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The Chinese Astrological Guide to Sleeping Dogs, Part One

Every dog who sleeps on the bed has a comfort M.O. Most of the time we never know
how we and they are going to coexist until there is a few months' worth of experience
behind us, but if you know your dog's Chinese astrological sign there might be a clue to
what you're in for. Or not. But it's fun to speculate, anyway.

The Rat: The Rat is clever, charming, disarming and known for an ability to accrue and
hang onto anything it holds in high value, often rising to the level of hoarding. It is also
protective of anyone or anything it cherishes and is a loyal companion.

Does your dog start the night at curled up at the foot of the bed, then, as you look down
and bid him a loving goodnight, wanders delicately up to return the sentiment, taking
care not to step on you, then, noses your face considerately, perhaps giving you a
gentle kiss and with a sigh, settles down on the pillow beside you -- or does he?
As sleep begins to claim you, he gets up quietly; you assume to return to his place at
the foot of the bed.

When you wake up in the morning -- before the alarm goes off -- you've scrunched
down in the bed during the night and what woke you up was discomfort coming from
your neck; it's a little stiff from sleeping with it bent at an odd angle. Your dog, the Rat, is
blissfully ensconced on your pillow at the head of the bed and he ain't moving until the
food dish clinks.

The Ox: Solid, methodical, determined (even stubborn, perhaps), the ox pays attention
to details, prefers to do things properly the first time and keep moving forward at his
own resolute speed; he will not be pushed, either forward or back. He gives the outward
appearance of being unmoved and stolid, but in truth has tender feelings that only
those he loves and trusts will ever see manifested.

The Ox dog, like most, begins the night in a place that you've designated as mutually
acceptable for the comfort of all bed occupants, and, like most, has no intention of
spending the night there.

You may be lulled into complacency by the Ox dog's regular breathing, believing him to
be contentedly slumbering as you drift off yourself, but bear in mind the calm, placid
demeanored Ox nearly always breathes in a relaxed, regular rhythm. As you fall asleep,
he begins his quiet assault on your mattress space.

First there is a probe, an innocent stretch, taking up a little more space, settling back
into a less tight ball; the spine begins to uncurl, the head lays back toward you, the body
gradually unwinds, extending to full length, back to you. He inches over slightly, moving
you by increments until he has room to work. Then he rolls over carefully, making
certain your sleep is not disturbed. Once he is facing you, full length, the last part of his
plan begins to unfold; paws delicately contact your body and begin an almost
undetectable traction. His legs extend, straightening as you move over. By the time you
wake up, the Ox is in the middle of the bed. Don't bother to try to move him. Even if you
succeed, you will never get back to sleep -- the hurt, tragic look in his eyes as he drags
his weary body out of the center of the bed will haunt your dreams.

The Tiger: In the words of Blake, “Tyger, tyger, burning bright . . .” The Tiger, while
charming and attractive, is ambitious and authoritative, and his ambitions center around
achieving and maintaining control. He is sensitive and can be prone to mood swings
and despite his magnetic personality has a Garbo-esque penchant for time alone.

Your Tiger dog isn't likely to commence the night compliantly at the foot of the bed. He's
going to claim his place from the get-go and he's not going to resort to tactics like
claiming his spot before you get into bed. He's a prowler and he'll come to bed when
he's ready. If you're in “his” spot, the Tiger will pounce up onto the bed and stalk
majestically to his chosen place. If you're in it, he will stand there, looking into your eyes
waiting for you to move. Any inertia on your part will result in being pawed and/or rooted
out with a nose or even experiencing your Tiger, whether large or small, simply laying
down in his spot whether you're under him or not.

Once he's ensconced for the night, you might even hear him purr.

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The Chinese Astrological Guide to Sleeping Dogs:  
Part I     Part II     Part III     Part IV