There are two things that are guaranteed to please people: one is a sense of security and the other is a warm blanket. Put the two together and you have a recipe for both stability and comfort.
Beds v. Blankets
Reilly is a dog that values both security and blankets. However, he doesn’t value beds. On two occasions, Sharon and I have picked up a doggy bed for our Westie. Both occasions introduced unprecedented violence and destruction.
Before I get into the specifics, I have a question: why are dog beds so damned expensive? You can pay between $50 and $120 for a dog bed. In our case, the dog would rather sleep on the couch next to us in the family room or on a love seat we have in our bedroom then sleep on those pricey little cots. But I digress…
The first time I bought Reilly a bed I was bucking the system. In an effort to fight the high price of pet sleep apparatuses, I picked up a crappy little foam bed for around $20. I presented the bed to Reilly and he proceeded to attack the thing. It was like the bed represented every squirrel Reilly had never caught. Despite our best efforts to convince him that this was for his own comfort, he couldn’t be deterred. He ripped that thing into a thousand fluffy pieces. By the end of the first day of bed ownership, Reilly had completely destroyed the foam pad and left me quite a mess to clean up.
I had to wonder if Reilly’s rage really came from a sense of snobbery. Maybe he was saying, ‘You buy me this cheap piece of crap and expect me to sleep on it! How dare you!’ And then he destroyed it in protest.
Because I am a little dense, I bought him another bed. This one was a deluxe $50 bed from a fancy pet store. In fact the clerk told me at the point of purchase that we could return it within 30 days for a full refund if the dog didn’t like it (that means if he wrecked it). I brought the bed home (bellyaching the whole time about the $50 price tag) and Reilly seemed to like it. Every time he would try to chomp on it, Sharon and I would tell him to stop and he’d stop. Eventually he started to sleep in the thing and I was pleased with my purchase – mostly because the sight of Reilly curled up in his little bed was just plain adorable.
About 31 days after we bought the bed, I was doing some work around the house. A friend of mine had come over to help us update our bathroom so we were ripping out floors and vanities and toilets. Reilly was very interested in what we were doing but I was worried that he was going to get hurt so I shooed him away. And so we worked away our day and, when my friend left, I went to find Reilly. He had dragged his deluxe bed into the living room and had ripped a hole in the side of it. Stuffing was everywhere. Because I’m cheap, I jammed as much of the stuffing back into the hole as I could and duct taped the hole shut. My efforts were summarily rejected. A day later, the tape was gone and the stuffing was back out. Bed #2 was another casualty of Reilly.
This time I wondered if Reilly wasn’t protesting his eviction from the bathroom renovation area. Once again, he was saying, ‘Screw you! I have a right to be here! This is my house too you know!’
A Cozy Blanket
Perhaps my explaining away Reilly’s rejection of his two beds is really a way of over-analyzing the little dog’s violent behaviour. In reality, Reilly just prefers blankets. Since he was a puppy, Reilly has been partial to adopting some of our favourite blankets, ripping at them with his teeth, holding them in his mouth tightly before nodding off to sleep. It is quite cute actually.
Certainly we have had our problems with this practice. There are blankets that we have coveted for ourselves that Reilly has pulled to the floor, mauled and drooled over, never again to be used to comfort a human. At one point, Reilly had laid claim to three blankets and two towels and, because he’s very possessive, he insisted on having all of them in the room with him at the same time. Now we have trimmed back the blanket stash to two – one for upstairs and one for downstairs.
If you ever get invited to our house, you will have the pleasure of seeing Reilly at work with his blanket. We like to keep a tidy house and, when company is coming, we fold up Reilly’s upstairs blanket and put it into another room. At some point in a visit, after Reilly has bonded with our guests, he will go get the blanket and awkwardly drag it into the room where the entire pack has gathered. It’s a real show-stopper – guaranteed giggles every time.
The blanket became a permanent fixture in our lives a few weeks back when my mother and my stepfather came by our place. Lorne agreed to help me replace the guts of my barbeque so we hauled the tools out and started working (Note: I am making myself out to be quite the handyman, which is patently untrue. Keep in mind that in both examples in this story someone else was there to help me. In other words, they did the work and I looked on). A thunderstorm started to roll in from a distance away and we weren’t quite done the job so I move our patio umbrella over the area where we were working. Within minutes the skies started to open up and so Lorne and I popped our heads out of the barbeque to look around. Besides seeing the rain, we saw Reilly with his blanket in his mouth in the process of falling asleep. He brought his blanket out to be close to us while we worked – in a rainstorm!
That is when I determined that forcing a bed on Reilly was an exercise in futility because he had already found a sense of comfort and security in his blanket. Or should I say blankets.