto my bed and hop back and forth over my head while I’m sleeping. When that doesn’t work to make me raise, he sits beside my head and stares at my face waiting for one of my eyelids to twitch. Then, he starts to nibble on my ears, lick my face, and pull at my hair with his front teeth.
An acquaintance told me that her two cats know the drill when she’s ready for bed. As she exits her bathroom at night she’ll holler out, “Ok, it’s beds times!” and her two cats “gallop” into her bedroom and position themselves in specific spots on her bed.
Each time I prepare to leave my house, Trucker, my 60-pound dog, tucks his tail between his back legs and walks to his bed in the living room. There he lies down waiting for me to give him a treat and kiss him on the top of his nose before I say “I love you” and depart.
Trucker recently initiated his latest routine, and it leaves me speechless:
As I brush my teeth at night, Trucker stands outside of the bathroom doorway and watches me. Before I finish, I see him leisurely climb the stairs to my bedroom and disappear. When I get to the top of the stairs I find him in my bed with the covers and top sheet pulled back. He is usually curled up on the sheet waiting for me.
At first I laughed at him and thought, “How the heck did he know to do this?” and, “Did he do this for me?”
Obviously he has studied my behavior and knows that I pull back the blankets and sheet before I snuggle into bed. Usually he hops up beside me to lie down and I cover him up with a fleece throw blanket.
Now, every night as I am brushing my teeth he climbs the stairs to the bedroom. There, I find him in my bed lying on the sheet with all of my covers pulled back. He rakes them back with his front paws and lies down near my pillows, reclining against them. When I try to lie down beside him, he flops onto his side to play “dead” and I have to slide his leggy body over so I can fit in the queen-size bed beside him.
Many times I’ve been so exhausted that I just cover us both up with the top sheet and blankets and we fall asleep together. Of course, he places his head on my spare pillow.
Sometimes he makes my bed for me and then crawls into his bed next to mine.
A friend jokingly asked me if Trucker also places a mint on my pillow before I arrive.
No. But I agree with this friend that Trucker deserves to be comfy in my bed. As my friend said, Trucker spends “a long day watching over his family and worrying about every little thing. Finally he reaches dreamland where visions of endless fields of chewies and cookie treats and rivers of cool, fresh water carry him softly through the night.”
Tracy Ahrens is a veteran journalist, author, artist and mom to three rescued cats and one dog. See her web site at tracyahrens.weebly.com and add her book, “Raising My Furry Children” to your collection, raisingmyfurrychildren.weebly.com