Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Click Clack

My dog is old. It’s becoming more and more apparent how old he actually is. He still wants to play and go for walks, but just not for as long. His hips will give out on him as he’s jumping around. He can’t see or hear very well anymore so it’s hard to keep/get his attention. His muzzle is growing whiter each day. It breaks my heart.

But this is not about that. This is about the other side effect of his aging. This is about how I don’t get to sleep anymore.

Over the last few months, he has difficulty sleeping through the night. This never used to be a problem for him. He would go to bed when we did and wake up to the alarm with us. At most, he would wake up 5 minutes before the alarm went off and stand at attention by the side of the bed waiting for one of us to take him for his morning walk.

But lately, he’s been waking up at first light, which is about 4am these days. He will get up, shake – this causes the tags on his collar to sound like a school bell, then he goes for a walk up and down the hallway made of hardwood. Click Clack – Click Clack – Click Clack – Click Clack, for what feels like forever when you are trying to enjoy those very important final two hours of r.e.m. sleep before the alarm sounds. Up and down he goes until he remembers he’s thirsty and makes it to the kitchen to lap up water. Then he wanders back to the bedroom and stands by the bed and pants. And pants and pants and pants. I have never heard a dog breathe so loud. I feel really bad for my husband. He is on the side of the bed Murray can actually get to. I have the luxury of not having much space between my side and the wall, so Murray doesn’t venture over to wake me up with his morning breath. Not that it matters, since I can hear him perfectly well on my side with two pillows over my head.

I don’t know why he gets up like this every day (and I do mean every day). It’s not a bathroom issue. I can only attribute it to getting old and a little confused.

I look at my dad as an example. He recently told me that he can no longer sleep through the night and he gets up and paces the halls around midnight. Sometimes he’ll even do the dishes or clean the bathroom. I always felt bad for my brother, who he lived with until a couple of weeks ago, as I could understand the sleep difficulties he must have when dad gets up at midnight and walks up and down the hall.

Amazingly I manage to function every day on the limited, interrupted sleep I’m getting every night. I used to be a person that had to have at least 8 hours of sleep each night in order to make it through a day. Now I’m getting about 5-6 hours followed by a couple of hours of dog noise interrupted sleep.

But, I don’t like to complain too much about it. I love my dog so very much and I know the day will come when I will get a full 8 hours of solid sleep again and I know what that will mean. And that is a terrible thought. Because even though every day around 5am as I am cursing under my breath for him to go lay down, I know that when I get home from work his happy smiling dog face will be there to greet me, tail wagging. I’ll be covered in dog kisses and dog hair. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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