Making the Bed: the Canine Way


We have had a disastrous dog policy in place for a couple of months.

It all began when the cat,now no longer an impish scrap of a kitten but a large, muscly puma of an animal, was allowed to help himself to sofas and beds.

The last feline incumbent, who gloried in the name of Kit-Kat but was in fact Satan reincarnate, had laid claim to this privilege when she was a very small cat. Anger was always her thing. When Phil and I went on holiday and Phil’s affable friend came to cat sit, many years ago, Kit Kat claimed his bed early on in the stay.

The friend tells us that when he approached the bed, Kit Kat “got bigger.” And he decided hastily to make another bed and sleep somewhere else.

Our old cat, a tortoiseshell, was Fury herself with unsettling piercing eyes. One stare could fell a grown man. And we knew that Kit Kat “getting bigger” must have been a terrifying ordeal indeed. Better by far to leave resident evil to sleep on the spare bed, and find another room filled with sunlight and virtue to make one feel better.

This explains the traditional feline rights accorded to cats in the Shrewsday household. Those rights are ancient, and were carved out by a minor mediaeval demon out of its time. And the present cat, Clive Bond, inherited those rights.

Lesson in doggie intelligence number one: terriers are unable to generalise. Macaulay arrived in the household when Her Royal Evilness was at the height of her powers, aged 12. Her sinister powers were fully matured. The dog knew immediately that of course she was inherently to be dreaded and respected, and naturally she should have superior rights to soft duvets and pillows, and sofas of the finest chenille.

When the cat departed, the silken threads laced with iron which marked her rule were loosed, and the dog was bereft. He pined. He was very sad. He took us by surprise, because had we been a small terrier trapped beneath her tiger paw we we would have been cracking open a particularly fine vintage of forest water and toasting her demise.

So we did the obvious thing: we procured another cat.

This cat is different. He is a bloke. It’s obvious. He is not evil, but affably sharp and pointy . He plays with the dog. Clive Bond is a contemporary. To Macaulay, indeed, Clive is the Last One In.

Which, in a dog’s book, makes him inferior.

So why was the family letting this honorary dog, this cat with the heart of a puppy, onto the bed?

The unkindest cut of all was that this impudent pup still had a cat’s superiority complex. He would sit on the highest part of the cream chenille sofa and gloat unbearably.

Not fair, the dog thought.

And this dog is particularly good at communicating his feelings. The cat would get up and Macaulay would Do Outrage, and up would come waves of it from the doggie bed in the corner of the bedroom.

So: being foolish human beings, did we re-train the cat?

Oh gracious, no. Please, No. Training the cat is something like a circle of hell: say no, loudly, remove from bed, turn away for a second, and there’s the cat on the bed again. It would be a remorseless, thankless endeavour.

No. We thought: aw. Poor dog. Let’s accord him bed rights.

The dog took a while to believe us. Me? Up there? Seriously?

But eventually he acquiesced and it became a habit.

Every morning I would romp him round a quaggy forest, and he would dip his paws in mud and sand and detritus alike, and what would he do when he came home? Jump on the bed.

I have become accustomed to walking in to see pristine cotton pinstripe (we’re very City here) besmirched with dog paw prints, gritty with heathy sand. I am changing sheets every other day. We have blundered inadvertently from one circle of hell to another. Satan’s menagerie has us in its grasp.

After Β a month of this my worship of the God of Consistency has come to a close. So what if I retrained the dog to jump on the bed? I have resolved to retrain him right back to his old behaviours with all speed.

The dog is reproachful, but he knew, deep in his doggy being, that permissions like that could never work. He is philosophical, there on his doggie bed, with the cat Β gloating from Β the highest point of the sofa.

He knows his place.


77 thoughts on “Making the Bed: the Canine Way

  1. When we have our daughter’s dogs to stay, my wife becomes like a matador. She flys around the house with an old M&S doggie paw print blanket which is flicked onto any surface, with perfect accuracy, just before a muddy dog lands on it:)

    1. I’m sure that’s possible, and this would be the perfect solution if the forest would limit itself to the feet. But it gets everywhere, and Macaulay and baths don’t mix…its a puzzlement….

    1. I have no doubt, Lou. But let us say that since I snapped and re-instigated this canine apartheid it has reduced the number of living things in my bed by at least 80 per cent.

  2. I have never understood ANYONE wanting a dog (and all its encumbents) on their bed .. I am sure that Macaulay knew deep down that this was a temporary reprieve. Have a lovely day Kate.. c

  3. Life is heavily unfair. Just because cats tend not to leave muddy paw-and-body prints, they enjoy undue favour. You wouldn’t consider installing a carwash-type dog tunnel at the entrance?
    Gemma, after latest Pooch Parlour visit, was suddenly regarded by the girls as a desirable toy. She has therefore promoted herself to eligibility for any surface, and I have to keep her clean enough for this not to cause problems. Her scruffy sibling is understandably outraged by the favouritism

    1. I think if Mac were pristine it would be ok, Col: but as I have said many times before, even half an hour after a bath or trim he will have sought out the first undesirable substance and consorted with it. No: there is nothing for it but to maintain rigid double standards…

  4. Not fair at all! But having read in several posts about Macaulay’s aroma, I’m impressed at your kindness in letting him on the bed in the first place. A family that has a cat can’t make too big a deal of consistency, as Macaulay probably already knows. Happy New Year to him anyway. As a cat, CB doesn’t need my good wishes–happiness for him is a slam-dunk.

