How to Spend a Two-Dog Nightby Bev Ryba
(Addendum for Mastiff owners by Mike McBee - retrieved from the Internet by Deb Jones)
I will address myself mostly to the rules for sleeping with two dogs. For the few who have already mastered this technique, I will later add a cat, although I urge beginners to leave the cat out.
To achieve any sort of success, certain arbitrary conditions must be assumed, the first one being that you must have a king-sized bed. There is no point in lying down in anything smaller. While the size of the breed of dog is not important (people who sleep with dogs know that before the night is over everybody collects into a pile), the condition of the dogs may be. Very thin dogs, for example, are lumpier.
I have selected the two-dog minimum because, as we shall see, it is the only way to stay in bed at all. The key word here is LEVERAGE. All dogs spend the night pressed tightly against their human bedfellows, but no two dogs ever sleep on the same side. This is, in part, an expression of the "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Principle." It is also to create leverage.
Because the human being is always in the middle, held tightly in place by the dogs and by his blanket (which the dogs are sleeping on top of), restlessness and recurring cramps are difficult to handle. Here is the tip: when you first lie down, AND BEFORE THE DOGS SETTLE AGAINST EACH SIDE OF YOU, spread your legs three inches apart. Stiffen and hold out NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE PRESSURE! When the time comes to turn over, bring the legs together quickly under the now slightly slackened blanket and revolve BEFORE THE DOGS WAKE UP. As soon as you have assumed a new position, allow for those crucial three inches again; otherwise, youíre a mummy for the rest of the night.
NEVER SPREAD THE LEGS MORE THAN THREE INCHES. A dogís favorite place to sleep is in the hollow created by legs too widely spread, and once settled, he and you are frozen into position until morning. (There is a way out of this trap, but it is difficult to describe without slides). Dogs who prefer to sleep on their backs MUST BE GIVEN SPACE THREE TIMES THE HEIGHT OF THE DOG AT THE SHOULDER. Dogs who like pillows may be accommodated if you sleep on your side with the legs scissored so that each dog has an ankle for a chin rest. Above all, BEWARE OF CURLING! When the curl is reversed, both dogs are dislocated, resulting in low growls on both sides of you.
When you are ready to add a cat, position is all important. All cats prefer to sleep in hollows, but NO CAT WILL SLEEP ON THE SAME SIDE AS A DOG. (Remember, you have only two sides). YOU MUST, THEREFORE, BECOME A TRIANGLE! Do this by assuming a horizontal diverís crouch, thereby creating not only three more-or-less exclusive sides, but two hollows as well. With one dog at your front, and the other against your back, the cat can curl into the hollow at the back of your bent knees, separated from both dogs. All will then sleep soundly.
This entire technique still needs a lot of refinement. A method that deals with early morning scratching needs to be developed, and the problem of pretending to sleep while being closely scrutinized by various animals needs to be solved.
It is apparent that this was not written by a Mastiff person, as there is a very important rule that has been omitted from this discussion, one that should be immediately obvious to anyone who has spent any time at all with a Mastiff.
I am, of course, speaking of the all important rule concerning head and rear positioning. It is absolutely critical that the heads of the Mastiffs be pointed in the same direction as the head of the human, with their posteriors pointed towards the humanís feet. If this rule is not followed religiously, the human runs a very real chance of expiring in their sleep from suffocation. This is a result of the well known (but seldom mentioned) Mastiff malady known by the scientific name of "Gaseous Asseous," or, as it is more commonly called, F.A.R.T.S. (Foul Abdomen Rectally Transmitted Smells).
There are two documented varieties of this affliction, the "Kabam" and the "SBD" (Silent But Deadly). Of the two, the "Kabam" is slightly less serious because it has a tendency to awaken the human, giving them the opportunity to escape the noxious vapors, but it can be a problem for heavy sleepers, the hard of hearing and those who are too wedged in to flee quickly. The "SBD" is extremely critical since, as its name implies, gives no warning. You simply wake up dead the next morning. It has also been known to strike those transporting Mastiffs, particularly in colder weather when the vehicle is most likely to be closed up with no fresh air circulating. Those with nose colds are most susceptible since they cannot detect the accompanying warning odor.
"Gaseous Asseous" is though to have a genetic basis, but studies have shown that it can be aggravated by environmental conditions, particularly diet. Eggs, beer and baked beans should be avoided at all costs. This scourge is particularly insidious since there is no known test for its presence, a 'clear' Mastiff can develop this condition at any time, anywhere, out of the clear blue sky.
The most obvious sleep time defense against this treacherous curse is not to allow a Mastiff to share your bed. This, however, is often difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Another widely used defense is to acquire and wear a surplus gas mask to bed. This is uncomfortable but has the added advantage of protecting the wearer against other airborne dangers such as skunks and enemy sneak attacks. Probably the most effective, but more expensive, alternative, is to install an exhaust ventilation system such as is found in commercial auto repair facilities. To ensure adequate protection, one vent tube per Mastiff must be used and the tube must be securely fastened just below the tail of each Mastiff on the bed.
Iím sorry if Iíve alarmed anyone with this information, but I felt that it was my duty to warn you. Mastiffs are great, but like anything else, they have their downside. However, if proper precautions are taken, you can still enjoy your Mastiff companion to the fullest without too much danger to yourself.
Sleep tite, and donít let the bed dogs F.A.R.T.!
Mike McBee/Stonehouse Mastiffs