The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

“And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye,
Steal me awhile from mine own company.”

–Helena in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

At the risk of posting yet again about my dog (W: You’re not going to make it into a dog blog, are you? Me: Of course not.  I’m writing about me.) I’m going to tell you about me not getting any sleep. Because of my dog.

Oh, there she lies now, stretched out in her desk-side bed, ears flopped back, gently snoring, the terrors of rain on our metal roof and house-shaking thunder over. But last night, she scratched against doors, slammed her body against the doggie gate, whined, paced, and panted wide-eyed, tongue crimson instead of pink.

Me? I follow my usual steps.

  1. Ignore the dog. Isn’t this what Cesar would say? Any attention I give her will reinforce these behaviors.
  2. (Five minutes later.) I can’t sleep with all this racket. Okay, it’s not the noise so much as worrying that she’s going to hurt herself or destroy something. I will just lie on the couch for a while and she’ll eventually lie down next to me and feel calm. Then I’ll go back to sleep.
  3. Me: Cleo, lie down. Lie down. Lie. Down!
  4. Maybe I should give her a pill? The natural stuff never works. The Benadryl the vet recommended? Would need to go downstairs and get butter to wrap it in. And it’s just raining out. If I give her medicine every time it rains I’ll need to keep her on it constantly for three seasons.
  5. Maybe she just needs to go out. What’s she doing out there? Cleo? Cleo! CLEO!! Bad, wet doggie.
  6. I’m going back to bed.
  7. [Booming sounds] Oh. Actually it is a thunderstorm. My bad. Too late now for Benadryl. She’s way beyond Benadryl. Maybe I should take some Benadryl.
  8. I’ll just turn on the light out here and read the New Yorker on the couch until she calms down or I fall asleep anyway.
  9. Pulling dog blanket over my eyes. This is exactly the reason she is not allowed in our bedroom–breathing in allergenic fur all night long. But the light has to stay on. So so bright. Whoever heard of a dog afraid of the dark?
  10. Body feels like run over by truck. Is dog asleep? Finally. 4 a.m. Can get into bed now.
  11. Can’t sleep. Seriously, insomnia?


Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?

Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.

Holmes: That was the curious incident.

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