Ranger has always been allowed to sleep on our bed, with certain caveats.
No pillow sharing. Ranger's place is at the foot of the bed, and he's fine with that.
No monopolizing the blankets. In fact, Ranger doesn't like our fuzzy comforter so he lies only on this sheet that I so generously provided for his comfort.
All in all, Ranger is a very agreeable bedfellow and has warmed my toes on many a chilly night. On days when I must get up early, though, he is a terrible influence and has often caused me to be late.
In the three weeks since he was attacked and injured by another dog, Ranger's life has gone right back to normal.
Oh, well, certainly the first few days were a bit rough, but since then:
His cheerful and bouncy disposition is back in full force.
His wounds have healed far better than the vets predicted.
And after going silent for most of that first post-accident week, his automatic time-for-my-walk! alarm system is fully functioning once again.
For the most part, Ranger has returned smack dab to his old schedule, and much to our amusement, refuses to recognize a few needed changes to his routine.
Case in point: for the last decade, Ranger has taken two pills at bedtime, rolled up into balls of cheddar cheese. His clever nose demands that we create a third, empty cheese ball as a decoy; rather than give him time to sniff round the first two and possibly pick out the pills (which he did a dozen times before we got wise), we hold that blank ball out for last so he will gulp down the medicine-filled cheese balls in his hurry to get them all.
Since the accident, we've been giving him two extra pills at bedtime - a dose of antibiotics that was first prescribed to ward off infection from the dog bites but now seems to be keeping his skin healed and healthy.
Which means that Ranger now gets five - five! - cheese balls at bedtime each night.
However, creature of habit that he is, he often turns and walks out of the kitchen after three cheese balls, oblivious to the two remaining tidbits awaiting him on the counter. Takes a fair amount of prompting to coax him back in to finish the party.
Once he remembers the drill, Ranger is more than happy to eat the last two treats.
The simple face is that he is used to three cheese balls. Not five. And the old habit is still firm in his sweet red noggin.
* * * * *
But just as he refuses to adapt to some changes to his regime, my boy has learned some new tricks all on his own.
Here's the one that's really got me up in arms.
Ranger no longer tolerates my late-night work sessions.
Before the accident, he would stay downstairs with me and snooze nearby as I typed and scrolled till two or three a.m., moving from the couch to the floor under my desk and back again. Always patiently did he wait for me to finish up, and when I turned off the lights and called to him, he would groggily rise to his feet and clamber up the stairs to the bedroom where he slept all night long.
But no more.
Now, around midnight, when the rest of the family migrates up the stairs toward bed, Ranger comes in to find me at the computer and begins a barrage of barking and whining noises calibrated to wake the dead. Utterly inconsolable, he pauses for nothing but the occasional drink of water until he gets what he wants.
And what he wants is for me to snap off the lights, close down the computer, and head upstairs.
Honestly, my best guess is that he wants to fall into his deep sleep for the night without having to worry about my movements.
But the bottom line is that my ornery dog is now telling me when to go to bed.
Not exactly sure how I feel about his headstrong ways. But it's nice to know that my boy, Ranger, is feeling good and sassy again.