November 13, 2013 Dogs Mommy to the Rescue We retired for the night with great expectations. The sheets were just washed and smelling deliciously fresh. I even imagined that they might still be a bit warm from the dryer. It was a silly thought, but I was anticipating a beautiful and restful sleep, and warm sheets would just top it off. The dogs were also squeaky clean–so clean I wanted to bury my nose in their sweet heads and breathe the doggie shampoo aroma. They would be cuddly tonight. It started out well. We retired early; Kerry had not slept well the night before, and he was tired. His sleep had been elusive for a while now, usually interrupted by a stuffy nose or too many dogs crowding him. Even though the dogs always start on my side, they somehow end up socked in with him, keeping him from turning over, heating him like an oven. He hates that. But we all went to sleep–Atticus tucked in my right arm; Dill in my left; Gertie curled at my feet, warming them. Sometime in the wee hours, Atticus Finch got restless. He walked around and whined. “Shhhh!” I stage-whispered. “Don’t wake Daddy! Go back to sleep!” I jerked him under my arm and held him. He whined again then jumped off the bed and stood by the door. The whining increased. I stood and let my brain get oriented to the dark room. I shuffled to the kitchen door and let him outside. I stood in the kitchen and wondered at this change of events; Atticus had never asked to go outdoors during the night. After what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes, he came back to the door. The freezing air blew in with him as he clicked his prissy toenails on the wooden floor and shook with the cold. “Serves you right being cold, you little brat,” I told him, too harshly. By now Gertie was barking loudly in our bed, and Kerry was wide awake, trying to shush her. I cursed the dogs and then myself for letting them in our bed in the first place to wake him up. Then I put Atticus Finch and Gertie onto the doggie bed in our master laundrobath and climbed into the bed. I briefly considered that Atticus would sleep better with Dill; the two usually piled on top of each other. But, I reasoned, why should Dill have to lose his warm and comfortable spot just because the others were rowdy? Big mistake. Atticus Finch whined constantly. I could faintly hear him through the two doors. I buried my ears in the down pillow and drifted off. He woke me up again. Finally I jerked back the covers, picked him up from the bed in the master laundrobath, and plunked him on the bed. Gertie was next. It didn’t matter that Atticus was all vim and vigor as usual when being tossed on the bed; Daddy was wide awake. We soon settled down to our usual spots, and surprisingly, we all went to sleep. Kerry left for work just as daylight pierced through the cracks of the bamboo shades. The dogs rested a little longer and then hopped down, ready for a quick dip outside then more napping. “See, you little urchins,” I scolded them as they came indoors, “You get to go right back to sleep, but Daddy has to go to work. It’s not fair.” Then I glanced down at Atticus’ backside, obvious with his white curly hair and bob tail. He had had trouble pooping. He was a mess. I realized that like our children, our furries need us during the night sometimes too. He was having tummy trouble and didn’t know how to tell me. I didn’t rank too high on the “mommy scale” this time; I was outwardly frustrated with him for keeping me up all night. I’m sure my daughters could say the same when I heard a “Mommy!” in a loud creepy whisper in the middle of the night, their ailing faces inches from my own. I remember being startled awake, frightened, and then annoyed. But then I remember that when they told me they were sick, my real mommy side kicked in, and I cuddled them and loved on them and tucked them in beside me in the bed, afraid I would not hear them if they needed me. The dogs are no exception. After I hang my head with shame for not heeding the cries quickly enough, I push my guilt aside and Mommy comes to the rescue, meds and TLC ablazing.