Our house does not have air conditioning, the most we have is an open window. Therefore on hot summer nights, there is no relief which results in very little sleep for me. I just can’t sleep when I am overheated and the dogs have the same problem. We all seem to spend a good deal of the night in the backyard to escape the heat of the house.
Last night, however, it was cool enough to sleep for the first time this year. I got an amazing 5 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It was pure heaven. The dogs even stayed asleep until 4am this morning. Before you all think that I have the worst behaved dogs in the world, I should let you know you that Rory has urinary incontinence. The medication stops her from leaking in her sleep (most of the time), but my poor little beagle girl just can’t hold her bladder overnight. So we have at least one bathroom break per night – usually around 3am. On hot nights, because she has to drink more to stay hydrate, those bathroom break increase to 2 or 3 times a night.
Now I know what you are all thinking – ‘for god sake’s woman, put the dogs outside and get a decent night’s sleep’. Unfortunately, our neighbourhood is full of feral cats – most of whom like to congregate in the backyard of the house behind us. Therefore dogs outside at night + feral cats just over the back fence = barking dogs and unhappy neighbours. Therefore, the dogs sleep inside and the neighbours don’t complain. Also, my dogs regard sleeping in the same room as the humans as quality time spent with the humans, especially Rory. Rory was our first dog and thus as the first (and smallest) dog, she gets the privilege of sleeping in the bed with the humans – there is just no room for two humans, one beagle and one German shepherd. If Rory feels like she hasn’t seen enough of you lately, she will nestle right up against your legs and try to ensure that every possible inch of her body is touching yours. On cold winter nights, she is like a furry hot water bottle. As much as I complain about her ability to take up the entire bed, I love sleeping with my beagle. Before you all start thinking that poor Caleb is neglected, he has a big plushy dog bed in the corner of the room and he is allowed to climb into bed in the mornings to snuggle with everyone. Caleb sometimes has a weird idea of when morning actually is and has been known to attempt to climb into bed around 4am. He also loves to spend warm nights lying alongside my side of the bed which is next to the window.
I think that by sleeping in the same room together it helps increase the human-dog bond. The dogs really seem to love sleeping with us . We actually have a bedtime ritual that gets the dogs settled and ready to sleep. It involves the dogs being roused from their evening lounging positions – usually on the couch and going out to the bathroom. Liver treats are collected when the back door is locked up for the evening and the dogs sit beautifully in the bedroom and do tricks for their treats. After the treats are given, the dogs decide where they want to sleep for the night, settle down and snooze. We have no trouble getting them into the bedroom and ready for bed, in fact they are usually the ones who tell us when it is time for bed.
I am hoping that the worst of the hot summer nights is over (though I doubt it) as the dogs and I really do love our sleep.