Sweet slumber startled by seriously stirred-up Sawyer

By Wills Webb

 

Being awakened at 3 a.m. by a snoring dog is not conducive to kind thoughts about an otherwise beloved little animal.

There are a number of reasons I long ago abandoned my lifelong edict of No Dog Will Ever Sleep in My Bed! You can’t issue that declaration to cats because they will slip under the covers and bite your toes in revenge.

But, back to the dog ... this little ragamuffin wiggled into our lives in our first year of retirement. We transplanted ourselves onto a riverbank in Central Texas to drink in the “peaceful country life” after dueling with deadlines for more than 50 years. Someone dumped this then-little-three-month-old puppy on our country river road.

I was working in the yard when the puppy, his hair matted with burrs and dirt, stood at our gate, pink tongue sticking out of his white-whiskered mouth, tail wagging to “beat 60.” I knew Life Mate had to meet him and would likely adopt him. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

So, now nine years later, it is with deepening and developed adoration that I watch with parental concern (Life Mate has declared him ‘our baby’,) trying to stifle a snicker lest I awaken him and his ‘mom.’ The dog is on his back, sleeping peacefully with all four legs in the air.

While lying quietly, watching a stirred but still somnambulant Sawyer, I wondered if my nudged nocturnal awakening would prompt a separated sleep pattern again. That’s a problem for septuagenarians, forcing late-morning or early afternoon lounge chair snoozes, which Life Mate says, in mock disdain, are brought on by a self-imposed curfew always signaled by the 10:30 p.m. end of the nightly newscast.

As I pondered the hilarity of Sawyer’s sleep positions and sought a return to Dreamland and a Pulitzer Prize, the little Tibetan Terrier decided to abandon our bed. He often does that to seek the solitude of the sofa or, if his aging nine-year-old bones moan for it, the carpet or the hardwood of the hall floor.

Good,” my sleep-deprived brain telegraphed. Maybe now I can go back to semi-catatonic slumbering before my caffeine-addicted body requires brewing a jolting first cup.

That was not to be. He appeared beside my bed with a muffled “ruff,” so as wisely not to awaken Life Mate and, which translated from Sawyerspeak, means “Drag your booty out of bed, Dad, and let me out. I’ve got to go.” Although there’s a doggy door from my study into our privacy-fenced back yard, it’s closed while we sleep so Sawyer can’t slip out and dig up danger or, as you may ascertain from the following revelation, allow an animal into the house.

So, I slip into my warm-ups and house shoes, open the doggy door and flip on the outside light. As I’m standing there fulfilling my responsibility described by Life Mate (protectively watching the puppy as he diligently seeks a place to potty) I notice him take off in a dead run toward the back fence.

Uh-oh. That can only mean one thing — Petey Possum has defiantly traipsed onto Sawyer’s terrain again.

One wouldn’t think that, in the suburban setting we chose over the critter-friendly rural location of our former riverbank retirement home, we’d be besieged by Animal Kingdom.

Sure enough, there’s Sawyer and Petey. Of course, Petey’s doing what opossums are noted for — playing, well, “opossum.” Sawyer keeps poking him with his paw and trying to apply a biting nip but there’s a wise wariness to the dog’s hesitant assault.

Meanwhile, I’d grabbed a shovel in case Petey tried to bite Sawyer. Opossums have razor-sharp teeth and claws on their feet that can do significant damage, even to a bigger dog than our middleweight fighter.

I managed to coax Sawyer away from Petey (I never thought the puppy was stupid) and back into the relative solitude of our early morning home. Besides, I didn’t really want to kill the opossum. I’d just have to find a way to dispose of the carcass in the daylight. Suburban living doesn’t allow just tossing the body into the river. So, Petey lives on to traumatize Life Mate’s flowers and taunt Sawyer.

At any rate, the puppy and I returned to the house. He’s now ensconced in our bed, snuggled up against Mama’s leg and I’m sitting here pounding on a keyboard.

Life’s just not fair.

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at wwebb1937@att.net

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