Harley Hay

Hay’s Daze: What’s that in my bed?

I’ve always unashamedly admitted to being a certifiable dog lover. Not just certified, but certifiable. As I have mentioned numerous times, I’ve had at least one best-friend dog or another most of my life and every four-legged tail-wagging canine has made my life infinitely better.

A few years ago when both of our elderly mutts – a happily deranged Shih Tzu named Scamp and a wonderfully cement-headed West Highland White ironically named Scotty – both somehow got old at around the same time and left us alone and lonely in this mortal coil, we were shell-shocked and petless for the first time just about in, well, forever.

And then after a long wait, the universe presented us (well, the Better Half) with a rescue cat in an adoption cage and when the universe meows sometimes you just have to listen. So Chicklet the fluffball diluted calico princess has been ruling the roost around here for several years now, and I’m happy to say she thinks she’s a dog. Rolls over for a belly rub, ventures constantly in and out of the dog door, and naps on my favorite La-Z-Boy chair so that I can’t.

Which brings me to today’s topic. I wonder if you heard about this. A couple of weeks ago a couple in Tennessee woke up to find a dog in their bed. No big deal they thought, after all, they have three dogs and usually one, two or all three of them pile onto the bed. But not this time. The dog snuggled between them sound asleep was in fact a complete stranger. And not a small stranger either. It was a mysterious pitbull Labrador cross weighing in at an impressive 90 pounds. That’s a lot of dog to have in your bed, especially one you’ve never met and one that you’ve been unknowingly spooning with half the night.

So when Jimmy Johnson woke up he couldn’t help but notice a four-legged behemoth snuggled between him and his wife, and once the morning brain fog cleared sufficiently to determine that the dog he was cuddling was not, in fact, any dog he’d ever seen before, well, you can imagine.

After his wife, Julie posted the doggone situation on Facebook it turns out a family about three kilometers away lost their dog the night before when she slipped her collar and ran into the woods. And Jimmy figures he must have left the porch door unlatched when he let out his own dogs that night to do their business.

So it appears that the big girl dog just waltzed in and snuggled in. And when her family came to pick up their pup, it seems she’d bonded with the entire Johnson family, including the three legitimate canines who didn’t seem to mind that this Pit-bra-dor had stolen their spot in bed. But now both families and all four dogs are fast friends.

Our own dogs weren’t strangers, just plain strange. Our first dog, Shirpa, a Lhasa Apso, claimed a spot on the headboard of our waterbed, curling up every night on the shelf just past our pillows, his furry tail hanging in our faces. Scamp would sleep on top of the Better Half’s feet making sure she couldn’t leave, and on cold nights Scotty would burrow under the covers head first and be snoring in one minute flat.

Trouble was, as soon as everyone was soundly asleep that snuffling Westie would suddenly get too hot under there, wake up in a panic and thrash all four feet and eighteen nails in every direction at once like a canine wood chipper.

There was collateral damage but at least we knew who we were sleeping with.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can email him story ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com