During Kallie’s recuperation, her physical freedom has to be limited to ensure she doesn’t injure her newly post-op knees. Crating her is preferred, but my girl never appreciated being crated. The only time it worked was when I brought all 9 lbs. of her home from the breeder as she snuggled quietly in the crate in the backseat on the three-hour ride home, making only intermittent squeaks. After that, time spent in the crate was anything but quiet. Being 80% housebroken when I got her didn’t make the crate necessary, and 100% barking and whining while in it made it less desirable for me (and presumably the neighbors).
I’d heard from trainers and books that a dog should look at her crate as a “safe place.” I loved the concept, but it never held true for my very individualistic furry daughter–and perhaps because of my true lack of caring if it ever really happened. On the few occasions she was forced to sleep in it (because it would be “good” for her), in the morning she pranced out of something akin to a crime scene. I tried all the tricks and tips before relenting. Until now, she’s had run of the entire apartment.
Once I got her home from the hospital after her surgery, I figured out a plan that wouldn’t include a crate. So I left the comfort of my Sleep Number bedroom for the small guest room in the back of the apartment. It has a futon with a pretty nice mattress on it. The frame pre-dates Ken…1997ish. I remember feeling very “money” when I paid not only to have it delivered, but also assembled. But the mattress is one we bought together our first year in Los Angeles. A staple for guests for years following and yet to come, I had no problem snuggling up on a bed that I once shared with Ken and Quantum during our first years in LA (before Sleep Number relegated it to couch/guest status).
The other night on that very mattress while Kallie snored rhythmically nearby on the floor as I began to drift off to that pre-sleep, twilight place I was transported somewhere else. To a place back in my bedroom where Ken was snoring nearby in the familiar darkness. Not scary or sad, it felt comfortable and then surreal as I emerged from sleep–a little surprised–into consciousness. I slept fitfully, wanting to keep an eye on Kallie, but that night each time I drifted off, the same thing happened. And it felt like the warm embrace of a life I so loved. And–even better–it was coming from a very important part of my present.