Riggers in bed

Rigby, the dog, is a bit of a pussy cat. You’re not going to find another dog as affectionate, enthusiastic, or as full of beans anywhere on the eastern seaboard. He’s also a great sentimentalist.

Rigby abedHe loves his dad. When he’s not being social he’ll find a spot close by where he can see me. Often I’ll look up to find his steady gaze upon me. Back in the day I’d watch TV and he’d jump up on the couch beside me and snuggle against me with his head on my lap. He’s a big boy, but a real softy.

Pretty well from day one he set his own routines when it came to bedtime. When I had a bed he would sleep beside me on the empty side of the bed (which became problematic when it wasn’t empty – I’ve had some hilarious episodes when he saw no reason not to join whoever I happened to be frolicing with). At a certain stage of the night – generally somewhere between 6-7am – he would shift and snuggle up next to me, his body contouring to mine. I’ve woken up occasionally to find myself spooning him.

Early days I found this uncomfortable. I remember as a kid how the cat would sleep at the end of my bed and how difficult I found that. As an adult I’m a good deal bigger than I was then, and even though the bed was too, I would sprawl in it, not wasting an inch. I loved my space, and have often found it difficult sleeping with a clingy companion. Then along comes Rigby.

You adjust to it. I now sleep on a couch smaller than the bed I slept in as a kid. And Rigby still jumps up to join me.

Now Rigby is under strict instructions from the mistress of the house that he’s not to jump up on the couch – something everyone in the house ignores but her, including Rigby. Still, Rigby is smart enough to know he’s not allowed to, and is careful to appear to be obeying her. He may come across as a goof-off sometimes, but he’s pretty savvy.

This morning, as usual, he got up on the couch to sleep beside me. How different it is to the past. Once he’s up there I have zero room to move. If I want to turn over we have to manage it in unison. There’s so little room that he’s right at the edge of the sleeping space, but he’s happy. I am to, to be honest. I love his affection. I love what a beautiful and tender dog he is. He feels like my family at a time when I feel I have no other family. If you’re not a pet lover you may not understand that. Rigby adores me, but I adore him equally.

For some reason my sister was up 30 minutes earlier than usual. It coincided with me oversleeping – something I hardly ever do. Generally I’m up and out of bed by 7.15, and I haven’t slept past 8am this year. The consequence of all this is that she walked in while Rigby was still lying beside me.

No dummy Rigby, quick as a flash he quietly slipped from the couch without any prompting from me, and no-one was the wiser. I decided to stay in bed (on couch?). I reckon you need an occasional sleep-in, and reckon equally that I’m generally in sleep deficit. So I lay on my couch while they got ready for school and out of there. Every so often Rigby would come visit and nuzzle me, before returning to join in the activity. Then the house was abruptly empty. Out the door my sister went, and knowing it the first thing Rigby did was jump up beside me again and lay there, his head near mine. For him, I know, this is what he lives for – and it fills my heart. I can’t deny him that. He’s a clever boy, a lovely dog, and my very good mate.

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