One difference between dogs and people–or at least, well-adjusted people who have social skills–is that dogs have absolutely no qualms about staring at you.
They stare at you when they’re alarmed because you’re banging a bag of ice against the kitchen floor. They stare at you when they’re perplexed because you’re suddenly carrying toys they like to play with out of the house and putting them in the trunk of your Volkswagon. And they stare at you when they really, really don’t want you to put that dress on and leave the house because they still don’t fully trust that you’ll ever come home despite the fact that every time you’ve ever left before, you have.
And yes: they stare at you when they would much prefer to be sleeping in your bed, thanks.
And so, it’s official: Bonita and I are sleeping together.
First the nice and very reasonable-seeming people at Animal Humane told me it was a bad idea because she wouldn’t respect my authority. Then my mother told me it was a bad idea because I don’t sleep.
“You have insomnia, remember?” she said over the phone. “The last thing you need is something else to keep you awake.”
I’m terrible at making decisions, so when others make them for me–sometimes I accept. I placed Bonita on the chair beside my bed to spend the night.
“That looks small,” my father observed when I sent photos of her all curled up. “Does she need a bed?”
“If you want to spoil her like you spoil your other grandchildren…” was my reply. I aborted my own doggie bed search and kept her on the chair until the L.L. Bean box arrived containing her monogrammed, loden-colored gift.
Of course, by then she had adjusted to the chair–and every time I put her on it she stared at me, ears perked and head tilted, the way you might if I asked you, for no evident reason, to stand on a coffee table.
I thought taking her with me to Taos would be the perfect opportunity to get her accustomed. I packed her new bed with us and placed it at the foot of mine in our pet-friendly Sagebrush Inn hotel room. Instead she sprawled herself up on the crumpled pile of fallen blankets right beside it. She looked at me. By the second night, we were spooning.
And sure enough, our first night back in Albuquerque, she tried her luck at hopping up with me. And, whaddya know, I didn’t have the heart to turn her down. (That stare–I’m telling you.)
Frankly, I didn’t particularly want to either. I’ve been sleeping fine, actually, and quite enjoying the presence of something warm, soft and breathing in bed beside me.
I like companionship. Isn’t that why I got a dog?