Thursday, January 26, 2012

Three Dog Night

I stand outside in my pjs, shivering in the drizzling rain as I wait for Petey to find that elusive spot to do his business. He sniffs and spins and sniffs some more, then stumbles off to find a better biffy. Apparently, the sparsely grassed mudpuddle that I call a back yard contains very few canine toilets – finding an available spot to relieve himself is as much of a challenge for Petey as it is for a woman to find an available cubicle during intermission at the theatre.

Eddie:  What's the matter with that spot, little buddy?
Petey:  Eewwww!  It smells wrong - it isn't the right spot AT ALL!  Don't you
know nuthin'???

Waiting for Petey to find just he right spot is a ritual which occurs many times a day. I don't really mind when the sun is shining and the grass is dry, but in the pouring rain it becomes an issue. For one thing, Sadie and Eddie wouldn't think of letting Petey go outside alone, so every trip outside means twelve muddy paws to wipe. Times that by about ten trips in a twenty four hour period and that's - let's see - 120 muddy paws. No wonder I'm so tired.

But that's not the only - or even the main - reason I'm feeling tired these days. It's not the frequent trips outside with leaky old dogs that is the problem; it's the lack of sleep. And for that I am also blaming the dogs.

I don’t do well with a lack of sleep, especially if I am woken several times. Early bedtimes are not an option – Sadie has to be fed around 11:00 PM or she will be in a state of collapse when I get up in the morning.

Petey sleeps beside me on the bed – if I try to leave him in his basket or crate on the floor, he awakes just as I doze off and begins to wander about barking incessantly until I fetch him. Once snuggled tightly beside me on the bed, however, he sleeps like a log. Unfortunately, I am always concerned he MAY wake up and wander off the edge of the bed, breaking his scrawny little legs. So he may sleep like a log, but I sleep like the mama of a brand new baby – very lightly.

Sadie climbs up on the bed for a cuddle each night, but as soon as I turn off the light, she wants to climb down – which she has trouble doing in the dark. Light on, Sadie stays, light off, Sadie wants down. I have resorted to a nightlight to illuminate her steps without playing fast-and-loose with the lamp, but it interferes with my sleep. I like a completely dark room.

Whaaat?  Ya expect me to break MY scrawny little legs?  Old dogs can't see
very well in the dark, y'know!

But that’s not all. Because Sadie’s meds for insulinoma make her pee, Sadie needs out at least once in the night, usually around three AM. Sadie needing out means four things: I have to untangle and detach myself from the CPAP machine that keeps me breathing so my sleep apnea doesn’t snuff the life out of me; Eddie will also want out even though he doesn’t need it; Petey will have to be woken up since he can’t be left unattended on the bed lest he sense I am gone and try to find me (see earlier comment re breaking scrawny legs), and twelve muddy paws will need wiping. By the time all that has occurred, and I’ve climbed back into bed and reattached myself to my breathing machine, I’m wide awake, staring at the ceiling and the glowing red numbers of the digital clock.

While Petey would happily stay snuggled in bed with me until noon, Eddie is an early morning person. Regardless of how many times we are up in the night, his inner clock tells him when it is time to wake up the household and to order the chef to prepare breakfast. He bounces over to the side of my bed, and pogosticks up and down, up and down, all to the accompaniment of his squeaky debarked vocalizations.

Every dog needs a job, y'know!  Mine is to make sure everyone
is up at the crack of dawn!

I drag my tired butt out of bed, wake up Petey, and traipse outside with all three dogs before the chef in me can even think of canine breakfasts, let alone prepare and consume any strong, hot coffee. It is six AM, and I have had perhaps four or five hours of broken sleep.

And once again I stand outside in my pjs, shivering in the drizzling rain as I wait for Petey to find that elusive spot to do his business.

Yeah, but ah'm worth waitin' for!


charlene straw said...

ahhh that was a fab story today, i love getting on the computer each day to see what you lot might get up to next :)

georgia little pea said...

Jean, you need to get some sleep.

I know Sadie's night feed is essential but does it have to be at 11? Couldn't everything move down by an hour? That means getting up earlier, but you're already up anyway, by the sounds of it, thanks to Eddie!

