THREE LITTLE SCALLYWAGS
Bedtime, and I can barely keep my eyes open.
I look forward to sinking into the luxurious coziness of the bed for a good night’s peaceful sleep.
But wait! Caught up in my book, I have quite forgotten. Tonight I have to share the bed with three Yorkshire terriers – Eddie, Mikey and Molly.
Their ‘parents’ are away (probably sound asleep and having sweet dreams right about now). I am convinced that these dogs consider themselves to be miniature human beings with absolute authority to run my life. God created me, at least in their minds, merely for their comfort and convenience.
Unlike many Yorkies, these three are rather large, and somewhat heavier than most of their breed. The bed is huge in comparison to my own which, by the way, I do not have to share. But don’t suppose that Eddie, Mikey and Molly will claim their three-quarters of the bed that I don’t use. Never! Going to bed becomes a game of chance where the quickest one wins the best spot. But I refuse to be out-manoeuvred by three little scallywags.
I dive in, holding the sheets up high to guarantee my share while I wriggle into as comfortable a position as possible in the circumstances. Nimbly–if I can truthfully say at sixty-something that I am nimble–I stretch over and tap the bedside lamp to turn it off, then pull the blankets around me in one swift movement trying desperately to cover myself before the onslaught. If I don’t get it right the first time, I’ll be wrapped tight like an Egyptian mummy for the rest of the night. Finally, flat on my back, pillows under my knees and covers pulled up under my chin, I spread my arms out in self defense. If I don’t, the dogs will sleep on them. You can imagine what follows if that happens–my arms will go to sleep with the dogs while I lay awake wondering how long it will take to get to sleep. Are You trying to teach me something, Lord?
The dogs take their places as close to my body as possible. Eddie is tucked under my left armpit with his head on my shoulder. Mikey curls up with my right arm circled around him as I try to keep him from falling off the edge of the bed. Molly is plastered against my left hip right below Eddie. I’m glad they seem to be comfortable, because I’m sure not. Hopefully I can get a little sleep now they are settled.
Then it starts. First one, then another, then all three decide it’s bath time. Slurp, slurp, slurp! They are in rhythm. Slurp, slurp!
With each lick the bed bounces. This ritual is accompanied by the strangest-sounding grunts, groans and grumbles. Perhaps the sound effects will help make it a quicker transition into the sleep mode–for the dogs and for me. “Settle down.” I speak quietly as I try to keep my composure. Lord, give me grace. Slurp, slurp, slurp! “Settle down!” I exclaim with more emphasis. The slurping persists, and my patience threatens to vanish. Eventually they stop, but not because of anything I said. They have simply finished their bath and are ready now to sleep. Thank You, Lord. Now I lay me down to sleep…
Ah, this is more like it! The room is a little chilly, so their warm bodies are welcome even if I have little chance to change position. Silence reigns outside. I love the dark stillness of night in the country. I relax, waiting for sleep to overcome my tired body.
I am just beginning to doze when Mikey takes a notion to change places. He stomps across my stomach, digging his feet into all the soft spots. “Ouch! That hurts!” Taking no heed at all of the impact he has made on my insides, he walks between Eddie and Molly over to the far side of the bed, jumps to the floor with a loud thump and patters around to the foot of the bed. After leaping onto the bench, he jumps back up on the bed, marches awkwardly across my legs and up my right side only to flop down heavily in the exact location he abandoned just moments ago. Why? I ask myself while knowing perfectly well I will never know. Mikey is settled once again. Please, Lord, I’m desperate for sleep!
But sleep is not to be mine tonight. Now Eddie jumps down with an equally loud thud and begins to scratch the carpet with his hind feet. I am determined to ignore him, but he is equally determined not be ignored. Soon he starts bumping against the gate placed across the doorway to keep the dogs in the bedroom and, hopefully, out of trouble. I continue to disregard him. Then the snorting starts. I simply can’t ignore him any longer. I have just lost the battle of wills to a little rascal of a Yorkie who has outsmarted me once again. Oh, dear, I might as well get up and let him out, even though I am convinced from past experience that he only wants to see what’s happening out in the yard.
Mikey joins Eddie on the floor in a barking match. As soon as I begin to move the gate out of the doorway, they squeeze through, falling over each other to get out. They make a dash down the hall, fly over the steps and arrive in the kitchen dancing around as they continue to bark. It sounds like a mad dog fight. How can such small creatures make that much noise? It’s even more astonishing how they can exude so much energy in the middle of the night. I am scarcely functioning mentally, never mind physically! The door is barely open and Eddie squeezes his way out. Mikey is now silent and just stands there staring at me. “Go on out, Mikey!” Still he stares. I shake my head. What am I supposed to do now? He refuses to go out, so I lean against the stove with my eyes only half open and wait for Eddie to explore the yard before he comes back in. In the meantime, Molly has quietly taken possession of my small share of the bed. Lord, is this what You call a test of faith?
The race is on back up to the bedroom. I trail far behind. I arrive to find all three dogs on top of the covers in the very place where, in a perfect life, I should be sleeping soundly. It is 2:00 a.m., and the ritual starts over as I attempt to reclaim my part of the bed. I have executed a successful maneuver, and compose myself to wait for sleep to come. A furry head is now neatly tucked into my neck. How can you not love something that wants to be that close to you?
It’s morning already. I’ve had only dozed for a couple of hours. What I wouldn’t give for a few hours of uninterrupted deep sleep! But it’s 8:00 a.m., time for the dogs’ breakfast. I reluctantly crawl out of bed to feed the wee beasties. Did I actually say that I love these creatures? I never had children to keep me up all night, but now I have dogs, and they are not even mine! Lord why now? I’m getting too old for this.
Eddie and Mikey tumble over one another again, in an attempt to exit the bedroom. The barking is underway. “Come on, Molly.” No response. “Molly, let’s go!” Still nothing. She is the only one of us who sleeps all night and is still too lazy to get up in the morning. “Molly!” Slowly she gets up, stretches, ambles over to the end of the bed and jumps down. By the time I get the back door open, all three dogs are so close to each other that they go out in one confused bundle–a very noisy bundle. Molly now, with her high-pitched screeching, accompanies the other two in a trio loud enough to wake the dead. I pity the neighbours!
Food in their dishes, water bowls replenished, it is now time for the battle. Lord, have mercy! Eddie wants not only his own breakfast but Mikey’s and Molly’s as well. There is growling; there is barking; there is gnashing of teeth. I shout at Eddy though I don’t know why. It’s useless to interfere–I am always the loser and take the chance of leaving with battle scars if I insist on playing referee. So I stumble upstairs, fall back into bed and leave them to fend for themselves. Lord, if this is a test for patience, I think I failed. Are You keeping score?
Alone at last! Comfortable and cozy again, I’m ready to doze off when I hear it–a quiet whimper at first, then the volume moves up a notch. It gradually builds in pitch until it is a shrill scream. I had better come to terms with it now, before it gets completely out of control. It’s Eddie. He hates to be left alone. From past experience, I know he will keep up this pitiful shrieking until I let him in. He won’t let up until I get up, so–I give up! And thus begins another day with three Yorkshire terriers named Eddie, Mikey and Molly.
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