For almost 50 years, I have slept with a small dog in the bend of my knees. Of course, it hasn’t been the same dog. I don’t have the Guinness Book of World Records on red alert. However, a number of the dogs have made it comfortably into double digits.

I realized last night that I always select a bedspread based on how it will hold up in the washing machine and dryer. And I never buy anything embellished with decorations that will snag a toenail, or that could be chewed off and choked on. I also yield the covers to a cold senior dog, but will occasionally challenge the right of a warm, fat puppy to my half of the blanket.

My husband says that when I am out of town, our old dog completely occupies my side of the bed, including my pillow. Toby is less than enthusiastic about sharing, and has only recently compromised with me on the issue when I gave him a down comforter all his own. He arranges it into a cloud, and puts his little body into the middle of it. The other day I sent it to the laundry room, and he was distraught until it re-emerged. He spent an hour or so fluffing it and nosing it into his version of perfection, and settled down only when the lights went off and David told him to lie down and be quiet. He glared, but he did so.

We usually have an old dog and a young dog in residence. The reason we promote as rationale is that the young dog keeps the old dog company, and the old dog is a good influence on the young dog. However, I believe that the real reason is that we will not live in a world unoccupied by dogs, even for a moment. And since even beloved dogs age, we utilize the rotation system to cushion our own inevitable pain.

There has never been a dog in our lives who wasn’t loved and adored. We will never have a life without one being loved and adored.