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Sleeping Dogs

I decided not to call this one “Sleeping With Dogs,” even though that is really what I intend to write about. My two small dogs sleep in my bed. Miles has a dog bed at the foot of my bed, but definitely on it. Rufus, who is a Very Small Animal, wants always to be near a human, and he gets under the covers with me, not infrequently ending up with his chin on the other pillow.

He is a sweet, dear little dog, a cuddler, the one who will curl up with the parents of my piano students on the couch or with anyone at all who visits. Each person thinks they have an amazing special bond with him, but he is just pretty much like this with everybody. During his Grindstone days he found a young guy reading by the creek in one of those low beach chairs. Before I got there, Rufus had gotten on his lap.

Here’s how he was back in the day, in the woods, so full of life that he once chased a coyote all over the place!

Rufus has many health issues, which is why you never hear me mention him on these adventures with Miles. He is too tired to go. Back in the day he could run like a cartoon character with wheels for legs. He was the fierce Alpha, always bossing Miles around and trying to boss others, too. Now he is an old man, and how quickly that happened! He had a hard start to life and then we found each other and he’s had a wonderful life but now he is a tired old man with many problems. He has Addison’s disease, which is a pretty big deal in itself, requiring a shot every month and Prednisone every other day. He has a previously broken leg and back (part of the unknown hard life) and spinal stenosis. So the vet said don’t let him jump off of things!

My son and I put our mattresses and box springs on the floor so Rufus would have less far to go if he tries to jump before we have time to stop him. Because we certainly don’t intend to make him sleep on the floor, all by himself! Sheesh! My chiropractor gave me what I believe was the Stink Eye when I told him about this. “You sleep with your dog?” he asked, putting an unpleasant tone to the word “dog” and intimating that I curl up with him in a dog bed on the floor. I did not mention that there are actually two dogs.

Good vantage point from which to guard the house from intruders. See who’s closest to the door?

Also, Rufus has an enlarged heart and gets fluid on his lungs, so he takes meds for those things, too, one of which is a diuretic. Oh boy. So now, in addition to his nicknames of The Little Man, Little, Ittle (for short), Rufe, Rufle, Rufelly Dufelly, he is sometimes called Mr. PeePee Pants. I think you can guess . . . old man, tired, twice daily diuretic . . . Still, we haven’t kicked him out of our beds. It’s too sweet to have him there.

Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night – Mary Oliver
He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.


I found that when I Googled “pee pads” many such things popped right up! There is a solution for just about anything, I suppose. Or, at least, a coping mechanism, as we all know only too well. Coping mechanisms became our Best Thing last year, if we were lucky. And plucky.

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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