Thursday, May 1, 2008

The penalties of silence

Got my first good nights sleep in over a week last night. My main complaint is Dog. For some reason he has been waking me up, whining and kicking up in the early hours. Notwithstanding, I have been tolerant because this is his job. He is our early warning system against would-be burglars, storms, bears, pumas, raccoons and other potential calamity. Yet for the past ten or eleven nights he has been squealing and scrambling in the early hours when there is nothing to fret about.

This has not been good for me, as I am the first line responder. My job is to deal with any potential threat he alerts us to, evacuate the family, deal with the intruder, scare off the wildlife, the usual male thing. Being a moderately light sleeper, I come awake fast and alert to deal with things, always have. It's a behaviour pattern that has it's origins in my early childhood, when older brother liked to play tricks on me, like reaching up the bed to grab my leg and make me squeal. He was disabused of this fun packed pursuit when I learned to wake up fast and hit him, harder than a three year old should be able to. Now I am older the reflex is hard wired in, and I respond to slight, out of place noises. Our girls when they lived with us, had strict instructions not to sneak into our room, but to make as much noise as they could if entering, which I would duly sleep right through. Wife still swears I can hear people breathing fifty feet away at the wrong place and time, but will happily snore right through a brass band playing 'The Liberty Bell' right outside our bedroom window. Nevertheless, to have one's sleep patterns constantly disrupted is highly detrimental to one's well being. One gets snappy and very difficult to live with.

At first I couldn't understand it, there has been no disturbing wildlife outside, no tracks or other traces. Dog's little den was comfortable, he gets properly walked and fussed over before bedtime. Nothing in his routine has changed. For three nights we tried to ignore him until it began to dawn that this problem wasn't going to go away on it's own. First step; removed night light from his room. That worked for a half a night. Only problem is that a rabbit running across next doors lawn kept setting off their security lights and off he went again. Okay, took me a night to work that one out, put an opaque cloth over his box which gave us half a nights respite. Second step, moved his bed away from the outside wall into a quieter place. Found his bed all kicked up, rumpled and uncomfortable the next morning. Third step; Checked his bed and cleaned it thoroughly; washed and groomed him properly; still precious little respite. At this point I was reduced to near hopeless apoplexy. I wasn't getting a good nights sleep, and my temper was suffering. Nothing I did seemed to work. Next move was going to the nearest drug store and getting some serious sedation. Not for Dog, but for me. A good nights sleep, for me, was beginning to become a rarity.

Last night, Wife suggested "Maybe he wakes up and frets because he's lonely. It's awfully quiet around here at night. Why don't we put the Radio on in his room at low volume?" So I did. Tuned it to an all night classic rock station at low volume and left Dog to settle. Last night I got a full, uninterrupted nights sleep. Blessed repose. Dog made nary the barest whimper. Wonderful. I feel much better today.

Big time brownie points to Wife for being a genius. If only it works for two nights on the trot I will deem it a runaway success.

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