Making room for our dog, Albie.

After 13 years with my husband, we no longer sleep in the same bed most nights. More often than not, he’s staying at sofa city, sweetheart. He keeps blankets out there on the big, leather couch, where he watches Firefly or Cosmos or some other show I’m really not interested in. But he isn’t there becuase of the entertainment dispute or even because we have grown tired at looking at each other. See, it’s not that we don’t want to, it’s just that we don’t fit with both of us and Albie. And sometimes the kid gets in there too. It’s a queen bed, damn it, not a village! The other night I kept waking up half off the bed with Albie just sprawled across the whole thing. It’s just less of a hassle to have my husband, and sometimes the dog too, stay out. The benefits are that I can get to sleep early since I wake up early too. But still, I miss marital late night snuggles. I miss stolen kisses. Although, honestly, they all have to be stolen now because the dog always wants in on the action. If I hug my son, the dog has to join in. He wholeheartedly insists by inserting his giant body into the situation. If I kiss my husband, it’s only a moment of time before that big furry face is shoving in there too. No one gets love without me, he barks. If there’s time for cuddles, I volunteer as tribute!

He is so needy, like my son was as a baby. I get why people call their pets their “furbabies”, although I can’t quite get behind that. This is very similar to having another kid. Both the dog and my son were miserable unless they were touching me somehow, constantly reassured that I’m here. Real talk? It annoyed me both then and now. Yes, being someone’s caregiver is a beautul thing. But sometimes, I need space. Sometimes, I’m fine sleeping alone. And just like with my son, I’m waiting anxiously for the puppy to grow up. He is still a puppy, really; he’ll be 2 years old at the end of April. I remember wanting so badly for my son to walk so that I could put him down. I was so ready for him to take some steps, even if that meant he was taking them away from me. I feel like that sounds mean, but it’s not. My dog is not independent, but I know (I assume? I hope?) that this is temporary. And one day the relationship I have with my dog will have evolved somewhere else as we continue to grow together . Maybe one day Albie will feign indifference to me, like how my son ignores me now at 11, locking himself in his room to do his own thing. Will the dog do his own thing one day? Will he be more distant and I’ll feel sad thinking about how as an 80 lb puppy he used to cuddle with me? He puts his whole head on mine, sometimes. My aunt looking at pictures of him said she never saw a dog hold somebody like he does. My dog is big, my son is small: Albie is always the big spoon. He’s a good spooner. Who am I kidding? He’s not going anywhere. We’re going to need a bigger bed.

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Julie Bee
Julie Bee loves taking adventures with her gigantic dog and more regular sized kid and posting pictures of said adventures on Instagram. She resides in a very tiny, picturesque mountain town where she is a Special Education teacher. She can sometimes be found reading poetry behind microphones but more often is on the couch watching reruns of Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Gilmore Girls.

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