My wife and I are lightly awakened from sleep, but not by your traditional alarm clock blaring out a sound that sounds like a French police car siren. We’ve already experienced that sound too many times after scheduling a vacation in Paris and, unknowingly, booking a hotel around the corner from the police station. The alarm clock isn’t a radio playing the latest Lady Antebellum or Sugarland hit, two of our country music favorites. Rather, it’s the light shimmy-shake from our little eight-pound Schnauzer, Dusty.
We are so in tune with her that the slightest noise or movement usually will awaken us no matter how deeply we are sleeping. There’s no need for us to wipe our eyes, stare at the clock, and squint to see the time on the display. No, our little Dusty girl has waking up to a science. 7:30 a.m. Eastern time is always the exact time for our wake-up call. It doesn’t matter if it is daylight savings time. It doesn’t matter if the window blinds are pulled tight and the curtains closed. This is when our petite furry girl notifies us that she’s ready to start her day.
Some dogs can’t wait to get up, stretch, and run to the door to be let outside for their potty session. They may wag their tails and get a quick pet or two before bounding out of the room and to the door that will take them to the great outdoors. But this is not the case for our little white Schnauzer. For her, it’s time to let the morning cuddle session begin. The stretching, running, and pottying can wait.
Our little girl likes sleeping in her own crate. We refer to it as her private space to retreat, relax, and rejuvenate. She loves her crate and knows that she can fluff her bedding the way she likes and stretch out as long and far as her little body will take her. Besides, allowing her to sleep in our bed would keep us awake all night. Not because she is a light sleeper — it’s more about me worrying about rolling over on her, or her falling off our tall king-sized bed.
When she’s ready to get out of her “bedroom,” she always lets us know. We will then roll out of bed to greet her at the door of her crate. Her short nub of a tail wagging rapidly back and forth, she is anxious to get out and see us. From the crate, we put her immediately on the bed with us. We lay beside her, one on each side, and the cuddling begins.
She’ll usually start with me. Yes, she is a daddy’s girl! She will give me a kiss or two on the face, rub against my legs, spoon me as close as possible. Roll on her side and demand her belly rub. The belly rubbing session will last for about five minutes or more.
Then she will get up, stretch and head over to my wife. She gives my wife a kiss and immediately lies on her pillow. She likes the smell of the hand lotion my wife uses each night, and knows that this is the only time and location where she will get to sniff the sweet flower aroma. After a lengthy sniffing session she will lie down beside my wife and request another lengthy belly rub from her. The whole session will last for approximately 15 minutes, although we think our little Schnauzer girl would be more than happy to stay there for twice as long if we’d let her.
After the morning cuddle session has been completed, we head downstairs and out the door and she is finally ready to start the other parts of her daily regimen., which usually includes a dozen trips outside to explore her big back yard. We have plenty of playtime including fetching the ball, playing with her favorite toys, and her barking at any people or animals she can see.
We’ll go for a ride to our local coffee house and then off to the park for more exploring and a good run. Of course, a few meals and multiple healthy treats throughout the day are always welcome. She especially likes our game of “Find It,” where I will toss a fresh piece of vegetable, fruit, or treat and she needs to find it. It’s one of the many highlights of her day.
Things usually wind down in the evening. While we watch a little television, she’ll take a nap in her favorite downstairs dog bed, on a throw, a couch pillow, or on Big Joe –- a giant overstuffed bean bag chair. At 10 p.m., she’ll gently awaken from her nap, stretch and head to the back door that leads to her big backyard. With her nose, she will push the jingle bells hanging from the door into the air. This is how we trained her to let us know she needs to go potty. Once the nighttime bells ring, we know it’s time to call it a night. A quick potty outside and a check of the yard is all that’s needed. Our little furry pup is now ready for bed.
We make our way up to our bedroom and get ready for bed. Looking very sleepy, you’d think our little Schnauzer girl would be ready to go to her private space. Oh, contraire! It’s now time for the nightly cuddle session. The nightly cuddle session is the exact same as the morning cuddle session. She honors each of us with some dedicated puppy love time. We sing a few special songs that we have penned especially for her. We tell her to have a good night’s sleep and let her know we love her and that she’s the best girl ever. We escort her to her private space and she proceeds to fluff her bedding and make a nice nest for the night.
The cuddle times were at the request of our little Schnauzer girl when we adopted her at two months of age. She is now 14 months old and the cuddle sessions are still part of the daily routine. It’s something that Dusty loves and frankly makes all of our lives complete. We look forward to many more cuddle sessions –- morning and night.
Do your dogs like to cuddle? Do they have a special morning or nighttime ritual with you? Let us know in the comments!
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About the author: Tim Link is an all-American guy, loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir, prefers to associate with open minded people who love all critters, considered to be the literal voice for all animals -– author, writer, radio host, Reiki master, animal communicator, and consultant.