If You Lie Down With Dogs . . .
I grew up in a house where the dogs slept in the bed with my folks, period. There was never any discussion about it. I didn’t even know there were other options until I was older. When I found out there were people with dogs who DIDN’T have them sleep in bed with them, I wondered what was wrong with those people. Why have a dog if it didn’t sleep with you? That’s like, eight hours of “dog-time” down the drain. What a waste. Weirdos.
Fortunately, my mind expanded a bit as I got older, and I began to understand why people might not want to share their beds with their canines. Dogs aren’t always the cleanest of animals, and if you think mom screeches when Mr. Puppy-head gets mud on the floor, you should HEAR the noise she makes when he gets it all over the bed. Plus, even if they are clean and pristine, most dogs shed.
As I got even older (considering I’m only on the cusp of 30 here, imagine what wonders I’ll know by the time I’m 60), I learned about even more reasons to not have the pets in the bed–potentially disgusting reasons. I mean, animals don’t have access to soap and little bidets and they LOVE to get into bacterially disgusting things–dead things even–and, well, you get the idea.
Let us not even SPEAK of the child safety course I went to when I was pregnant. That class’s response to the subject was, “If the baby is going to be on it EVER, then the pets can be on it NEVER.” I’m pretty sure the lady who ran that class would have happily told everyone to just get rid of their pets if she thought she could have gotten away with it.
Yet I constantly read articles about how good having pets can be for us and for our kids, and I just shake my head. What’s a dog-owner to do?
When I first got Loki, she slept in a crate with old towels. Puppies are cute little furballs with lots of teeth, a hardcore desire for destruction, and untrained bladders, so you can bet that’s where she slept.
As Loki got older, I thought not letting her sleep in the bed was the “right” thing to do. I got her a cushy little doggy bed, put it where her crate used to be (she never really took to the crate like I’ve seen other dogs do), and let her snooze on that.
And then my husband went out of town and I got lonely. And that “right” idea I got from goodness only knows where fell out of my brain . . . until he got back. But it was too late then. Expecting to sleep on the bed, Loki would come over to my side of the bed and chuff and bounce at me. AND SHE WAS REALLY CUTE AND I’M A TOTAL SAP.
Aaaaaaaand then I got pregnant and went to the “pets will kill your baby and probably you too” class.
So when the baby was, well, a BABY, I did keep the dogs off the bed and away from the co-sleeper. (I could just SEE Loki crawling in there, because she is that kind of dog who declares all comfy containers as hers, regardless of the tiny human who may or may not currently be sleeping in said container–and that is 30+ pounds of corgi we’re talking about.)
But the baby got older and moved to his crib. And my husband went out of town again. And Loki had apparently not forgotten how to bounce and chuff in an adorable fashion. AND I’M EVEN MORE OF A SAP SINCE I HAD A KID.
After agonizing for at least a week over my failure of allowing the corgi back in the bed, I talked to my dog-trainer friend. Do you know what she told me? “My dogs sleep in bed with me. Heck, one of them likes to sleep practically on my head. It’s fine; what’s your problem?”
So Loki sleeps on the bed, and I stopped worrying.
Disclaimer: Do I think poorly of you and your pet-owner skills if you don’t let your dog sleep on your bed? No. Do I think letting a pet sleep in bed with you is the super, best, 100% awesomest thing to do ever? No. Do I do what’s best for me and mine and expect you to do the same? BINGO.