Where Sleeping Dogs Lie

 Do you sleep with your dog(s)?
The pros and cons of this practice are the subject of lots of blog posts—for example, here, here, and on a post that claims that nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. 
But I’m going to stay neutral and simply share the story of one of my friends, a longtime dog owner, divorced mother, and owner of two female pitbull mixes.
Corinne has been sleeping with her dogs for two decades. Her attachment to her dogs has always been quite extraordinary. In fact, in many ways she prefers the company of dogs to the company of people, and prefers to sleep with them rather than with a human partner.
For 15 years, she had a retriever mix that she described as a “good cuddler.”

“I’d wrap my arms around her and she would make this noise, ‘mmmmm,’ because she was so content and happy. “
When her retriever died, she bought a new puppy, Hazel, a pitbull-French bulldog mix who started sleeping with her immediately. After about a year, she got a second pitbull mix, Ruby.

Nowadays, she sleeps every night with both of them in her double bed, even though they are about 60 pounds each. Corrine is not “germophobic,” so having dogs in her bed does not make her squeamish, and she says she takes care to keep them clean enough to be on the bed. The hardest part of sleeping with them for her is that they are “bed hogs.” Hazel likes to stretch out full length, sometimes crosswise, while Ruby is a curler-upper. Sometimes they wake her up when they hear a cat outside, but for Corrine, the benefits of an occasional sleepless night outweigh the inconveniences.
“I feel like my emotional connection with my dogs is on a par with almost any human connection I have with anybody, including my son. He is already independent of me so my connection to them is much more immediate,” Corrine says.

Strange Bedfellows: Hazel, Corrine, and Ruby

“I think it is weird that there are people who doubt that dogs have emotions, because when a dog cuddles up to you it’s real. Hazel will put her face right on my neck and nuzzle me. To me that’s emotion.”
Corrine says that she can tell, when she volunteers at a shelter, that dogs feel “hurt and betrayal” when they are abandoned by their owners, and can suffer from depression. She feels the closeness from sleeping together gives her dogs security and builds a strong bond.
But what about the things dogs can’t give humans? Intellectual conversation? A hug? Intimacy?
Corrine thinks that many single women (and men) might not find those things anyways. She says many people deeply attached to dogsand she includes herselfare not good at intimate human relationships. Dogs offer a substitute type of intimacy, a “closeness and affection that keeps single [men and] women stable.”

“There are not many humans I’d rather be with than my dogs. True, they can’t give me flowers on Mother’s Day, but they can give me a big wet kisses. I love waking up with them cuddled around my legs, and how in the morning they kiss me and nudge me with their noses. When I open my eyes and see their little faces, I feel peaceful.”

Corrine’s story is probably not unique; any others out there sleeping with their pets?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Where Sleeping Dogs Lie

  1. Sarah Doar says:

    My dog definitely sleeps with me whenever he can. He is very small but still has no qualms about taking a walk all over the bed to find the comfiest spot possible. The bed is a bit high so he needs to take a running leap to get up on it and usually lands somewhere on top of me. I love him sleeping with me but sometimes I'm the one who is uncomfortable because I feel bad shifting to move him!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.