Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

Snow

Beau in the snow.

Les Winkeler

Several weeks ago the Mayo Clinic released the results of a study focused on the impact of humans sharing their bedrooms with their dogs.

Bottom line, sharing a room, or even a bed, with your canine companion is probably good for you and your dog, unless the dog is big enough to crush you, or your dog is so tiny you could smother it.

It was gratifying to see scientists reach that conclusion since we’ve shared a bedroom with a golden retriever for the past 20 years.

Buck, our family’s version of the greatest dog that ever lived, was the first golden to sleep next to our bed. He was a natural companion. He followed us wherever we went. Buck played with us. He comforted us when we were sick.

For most of his 15 years, he slept on a rug at the foot of the bed or a doggie bed in the corner. Buck acclimated us to dog dreams. I thought he was having a heart attack the first time his flinching and whining woke us in the middle of the night.

Jack was more of a free agent, almost to the point of being feline.

If he wasn’t mad at us, he’d sleep in the bedroom. Often times Jack would sleep on the couch, although he knew being on the furniture was forbidden. He mistakenly believed we couldn’t hear him jumping off the couch when we arose in the morning.

Now, we have Beau.

Beau certainly has the most unique “sleeping” habits.

Like all our goldens, Beau is acutely aware of the rhythms of life in the Winkeler home. When the television is turned off at night and we grab our tooth brushes, Beau heads for his bed beneath the bedroom window.

Generally, Beau is a sound sleeper, although in the middle of the night he might move to the carpet next to our bed, or even a spot in the hall just outside the door.

It is in the morning that sharing a room with Beau gets interesting.

The morning is his time of day and he knows it. The rising sun means Beau gets outside. It means breakfast is served. The sun shining through the window means Beau gets walked.

So, Beau makes us acutely aware of his feelings if we linger in bed beyond 7 a.m.

We’ll hear him get off his bed. He’ll walk a lap in the open space between the bed and the dresser. If we don’t stir, he’ll walk back to his bed, sigh loudly and lay back down. This routine is repeated every eight to 10 minutes.

If that doesn’t work, Beau resorts to the old cold nose to the back of the neck routine.

Tuesday morning, Beau took his impatience to a whole new level. We had already reached the nose in the back of the neck stage. The second time he nudged me, he added a deafening, toe-curling belch. Not only did it make me want to get out of bed, the noise, and accompanying aroma, made me want to sprint to the shower.

Now, I’m hoping that my reaction didn’t serve as positive reinforcement and the morning belch doesn’t become part of the morning routine.

LES WINKELER Is the outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at les.winkeler@thesouthern.com, or call 618-351-5088 / On Twitter @LesWinkeler.

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