Raise the Alarm

When you get a greyhound (or any dog for that matter), you may think that they will be easier than kids. OK, with a dog, maybe you still can’t go out or travel on a whim like you used to. And maybe also you’ll have to be home to feed the hounds or they become quite grumpy and raise a fuss. And for sure they will sometimes embarrass you in public (the hounds that is, but is this sounding familiar, parents of human children?). Yet, at least you’ll be able to sleep in the morning. Unlike human children who will wake at the crack of dawn and come running into your room to wake you in some rude way, your dogs will sleep politely until the master gets up. NOT.

Bettina in mums bed
Greyhounds (and dogs in general) have unerring internal clocks. Make no mistake, readers. They know exactly when it’s time to go out. They know exactly when it’s time for dinner. They know exactly what day of the week it is and if it’s the day that you’re supposed to take them to the doggy store. Formal and informal studies have been conducted and dogs always seem to know when it’s time for mum or dad to be home from work.

In my case, when I adopted my first greyhound, Girly Girl, I was hoping to find a new best friend. A companion. I was not expecting to get a four legged, fur covered, pooping and peeing alarm clock. Since that first naïve moment, all of my greyhounds have functioned as alarm clocks. I admit this has, on a couple of occasions, been to my benefit. When my alarm clock fails to go off and I’m in danger of oversleeping and getting to work late, I can count on the furry kids to make sure I’m up and ready on time. There is one small problem with this unexpected canine benefit. You cannot set a greyhound. No matter how hard you try. I suspect it is the same with all dogs, based on my informal market research.

My kids have very definite ideas as to when we should all get up in the morning. Generally it’s about 30-60 minutes before I had planned to rise. First, Bettina will come galumphing in to my room (if she is not already sleeping on the bed with me). She will give a series of high pitched, short whines. She is persistent. I can tell her it’s not time, or to go lay down. Once in awhile she will acquiesce in this but most of the time, she will walk out to the living room, and directly back to my room. OK it must be time now…

I have fashioned a sort of snooze button on the alarm clock that is Bettina. If she has not slept with me the night before, I can insist she join me on the bed. Once she joins me, she’ll forget her original mission for awhile and settle in for a short nap with mumma. Unfortunately for mumma, Bettina is fairly smart. She is learning this trick and she has been developing some counter measures. She’ll be sure to cuddle up right near my head and lay her head on my shoulder.

I may try to go back to sleep but it’s not long before I get the feeling someone is watching me. Opening one eye, sure enough, I see Bettina’s face, about an inch from mine, staring at me intently. Get up mumma? Sometimes, if I’m determined to sleep in a bit, I may be able to ignore the stare. Bettina has developed a secondary offense for this situation.

With her head still on my shoulder, a mere inch from my face, she sneezes. You would expect that the noise directly in your ear would make sleep difficult, but what is more bracing is the unknown liquid-ish substance that she spews on the closest side of my face. For my own sanity, I don’t think too much about what it is she’s just sneezed all over my eye and cheek. But I can assure you, it does tend to chase all thoughts of sleep from your mind.

Blue greyhound in tie-dye
If Bettina is unsuccessful rousing me out of bed, Blue wages his campaign. He sleeps in the living room, in his crate. Just about the time I’ve gotten Bettina settled and I begin to doze off, I hear Blue’s low pitched whine from the general direction of his crate. He really hams it up and makes it sound like he’s lost his mother and his best friend all in one day. It is quite forlorn and instead of sleeping, you reflexively want to make sure he’s all right.

Having learned that he’s playing me, I try to ignore the whines and go back to sleep. After 10 minutes or so without success, Blue heads for the bedroom. He is an old man so when he gets up in his crate, there is much grunting and groaning. He bangs the sides of his crate and rattles whatever he can rattle in the process. I listen as he makes his way from his crate to my bedside. If he can reach my face, he generally sticks his cold nose on my cheek or, even better, in my ear. He renews his whine.

If I keep my eyes shut and try to ignore that, he starts prancing back and forth in front of my bed, whining. With Blue I can say, “It’s not time yet buddy.” I may have to say it a couple times but sometimes I can get him to go back to his crate. In 15 minutes, he’s back. On rare occasions I can get him to go back for another 15 minutes. I have learned from experience that I better not try for a third snooze because at that point, he gives up on me and pees in the kitchen. The only thing less pleasant than springing out of bed in the morning because you hear urine hitting the kitchen floor is the sound of a hound vomiting. Usually on one of their beds, or on the carpet. Never ever on a surface that is easy to clean.

Sometimes, when Blue comes into the room for the first time, Bettina jumps up from her position on my shoulder. She assaults the other ear while Blue works the one closest to him. Or she joins in his chorus of whines. Or she tramples me in her attempt to get a better look at Blue. Essentially there is no winning when you get the double team. Getting up is the only option. Yes friends, houses with canines never get to sleep in and we’re never late for work. Yay.


  1. I am laughing my head off! We have a few variations, but you have basically summed up what happens every morning...Sunday through Saturday. Freedom, Casper and Nikki don't do weekends.

  2. I will consider myself lucky that my kids let me sleep in. I go to sleep with 2 dogs on the bed, but by morning, somehow I have all four sometimes.

  3. This sounds like our house too. Except on Monday mornings, when we have to get up to go to work, they act exhausted and snuggle down to look so comfortable that it really makes you want to get up, NOT!

  4. hahah! If Barbie is shut in her crate she wakes me up with that whine, like Blues. If she isn't shut in her crate she just comes and licks my face! I always get up and let her out straight away because I hate, hate, hate cleaning up pee :/

  5. that was a fantastic story, really made me smile. i especially liked hearing about your face full of sneeze yucky!!! :) xxx


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