Pets or parenthood

Pets or parenthood

Are children necessary in a marriage? And if a couple is childless, can pets fulfil their nurturing instincts?

Ever since H and I started sleeping together, we've found it hard to get a good night's rest.

It's not so much because I'm terrified that he'll unwittingly elbow my face in the middle of the night (he sleeps with his arms bent).

It's also not because he's intrigued by how I can sleep with my knees up, one leg crossed over the other (or so he says).

The reason for our fitful sleep is Dee, our bichon frise, who shares the bed with us.

He's 10 this year, has weak hind legs, a cataract forming in his left eye and a loose bladder.

In the first three years of our married life, H and I slept in different bedrooms (long story, but the short of it is I didn't like the air-con).

Dee took turns to share our beds. Some nights, he'd sleep with H; other nights, he'd decide to snuggle up to me. Who knew what he based his decision on.

A queen-size bed fits one human and one 8kg toy dog nicely.

But two humans and one dog? That's a tight squeeze.

In the first few months when the three of us shared a bed, there was much tossing and turning and growling.

We've since carved out our space. H sleeps on the left side of the bed and I get the right. The dog settles in the space at the foot of the bed nearer my side, although if he had a choice, he would be claiming H's side at the top, which is where we always find him whenever he goes onto the bed before we do.

He (the dog) is a restless sleeper.

He jumps down the bed several times a night, and although he's perfectly able to hop back up during the day, he will whine for us to wake up and carry him back to bed at night (maybe the cataract is giving him poor night vision.)

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