The Pack

Steve and I have a king size bed.  With the master out of town, the dogs have customized their sleeping arrangements.  Mabel has been creaky after a week with Walter Dog- she did not want Wally and Milly to see her strength diminished at 10 years, and I think she over did.  Now that Wally is safely ensconced in Chicago, she is allowing herself to be more vulnerable. Her back paw is stiff, and requires some hobbling before she gets moving.  I can relate.  To that end, she nestles in on the bed after I preheat my side with the electric blanket.  She shows no interest in Steve's non-warmed half. We are kindred spirits in age and creakiness.


 Milly, on the other hand, attempts to be the top dog in her own inimitable style.  I move 3 square pillows and 3 pillows with shams to the left side of the bed in a mountain of fluff.  Milly scales to the top and nestles in.  Her altitude is quite impressive.  She has toppled only once, but it did not deter her.  She is the queen of her castle.

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I have new evening habits with Steve away- I stay downstairs until the wee hours.  I power through all my DVR backlog, sometimes at warp speed, watch Jimmy Kimmel, and then head up to read on the Kindle until I get blurry.  The dogs are not used to my lights on/TV off ritual as yet. I think they secretly enjoy closing out the day with The Daily Show or Colbert Report. But I am the alpha right now.  I rule the pack. They settle in, snoring to keep me company.  We are content.
They miss their auto-fill toilet bowl, if thirst should strike them in the night. We are all sacrificing for a new tub!  The question is, will we all be able to rehabilitate our new habits when the real Top Dog comes home?  It will mean time shifting. 
It is Steve's habit to shut off the TV at 10:00, even if I am watching it. He looks at me plaintively, invoking me to let the dogs out, lock up, turn the lights out and come upstairs.  He claims that he cannot sleep without me. (unless he is in Florida for 2 months) 
In fact, as soon as I am asleep, he heads back downstairs to forage for as many calories as his Lose It app indicates he has left.  (this is generally ice cream or Kirschbaum's smiley cookies. He claims he cannot go to sleep without a treat.  SO many claims....)  The dogs hover and lurk, anticipating crumbs or a  bowl to lick.  There have been no treats with me in charge.  I bet they prefer the old days.  
We will all be facing change orders in April.  I tend to be more pliable on such things, so I anticipate that I will do all the shifting.  Steve likes sleeping with his pets, so they will not have to reconfigure too much.  Milly will not have her pillow roost, because Steve has a defined stacking ritual each night:  all pillows must be on the floor, one side of the bed.  Like-sized units must be stacked upon each other.  I wish I was kidding.  But if I toss them randomly, he will move them to his preferred positioning as I sleep.  I remember when we laughed at Pat because he insisted that his brothers wear underpants to bed.  He would sneak in as they slept and cover their bottoms with underoos.  He could not rest until his vision was realized.  Sure, it was a random and unnecessary vision, but so are pillow stacks. The apple and the tree.........
In any event, I am sure that the space presently occupied by my canine companions will be abandoned once Big Dog returns.  Our Pack of Three will adapt and relocate as we become a Pack of Four.  You can teach old dogs new tricks. 
And no- I was not referring to me, as old or a dog.
P.S.  Mabel requests that you follow her @stevedahlsdog on Twitter.  She has a million things to tell you, and wants her message to escape.  This is not ME, nor Steve- I really do not know who it is.  Some days I figure it is my nephew Colin, AKA the flint skinny- (@theflintskinny on twitter)- then I shift to the belief it is a Dahlcaster.  Then I regroup- perhaps it is a stranger...
Milly is peeved that she has no puppeteer.  She is young, though- and has less wisdom.

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