Recently I had the misfortune to be sick for a couple of days. It was nothing serious, just a really bad sinus issue that wouldn’t drain. I’m not sick very often…in fact, my last cold was about a year ago. But, when I get sick, I’m usually pretty sick, and typically need to rest and recover for a few days.
Enter Rugby James.
On normal, healthy days, I rarely hang out on the sofa in a prone position. I generally keep going like the Energizer Bunny, until about 9:00 pm, and then I start to crash! At that point in my day, I simply go to bed, and Rugby couldn’t be more pleased with that. He often likes to go to bed around 9:00, so when I suggest going and he doesn’t have to bark me to bed, he’s one happy dog! He’d rather not nag, but when pushed into it, he can bark me off to bed like a champ!
However, when I’m sick, I’m often laying either in bed or on the sofa. Rugby looks at these situations as prime snuggle opportunities, so I know that I’m going to be inundated by a twenty-three pound furry heating pad with long legs! There’s a delight that I see in his eyes when he observes that I’m getting into a prone position, and he springs into action! He’s not a little dog who lets any kind of wonderful snuggle opportunities slip past his ever watchful eyes!
I appreciate the sentiment! I really, truly do. It’s sweet, thoughtful, and completely self serving on Rugby’s part, but he is a little dog, after all, and I can’t blame him for wanting to capitalize on a good thing when he sees it! And to be perfectly honest, when I’m sick, it’s nice to have a family member who dotes on me and wants to make me feel all loved up. (I know that Rugby is truthfully only caring about how he feels in these situations, but I can fantasize right along with the best of them!)
I typically choose the sofa when I’m sick, because I know Rugby feels very strongly about snuggling me back into good health, and I would rather not have to deal with being sick and also dog fur in my bed! (Because of Rugby’s aggressive issues, I also keep my bed as a dog free zone). Rugby is extremely vocal and persuasive, and that comes with lots of grrrrring and barking, so I generally move to the sofa when I’m sick just to help keep the peace at home! I honestly don’t mind if he gets on the sofa with me, as long as he asks permission first. The bed…not so much!
He can hardly wait for me to get the soft, fuzzy, snuggle blankie out before his bright little eyes light up and he starts the pleading looks. It’s ridiculous the way this dog has mastered that sweet, soft beg in those two little dark chocolate drops peeking out of mountains of fluffy, marbled fur. He’s almost become a professional beggar, and my show dogs had nothing on Rugby’s pleading looks! He caps off his generous snuggle offer with a gentle brushing sweep of his fluffy tail, which slowly wags over his back to and fro like a metronome keeping precise beat for a musician. How can I saw no to such sincerity? Besides that, he knows he clearly has a strong advantage because he’s playing to my compromised mental and physical state. I’m too weak to fight him off, so I succumb to the power of the paw and those beautiful, drippy eyes!
And who says that dogs are just dumb animals?
In my mind and dreams anyway, I have this image of a sweet, dutiful puppy, who sleeps at the foot of the sofa, carefully making sure that I have all the room that I require, and looking up at me with adoring eyes from time to time. However, when dreams and reality collide, sometimes the results aren’t pretty!! Let me just say that we both have really great intentions, and the dream that we both share is a good one. But that’s really where the similarities end!
The honest truth is that Rugby James is a sofa pig. He is. He just is. Yes, the sweet, fluffy dog with those killer eyes and sincere angelic look is actually simply plotting a way to take over the sofa. I’m convinced that is his ultimate goal in life when I’m sick.
He knows that the house rules require that he has to ask permission to get up on the sofa, and he’s extremely good about using his manners. He can say, “Please” just about better than any dog I know. That’s part of the issue for me. When he’s so sweet to ask, and when he uses such wonderful manners, I sometimes feel like a Grinch if I tell him no, especially when I don’t feel well. So I cave in, and generally live to regret that decision, because it’s the exact same scenario played out each time I’m sick.
Every. Single. Time.
