Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Nocturnal Beagle

Critters of the night: Owls, rats, opossums (um, gross), foxes, flying squirrels...beagles. Who knew? But it's true. Lately, our beagle Teddy is akin to a baby who has his days and nights mixed up and it's really encroaching on our beauty sleep.

We adopted Teddy (aka T-Bear, the T, T-Bones, or my personal favorite: Bones) when he was almost four years old. He'd been a laboratory dog, sadly. Although we choose to look at it like he was doing his duty for his country and his dog cohorts the world over because he was in the Auburn University laboratory as a test subject for a now popular and effective flea and tick treatment--the kind you put on the back of the neck and is absorbed into the skin. Once Teddy's patience understandably wore out for the repeated surgeries he endured to have his skin biopsied, they gave him an honorable discharge into the capable hands of a Beagle rescue who worked to re-socialize him and turn him back into the adorable, affable, lovable, spoiled guy who's lived with us for the past nearly five years.

Since we've had him, he's spent the overnight snoozing hours in his crate in his very own "bedroom" (my hubby's office). Why? Couple reasons: one, the dog snores like a freight train. I'm not even exaggerating. He could wake the dead, snoring so loudly that I swear the walls bow in with every intake of breath. And two, he is absurdly co-dependent on my light-sleeper husband and needs to be as close as humanly possible to him at all times. Like a second skin. So for John to get any sleep at all, we have to make it so the T cannot sleep with us. Thus, he is removed to his crate in another room completely.

Before you get all "I can't believe you cage that sweet pup up" on me, know that Teddy was raised in a crate and he loves it. It's "his space." When the crate was in our downstairs family room, he would go in there voluntarily for naps. He hides bones in there, toys in there, etc. It's not a negative place to him at all so this system worked well. For about...how many years did I say we've had him? About five? Then this system worked well for about four years and 11 months. It all took a turn for the worse when Teddy decided that he didn't want to sleep in his crate at night. Not for more than an hour or so, anyway. Instead, he wants to make frequent trips to the back yard throughout the night, a few stops at the watering hole, and oh yeah, while he's always preferred to sleep in our room with us, he's decided to become adamant about it. And there's no ignoring all this because he barks from the crate when he's ready for an out-of-crate excursion. And he barks as loudly as he snores.

At first, we determined he had a bladder infection, which explained the frequent back yard needs and slugging down more water than the winner of a peanut-eating contest. Once that was cleared up, we thought we'd ease right back to the routine. Not so much. I think the T has decided he likes that barking in the middle of the night fetches one of us to spring him from the crate. And he's enjoying his control much too much.

So last night was one of the worst nights--filled with four out-of-crate-experiences between midnight and 3 a.m. and more expletives uttered from my husband, at increasing volume with each bark, than I've heard since the last Ga Tech loss to UGA.

So we're dragging a$$ this fine Monday morning, needless to say. And trying to figure out how to remedy this little situation. Thank God the T can catch up on his beauty sleep today just behind my husband's office chair. Lord knows he's got to get good and rested for tonight's round-the-clock soiree.

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