Dogs with incontinence are tough. Does Petey use diapers? I would just take Petey out for his pee and close the door behind me so Sadie and Eddie can't get out as well. 12 muddy paws in the middle of a muddy night is no fun. [Been there done that, but with only 4 paws since neither Jordan nor Georgia would dream of dragging themselves out of bed and going out into the rain to watch Rufus pee.]

YOU POOR THING. I hope you manage to get some shuteye in the daytime at least. The Other Half also sleeps with a c-pap and can't get proper sleep even with it on.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. Lack of sleep is not good for us humans. You're juggling some specific pet needs that are making your life less than pleasant right now.

Just an idea - but I got rid of the bed frame (or whatever you call that metal thing that makes your bed high off the floor) a couple of years ago so Crystal could still get up on my bed if she wanted. And even after Crystal passed on, I left it that way. It looks quite European, I have lovely bedding and it's just lower than most folks have. This could solve both the Sadie and Petey issues about potentially hurting themselves and jumping off your high bed in the dark?

And I'm just wondering if little old Petey has staff (you!) for the first time in his life, and gets lots of outings, so is taking his time? Taleah used to pee/poop the second I got her out onto the boulevard when I first had her, now that she knows she gets lots of walks, she is into "sniffing" and "choosing" and "taking her time". Makes me crazy some days. :-)


Anonymous said...

Jean sounds like it is time to start an afternoon nap routine.
Mine sleep like logs through the night, me not so much and they love it if I take an afternoon nap. all except Hugo climb on the bed to join me.


Jean said...

GLP, 6-7 hours is the maximum Sadie can manage without a feeding at night time, so last feeding at 11 lets me sleep until 5:30 or 6 (when Eddie wakes me). Even at that, she is sometimes already showing signs of collapse.
Petey isn't incontinent, but more like a puppy who needs to go pee as soon as he wakes from a nap, eats, or plays. Sadie, on prednisone, is needing to go frequently and just had her first incontinent accident (while she slept) yesterday. I can't imagine Sadie being okay with diapers - she is very upset if she doesn't get outside to do her business - though they might solve a Petey problem for when I am away from the house.

Sharon, I thought about getting rid of the bedframe, but the bed would still be 26" high (it's one of those xtra-deep box springs and mattresses)which is too high for Petey. Sadie climbs up and down via a set of dogsteps and a cedar chest at the foot of my bed in the daytime, so it isn't the height but the darkness that makes her unwilling to go down them at night - I assume the same would be true even if the bed was lower!

Else: afternoon naps are becoming a bit of a ritual here, but they don't work well for me because most of my commitments are in the afternoons. Somehow I think the theatre would frown on their volunteer usher snoring during the performance!

Thanks for the ideas though.....we shall get through that Charley is gone, I have removed some of the carpets in my house, so there is a bit less to pee on when accidents happen. Apparently, however, laminate is not as nice a toilet as carpet. :(

georgia little pea said...

Sadie's feeding schedule is even more stringent than Rufus's! He had 5 feeds a day too but there was no 6 hourly collapse involved. Tough one.

Just a last thought and don't laugh - a giant kitty litter box might work, for Petey especially. When Rufus had his big leg op and couldn't climb up to our courtyard, we sealed off an area next to the house, filled it with about 4 inches of pine bark and pebbles and he used this for quite a few months until he was able to walk again. The "box" was built over a drain (pre-meshed) so that it could be hosed down every day. If you had such an area, you could at least avoid having 12 muddy paws in the night ;)

I was about to say "futon" but if Sadie's issue is light rather than height, that wouldn't work either. Anyway, you might have problems going down?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jean,
My sister SWEARS by having a doggy door.
I know ... even that may not solve the current dilemma with three different dogs/sets of special needs etc.
I always really enjoy reading your blog
stay well,

Jean said...

Wendy, I have a cat - indoor only, where she is safe. Unfortunately, doggy doors don't stop a cat from running out of the house. Nor do they stop dogs from tracking a ton and a half of mud back into the house, over the carpets, and onto the furniture. I've never quite understood the logic of them unless one keeps one's dog locked in the room with access to the door and seperated from the rest of the household.
The neighbours have one and their THREE VERY BARKY dogs are constantly tearing outside at the slightest noise in the neighbourhood - another reason not to use dog doors.