When I invite Rugby to get up on the sofa with me, I always direct him down to my feet where there is extra room for him. He gleefully jumps up at the far end of the sofa, no problem whatsoever. But he quickly tries to maneuver his way to the middle of the sofa, where he can score a nap laying right on top of me, successfully pinning me to the sofa and ensuring that I can’t leave or easily boot him off. In his heart of hearts, Rugby just loves a “puppy pile” where he can wallow all over his humans as he naps! And, if he’s wallowing on me, he’s successfully stealing a large part of the sofa at the same time! He’s stealthy, this one is!!
I have to be quick to make sure that I prevent him from plopping down where he wants, because if I wait that extra nanosecond, he anchors himself in place and then there’s no winning in the battle for the sofa. He’s not only adorable, but he’s cunning and quick like a fox! He always looks a bit disappointed that I’m not allowing him to wallow all over me, but trust me on this one: this story always has the very same ending, and it’s not a good one!
At the foot of the sofa, he generally curls up in a ball, filling the adequate space quite nicely and he settles right down…wistfully looking at me from time to time. It’s blissful for a while….maybe fifteen to thirty minutes anyway. I look at him and smile, and in a few short minutes, I watch my little love sponge close those little chocolate brown eyes of his, and drift off into a sweet nap and I think to myself, “Life is good.”
After time goes by, Rugby starts to make his move. He’s ninja-like….quiet and sneaky….stealthy and cunning. He yawns….and stretches…..a big yawn, and a bigger stretch! And so it begins! As he stretches, he invades my space, and begins a systematic takeover of the sofa! And he’s so stinking cute while he does it! It’s genius!! I’m completely disarmed by his good looks and that’s a brilliant plan!
What I really don’t understand is why Rugby thinks that he needs two sections of the sofa for his naps. There are three sections to the sofa. Clearly I need at least two of them. I’m five foot four inches tall. My full size doesn’t easily fit on one section unless I’m simply sitting on the sofa, which I rarely do when I’m sick. I prefer to lay down, or at the very least, assume some similar position with my legs fully stretched out on the middle and third sections. Rugby clearly doesn’t think I should be entitled to that much sofa real estate.
What really doesn’t make sense to me, is that we have a matching loveseat on the opposite wall of the den. If Rugby really wants two comfy sofa sections for napping, he could ask for permission to nap on the loveseat! He could easily have the entire thing all to himself! But noooooo! Rugby wants my two sofa sections, he wants his little puppy pile, and he is pushy and rude to get it all!
As the afternoon progresses, Rugby ends up laying on me in some form or fashion. He is a master of attaching himself like Velcro to human body parts! After a while, twenty-three pounds of a sleeping dog on your legs or feet will actually cause you to lose all feeling in them. And really, who ever wants to disturb a sleeping dog? Rugby looks so cute while he’s sleeping! He is so angelic as he takes one deep breath after another. My heart always sighs a big awwwww when I see him blissfully napping on me.
Eventually, I simply have to wake him up because I can’t feel my legs or feet, and I’m starting to cramp up after laying in the same position for too long. When I wake him up, I always get his stink eye as I tell him that he simply has to move. He often gets up and hops down on the floor, giving me a dirty look as he goes. When I’m sick, I move his dog pillow bed so that it’s right next to the sofa to give him a cozy spot near to me, but the honest truth, is that when I’m sick, Rugby seems to think that his snuggles will make me well again!
Fortunately, I’m not typically sick for very long, which is a blessing in more than one way! I can only take so much fighting over sofa real estate with Rugby James! However, at the end of the day, these memories will be filed away into a very special spot in the file cabinet of my heart. His sofa stealing behavior is both an annoyance and endearing, and it’s something that has always made Rugby a unique dog in my world. All of my dogs have been so very special to me, but the memories I will have of Rugby’s Stealthy Sofa Stealing will earn him a very large trophy in my heart and smiles from ear to ear!