Bruce Sallan: I love my wife, I love my boys and I love my dogs. In that order. Because I remarried after a contentious divorce, the blending of the family -- my two boys, my two dogs and me with her and her one dog -- was a challenge. She had to deal with more adaptation, without a doubt, but we had to deal with a woman in our midst -- one who, surprise surprise, actually cared about cleanliness and order.
For me, the biggest challenge in dealing with the mostly positive changes in our all-male household was giving up the warmth and companionship of having my dogs in bed with me. They were there for me in the darkest hours of my separation and divorce -- when my boys were with their mom; when our then-large home felt cavernous and terribly quiet and empty -- and I think they literally saved my sanity.
Those who know me well -- my current wife included -- might question my sanity at any given moment, but I continue to credit my dogs with helping me overcome those lonely and honestly scary times. Their warmth, their closeness, their unconditional affection and love kept me going.
Now my wife says, "No dogs in bed." It's not a negotiation or a discussion; it's a decree. Even having them there when she's not there is unacceptable, given their telltale leave-behinds of hair and/or dirt. And putting a special sheet over the bed doesn't hide their presence from her eagle eyes and lint brush. When I get presented with that hard evidence, I plead guilty -- and I'm banished to the guest room with my tail between my legs.
I know that my wife provides a lot more genuine warmth than the dogs -- and the level of intimacy is certainly greater -- but I sure miss having my dogs in bed with me. Why can't we all bunk together? Oh well ... what do I know? I'm just a guy.
Do YOU let your dogs sleep with you? Or is this something you and your spouse fight about, too? Comment below.