I have given up trying to stop the new D-O-G from sleeping on my bed. It has become a nightly battle of wills and cunning which, to be frank, I'm normally too tired to bother to fight.
The night starts well. I go upstairs, Jade (the D-O-G) races ahead of me and jumps onto the duvet, looking guilty but hopeful. I order her off and into her own bed. She obeys, giving me those hard-to-resist, sadly reproachful, bambi eyes. I get undressed, climb into bed (my bed, not hers) and turn off the light.
I start to fall asleep. After a few minutes, I hear a close-up snuffling, accompanied by a wave of dog-food-flavoured halitosis, as Jade checks my eyes are shut. There's a brief scuffling noise then a sudden thump and the whole bed shakes as four stone of labrador leaps over my body and curls up beside me.
The first few days I tried ordering her off and - when that failed- physically kicking her off. The result? Go back to the words "I start to fall asleep..." and re-read. So I gave up. I now share my bed with a huge, hairy black - and above all RESTLESS - hound. At 6am, no matter how late I went to bed, she shifts round until she's standing on my head and licks my eyes - yes, my eyes - until I wake up enough to get up and let her out.
Oh, and yes - I have tried shutting her out of the bedroom. Experimentation has shown that it is easier to sleep with a heavy dog on your bed than with all-night-long scratching, howling, whining and barking outside the bedroom door.
I might have to admit defeat. I'll give my bed up entirely to Jade, and spend the night myself curled up in the dog's bed. At least I'd get a full night's sleep.