Our cocker spaniel Miss Piggy and I have been engaged in a battle of wits during the pre-dawn hours and even at winner-take-all, it won’t be much of a prize.
For some time now, she has scratched urgently at my side of the bed around 4 AM, telling me she needed to go outside. Why does she not scratch on Dearly Beloved’s side of the bed as she’s always done before? Because no one is home there. He has already outsmarted both of us by moseying into the guest room and closing the door well before 4, probably having been awakened by some crashing noise like the thundering of an eyelash as it falls onto the pillow.
DB’s suggestion to move the dog bed out of the bedroom and shut her out would put the living room rug into jeopardy because I think the old girl really does have to potty. Maybe it’s simply habit now. I say that with some authority as she is training MY bladder to the same routine because I usually head for the bathroom myself, since I’m up anyway.
If she would simply GO and come back quickly, it would be less obnoxious, but noooooooooo, Fatso gets a case of the munchies and wanders around the yard for an hour. For pete’s sake, what can she find out there at that hour? Owl turds?
Now deaf as a post, Miss P wouldn’t hear my whistling to get her back inside even if I knew how to whistle. I have tried turning on the floodlights to get her attention, but she looks up and sees me waving wildly from the deck, then continues her sniff-fest. Oddly enough, she has no interest in this during the daylight hours. It is strictly a nocturnal adventure.
I’ve explained before that our lot slants downhill enough that the main level is second story height on the back side. Half-asleep, it’s easiest for me to open the bedroom door onto the screened porch, then out to the deck. The downside is that when she ignores me, I’d have to go down a flight of stairs in the dark, plod through the wet grass to the back of the yard–her preferred territory–pick up 32 pounds of damp, stinky cocker spaniel, then retrace my steps to get her back inside.
No way, Jose.
We would swear that the dog was mute were it not for the piercing barks she lets out if I don’t open the back door as soon as she is ready to come back inside. Therefore, leaving her out there isn’t an option. My sleep deprivation level rises as I lie there, waiting for the that bark. It’s sharp and screechy enough to wake the neighbors.
When Miss Piggy decides to come back inside, does she go back to sleep?
Certainly not! First, there’s her race to the laundry room to see if the food fairy left goodies (no chance in hell that’s going to happen before 7 AM) and then she returns to the bedroom to contort her chubby body into pretzel shape while she snorts and grunts through her groin cleaning ablutions. After that comes a noisy pedicure. All that time, I am lying in bed, checking off the noises on my mental list.
By the time she is ready to nap, I have long since kissed sleep goodbye and have turned to considering my options, most too diabolical to mention here.
For the past several mornings I have donned shoes and a sweater over my PJs to take her out the front door where the yard is smaller. She does her business and is back inside in three minutes or so.
The first time I tried the frontal assault, she scratched on the bed covers afterwards every 30 minutes in the hope that I’d reconsider and let her out back. Since I’d seen with my own eyes that she’d already used the front yard facilities, I was able to ignore her with a clear conscience. I couldn’t sleep with all that scratching, but my satisfaction level soared.
It may be working. This morning she didn’t wake me until 5 AM. I still couldn’t go back to sleep, but at least I didn’t miss half a night’s rest. The food fairy delivered at the usual hour of 7 AM. I’m hoping she’ll get that connection through her floppy ears.
Believe it or not, while I was standing on the sidewalk at that early hour, five… count ’em… FIVE fit, ponytailed young women jogged by. I was appalled by all that fresh-faced energy.
The spot where Miss Piggy chose to go was in the pine needles beneath the guest bedroom window and sure enough, when Dearly Beloved got up a couple of hours later, he told me that he’d heard her out there. Hmmm. If he’s going to wake up anyhow, what am I doing up?
Here’s my pitch:
Five spandexed women out for early jogging… three minutes waiting… two newspapers arriving… while Miss Piggy does her morning pee.
How can he resist?