I have a thing for sheets.
They must not have even one single solitary thread of polyester in them, they have to be 100% pure Egyptian cotton and I refuse to sleep on anything less than a 650-thread count.
I want a 20-inch mattress fit, I want only neutral colors (novelty sheets with Thomas the Tank engine pics or West Highland terrier motifs? Dear God No!) and I have the temperature of my room set at a constant 68 degrees so that said sheets feel cold and slippery when I get into my bed at the end of the day. I’m embarrassed to say that even writing about it is giving me a little bit of a rush.....
I know I'm sounding like a Diva, but I've reached the grand old age of 54 and attained a level of happiness in my life by not compromising on certain things. I start the day in my bed with a huge cup of French Pressed Peet's Major Dickinson coffee, no other brand will do, basking in the silence...love of my life by my side.
So lets now talk about him......the love of my life and center of my universe.
He's 12 years old, drop dead gorgeous, looks like George Clooney, if George Clooney had four legs and a tail, and has eyes that look at me with such passion and longing, he makes me feel like a size 00 super model with hugely buoyant breasts and no cellulite.
But here's the thing, he has zero appreciation for my sheets.
The little shit has shredded his way through exactly fourteen sets of them, raking them up with his manicured nails in an effort to create the perfect 'nest' every day before his nap and every night at bedtime.
I'm now such a regular at our local Sams Club, where I buy these incredible sheets, that the checkout lady now raises an eyebrow at me and simply asks,' Fred?'
No need for the whole sentence, we've now just whittled it down to a highly economical one word. I look suitably embarrassed, she gets the answer she requires and neither of us mention the fact that she knows I'm a dog behaviorist.
When I tell people this dirty little secret of mine, they always say 'I wouldn't put up with crap like that', or 'Make him stop, you're the one who works with dogs!'
It's true, I do....and yes, I work with some pretty diverse cases, but the truth is, working in this arena, you have to keep the serenity prayer in mind every day, and know the stuff you can change, and accept the stuff you can't..... especially if it means sacrificing something of more value.
Could I 'manage' this situation?
Of course! I could keep my bedroom door shut and not allow Freddie onto my bed, but that would deprive both of us of one of the greatest pleasures of our lives.
I could, of course, only allow him into my bedroom when I am in bed with him, so that I can police the sheet situation throughout the night, but, in between dodging his farts and snoring, [he sleeps with his back end shoved firmly in my face] I don't really want to have to have yet another thing to think about instead of getting my ZZZZ's in. I'm wrinkly enough as it is without adding blue shadows under my eyeballs to my long list of beauty problems....
Nope, I thought long and hard about it, and decided that I would just accept him the way he is. You see, to me he is perfect. Warts and all, faults and all.
I have loved this dog since the moment I laid eyes on him. He has worked by my side for 11 years, helping to rehabilitate the toughest cases, (we use dogs as mentors so that problem dogs can learn vicariously) never once asking for a day off, never once saying 'Really mum? You want me to work with this Freak Show?'
Aggressive dogs, dogs with separation anxiety, thunder phobic dogs, dogs with all kinds of issues, they've all been through these gates and he has acted as a guiding light for every single one of them.
I owe him.
At 12 years of age, in what should be the halcyon days of his retirement, I believe he should have the creature comforts he wants and enjoy the fruits of his labor......with the love of his life. Me.
He's given me love, solace, support, pleasure and unending loyalty.
Most dogs are built in exactly the same way, aren't they? They give so much and ask so little, it truly is the most perfect of relationships, forged out of devotion and a sense of duty that humans rarely possess. Show me the senior family dog and I will show you the kindest, wisest, most agreeable creature on the planet, whose only request is that we show him a fraction of the empathy we have gotten from him.
If the price of getting a great nights sleep with my beloved every night is a set of Sam's sheets once a month or so, I'll gladly pay the price.