In the few seconds that I was distracted, a certain furry someone sneaked under the bed and fell asleep. As I cluelessly walked past, I found a grouchy terrier affixed to my slipper.
Since Toby has been sleeping in his kennel, we have barely had any run ins like this one, and things are much better between us. I doubt Toby realizes why, but he is a happier, less stressed out pup.
(And yes, I do need my name on the slippers so I can tell mine from Toby’s.)
Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
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Figuring out what has been going on with Toby has turned out to be a painful adventure. For months, my otherwise happy puppy has been attacking me. Every resource I encountered mentioned checking the dog’s thyroid levels because low thyroid in dogs can lead to erratic behaviors. I had Toby checked; no low thyroid.
During the attacks, it were as if Toby were asleep. Sometimes he would “wake up” in the middle and looked confused or embarrassed about what was going on.
I think I may have finally figured out what is happening with Toby: Sleep Startle Reflex. Older dogs, deaf dogs – and for some reason greyhounds – tend to have this most often, but any dog can. Basically it is an old survival instinct where if anything – any little thing – happens near the sleeping dog it will attack instantly without even waking up. I don’t even need to touch Toby but make a noise near him and he will come running to growl at and bite me.
What made the condition even harder to pinpoint was that the attacks only happened in the evening or at night not during the day even though Toby sleeps at all of those times. Turns out that the SSR is only triggered during REM sleep. In the afternoons, Toby is merely napping, so he doesn’t dream then.
It felt good to find out that nothing is really “wrong” with my boy; he is just a sleepwalker…..er, sleep attacker. Experts recommend not punishing or yelling at your dog because he is unaware of what he is doing. To him, he just wakes up and everyone is mad at him. It is recommended that you put your furry attacker in a quiet room at night and block it off so that no one disturbs him. Little Toby’s heart has been breaking because I have been having him sleep in his kennel and not in the laundry. I feel awful that he can’t sleep in the bedroom with me, but this room is so small I can’t fit his kennel inside.
Maybe this will be incentive to get rid of some stuff so my puppy can toot contentedly beside me in his sleep.
I hate this kennel. I wanna come back and sleep in the laundry.
Dirty laundry – the bed of the gods.
Come see what Bitey and Super Sleep-Bitey (otherwise known as Toby) have been up to, pick up a copy of Bitey Dog and Toby in Dream Our World! Inside the boys view the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.
This “traveling between the worlds” business takes some getting used to. At this time of year, it is pretty much impossible to get bird or butterfly bodies to borrow since they don’t function well in the cold. Instead I have been reduced to using ticks.
One fine day last week, I craftily tiptoed onto Toby’s leg as he was walking through some leaves. Without him even being aware, I crawled up to his collar and latched onto his neck. It was kind of gross, but I always wanted to be able to bite him and get away with it. Sadly, before I could complete my mission, Mom found me and flushed me down the toilet.
Back I came…making the slow climb up Toby’s unreasonably tall body. I was too tired from my last trip I to go all the way up to his neck, so decided to bite him on the arm instead. This time I was able to accomplish more of my goal, and I transmitted my essence into Toby before Mom could flush me. It was like a Vulcan Mind Meld but with tick spit.
From then on, Toby and I became the same being. We are a perfect blend of our two personalities. He has started doing things that I used to do – things that he never saw, but now he knows intimately. He is also still the impish little rascal he has always been – the little boy who likes ear scratches and hugs.
When Toby and I lived together, he liked to sleep in his kennel while I preferred to sleep in Mom’s room. As soon as I left, Toby took my spot. He doesn’t know how happy it makes Mom to have him there. I do. That’s why I told him to do it.
I had to do a double take the other day. Geordie was sleeping near the window, and Geordie was sleeping in his bed. Wait, what?
While this is Geordie’s bed, the usurping Toby likes to make it his own whenever he gets the chance. Sometimes Geordie will cry until the little one leaves. Sometimes he gives up and sleeps outside the door. One time he tried to paw the puppy out.
I don’t know if Toby feels safer sleeping in his big brother’s bed or if he just likes to put his stank on the blankets so that Geordie can never escape him. Either way, it is adorable.
When Bitey was little, this was his favorite hiding space…until he got too big and needed help getting back out. Wasn’t he an adorable itty bitty beast?
In instances like these, I try to envision non-linear time. What might it be like to have your little dog with you as a puppy and a senior and every step in between simultaneously? I suppose we have that with memory, but to us the points of time don’t fall together but are strung apart. I imagine that in the world beyond this one, time is non-linear.
I guess we won’t need Flashback Fridays then! : – )
I was looking for a photo today when I stumbled across this picture of itty bitty, teeny tiny Bitey. Sometimes it is hard to believe he was really that little puppy. Back then he didn’t like to go to sleep without his toys around him.
What you can’t see in this picture is that I used to put his brush on top of his kennel so that he couldn’t get to it and chew on it. He managed to thwart me by jiggling the kennel until the handle fell through the bars then attacking the brush from the inside.
Why do pups only solve problems for evil and not for good?
It was an exhausting but wonderful day! Mom took me out on the 50′ leash, and I ran and swam and played like a puppy. I dove and rolled and took snow baths. I dug tunnels and hunted for voles and leaped for snowflakes. When I was done, I plunked my butt down in the snow for a refreshing sit. Ahh, it was heaven. Sure I had to get de-snowballed, but it was worth it.
After all of that play, I needed a nap somewhere quiet (where that usurping little brother of mine couldn’t find me), so I crept off to the dirty laundry for some serious sleep.
Mommy says: Since Geordie has come along, I haven’t been able to use a hamper or a laundry bag. I end up with the dirty clothes in a pile so that Geordie can sleep in them. I have tried giving him soft, pretty blankets and beds, but all he wants is stinky clothes. A messy corner is a small price to pay for a happy pup!
These memories are for when I look back and try to recall what Toby did at which stages of development.
During his first week….
I had to add water to Toby’s kibble because he was too little to eat the chunks when they were dry.
Toby didn’t know how to shake. First he would shake the back end, then the front end. He didn’t know how to shake them together to properly fluff his fur.
At first, Toby was too tiny to make the first step out of the front door, so I would carry him. One time, I was carrying him inside my coat for the five steps from the front door to the snow when he just conked out. I couldn’t bring myself to wake him, so I just stood there with the puppy tucked in my coat. Toby was too tiny to see, and as people drove past, they gave me the strangest looks. (“Look at the odd woman standing in the yard looking at her coat!”)
Geordie wasn’t a happy camper because he had to wait inside.