    1. You have him neatly summarised already, I see, Kathy! Yes, that is happiness for Clive. He loves nothing more than to punch someone as they walk past. He makes Phil dance as he gets Clive’s supper, with small, carefully placed nips. HIs humans are coming on nicely, he judges.

  5. Maybe just a corner? On my own blanket? At the very foot of the bed? Pleeeeeze?? Poor Mac — not that I would want to be changing the sheets every day either πŸ™‚

    1. No, Karen. He is well equipped with the eyes to plead: and if he didn’t bring half the forest with him we would consider it. But he does, and he always will, because at heart he is just a small scruffy terrier.

  6. Excellent post Kate! Back in the day, the ferocious canine of my childhood, Mean Streak, completely ruled us. He was also friends with the neighborhood cats. I am sure that having bed hopping privileges were great fun while they lasted for Macaulay. Too bad as you might say that he might only have the memory of a goldfish. Unfortunately, dogs can be slobs and cats, well they’re simply not. Clive Bond might be a bloke, but I am sure that he also has cat hygiene down to a science.

    1. He doesn’t bring anything to the table other than his good self, Lame: that’s the bottom line. Mac has way too much baggage. Mean Streak sounds great. Especially the whole cat alliance thing.

  7. Macaulay has such a lovely face. Such beautiful eyes. But no, I can’t smell him. In the I Can Haz Cheezburger blog, the stated cat philosophy is “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” The cat has ownership, humans and dogs are but minions.

  8. Macauley is the dearest, sweetest dog…from his poor bee stung bottom to those soulful eyes. And yes, just adore Clive Bond, as well. May the New Year bring peace between all species! πŸ™‚ Stina

    1. Yes, Stina: let us hope for peace between dog and cat in 2013 despite the discrepancy in privileges. I think they enjoy each other’s company. I have never seen a cat and a dog play together before! Happy New Year to you and those beautiful cats…

  9. Mac’s eyes are the business. You show us him so well Kate in words and pictures, but the most telling line has to be the reduction of 80% in the living beings you share your bed with! My skin did creep then, just a little πŸ˜€

  10. I feel for Mac. Of course, Jazz slept with me in the bed until MTM banned her. It was quite a shock, after more than a decade. She still got all over the furniture, though, and looked at me like I was insane for even trying to get her off.

    1. I think that’s an ancient dog-human ritual, Andra. It may even stretch back into the moment following the Stone Age when sofas were invented. Mac looks up from under his eyebrows but is is rarely shamefaced enough to move. And we all know that the moment we’re out of the house, up they go to the poshest upholstery in the house to give it a whirl.

  11. Oh dear, I would be such a pushover for that face of Mac’s. But I, too, would have to draw the line at unidentifiable grime and odor in my bed.

  12. How does a cat person with a very big crush on Macauley comment? Oh the eyes of that sad gent-of-a-dog! Clive, lesson in mercy. You can spare a bit of attitude and show a modicum of mercy.

    1. I’m not sure that word is in Clive’s vocabulary, Amy. A more direct creature I have rarely met….we are trying to give Mac privileges. At the moment the fact that he goes out for a walk and Clive doesn’t it a major one…

  13. It’s all perception, I think. Our cat would kill something gruesome and then be all over us and occasionally it would cause me to be repulsed and I’d need to stay away for awhile. But a poor dog, who doesn’t do any of that killing, still gets a bad rap. Germs are microscopic and we can almost pretend they don’t exist. But I would go made trying to keep white bedding free of muddy paw prints. Poor Mac, but your decision was a necessity, I’m sure! πŸ™‚

  14. Oh dear, poor Macaulay – I did wonder how long bed rights would last. My girls have their own bed linen, and pillow, for their half of the bed, but I’m only one, so its easy to divide it up a half and two quarters. God help the new masters, they’ll have a lot of explaining to do (!), so I know what you’re having to endure by way of Mac’s looks πŸ™‚

  15. “The dog is reproachful, but he knew, deep in his doggy being, that permissions like that could never work.”

    You know, perceptions on life just don’t get much better than this post. Brilliant.

  16. A couple of beautiful portraits there Kate and a tale of the sad realities of life. I think I’ll stick with the Budgies – Feathers and seed husks finding their way around the room are preferable to muddy paws on sofas and beds or the risk of an unexpected clawing when sitting down on an apparently empty sofa πŸ˜‰

  17. chuckles πŸ™‚ I know exactly what you’re talking about – haha – our dogs slowly started to access the couches and sometimes the bed – now I have just got a new couch and they aren’t allowed on it – confusion reigns in the doggies woollen heads.

  18. I had a Yorkshire terrier at my dad’s place when I was in college. He was pampered silly by all of us. Now, I have a Labrador. This guy is so friendly and so easy to look after. The only problem being that he sheds a lot of hair. And everytime, I leave him at a dog boarder’s, he ends up picking a few ticks :(. Then starts the long procedure of getting rid of ticks.

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