I do not sleep alone. This is not a confession that I have acquired a bidie-in. Each night a small procession goes up the stairs. Senior dog, junior dog, and me. In this order it is quite a quiet procession. On the odd occasion that it goes junior dog, senior dog, me, then it is much noisier, since a sense of danger and achievement spurs junior dog on to an awful lot of noise, and a sense of being displaced spurs senior dog on to even more.
Then we get to the bedroom and I get into bed. Probably, senior dog, blessed with a thick pelt, gets on the bed, and junior dog who feels the cold, also gets into bed, and out, and in, and out, and in and turns round and round and, yes, finally settles and I can take up a book for the few paragraphs before my eyelids start to sag.
And then, and then, we all re arrange ourselves into a jig saw, jockeying for space. Dogs press back, stretch out, I shove back, even kick a little, or subtly encroach a limb, nudge a knee. They are not small dogs, and indeed junior dog is often greeted by cries of ‘My goodness, he’s BIG.’
And this sounds most uncomfortable. But it is not, it is the opposite. It is comforting. In the end, a warm companionable huddle is reached. The pack leader in the centre, safe, and the members all in touch. For a few moments we enjoy the gentle free fall of utter safety. Then we wake up to the dawn in totally different positions to those in which we drifted off. Refreshed. Undisturbed.