Recent Columns
Autographed books from
Canadian Author Series
Contact William

Back to columns page
Me and my dog don't sleep together.....very well.

The vast majority of people who seek professional advice already know what their problems are and quite probably, what solutions will be suggested. That's precisely why I will not pursue the professional services of a sleep consultant. I already know how that session is going to play out.

Sleep Consultant: "What's the problem?"

Me: "You know, I'm glad you're sitting down, Doc, because I'll bet you've never heard this one before...I can't sleep."

Sleep Consultant: "Not at all?"

Me: "Well, I sleep fine for the first four or five hours then I'm wide awake for three or four hours."

Sleep Consultant: "Any idea what's causing this problem?"

Me: "No, not really. No stress. No anxiety. I'm tired. I want to sleep, but I can't."

Sleep Consultant: "Are you disturbed by some sort of sound?"

Me: "Well, sometimes I might hear snoring?"

Sleep Consultant: "Your wife snores?"

Me: "Well, I don't know. She might. But she lives in another city so unless she snores really, really loud.."

Sleep Consultant: "Then who?"

Me: "My dog, Jake."

Sleep Consultant: "Well, why don't you just shut the bedroom door?"

Me: "What good would that do?"

Sleep Consultant: "Well, you might not hear him snore."

Me: "We sleep in the same room."

Sleep Consultant: "In the same room!"

Me: "Okay, the same bed."

Sleep Consultant: "Well, there's your problem."

Me: "That's not the only problem."

Sleep Consultant: "What else."

Me: "Nightmares."

Sleep Consultant: "When did the nightmares start?"

Me: "When he was about five. I think they involve handcuffs and house cats."

Sleep Consultant: "So you sleep with a dog that snores and has nightmares?"

Me: "Plus there's a fair bit of farting going on."

Sleep Consultant: "Audible?"

Me: "Yeah, but those might be mine. Truthfully, I think that's what triggers his nightmares but hey..let him get his own sleep consultant."

Sleep Consultant: "What do you do when you can't sleep?"


Me: "I usually listen to all-night radio.a bunch of wackos selling growth hormones, conspiracy theories and religion."

Sleep Consultant: "And this helps?"

Me: "No, but it convinces me that I'm the most normal person on the planet."

Sleep Consultant: "Do you ever get up.maybe get a warm glass of milk?"

Me: "I used to but the pain was too much."

Sleep Consultant: "So you get headaches in the middle of the night?"

Me: "No, I stub my toe on the damn ramp every time I get up at night."

Sleep Consultant: "Ramp?"

Me: "Yeah, I had a ramp built into the end of the bed."

Sleep Consultant: "So you have trouble getting in and out of bed?"

Me: "Not me, the dog. It's a dog ramp."

Sleep Consultant: "Why?"

Me: "Because he's 13 years old and I don't want him jumping up and putting stress on his back knees."

Sleep Consultant: "So let me get this straight - you sleep with a dog who snores and has nightmares and comes in and out of bed on a ramp."

Me: "Plus sometimes he'll try and push me out of bed. I don't think he means to, he just straightens out his legs and pretty soon I'm clinging to the edge of the bed."

Sleep Consultant: "And you can't sleep that way."

Me: "Actually I can but before long I have this recurring dream in which I'm falling off a cliff and I wake up screaming."

Sleep Consultant: "Which causes anxiety and therefore insomnia."

Me: "No, actually he seems to sleep right through it. Maybe my screams are muffled by his nightmare whining and barking, I don't know."

Sleep Consultant: "Is that about it for all the noise?"

Me: "Did I mention the squeaking?"

Sleep Consultant: "Your dog squeaks."

Me: "No, but sometimes he rolls over on his Mister Magic Froggy and the frog squeaks. It's the cutest thing."

Sleep Consultant: "Have you thought about having the dog sleep in another room?"

Me: "I tried that and it didn't work."

Sleep Consultant: "Why not?"

Me: "There wasn't enough room for both of us on the couch."

Sleep Consultant: "What about making him sleep on the floor?"

Me: "No, my back couldn't take it."

Sleep Consultant: "So how long have you had this problem?"

Me: "About seven years, now."

Sleep Consultant: "And how long have you had this dog?"

Me: "About seven years now."

Sleep Consultant: "Do you see any correlation between your sleep problem and your dog?"

Me: "Ah ha. So you think the problem might be contagious?"

Sleep Consultant: "No, no, no. The problem is you and your dog sleep in the same bed amidst snoring, farting, screaming, whining and barking!"

Me: "Well, I knew all that before I came to you!"

Sleep Consultant: "Well, the only thing I can tell you is you must seek professional advice."

Me: "You mean go see another sleep consultant?"

Sleep Consultant: "No, you need to see a psychiatrist, probably a whole team of them. Frankly Mr. Thomas, you're nuttier than Michael Jackson mainlining Fruit Loops."

Me: "Well, that's easy for you to say. You don't listen to all- night radio."