You see, even though he's more than a year old, we still lock Kirby in his crate when we go to bed every night because we don't want him getting into something. We also do this as a favor to Baxter, because Kirby used to have a habit of pouncing on Baxter in his bed, which then usually resulted in a scuffle. That's just too much for any adult dog or person to deal with at 2 in the morning.
Lately we've been trusting Kirby a bit more, leaving him with full run of the house when we go away for short trips (otherwise it's the crate). His recent mystery illness caused some concern about that, but we've never seen any evidence of him eating anything in the house, so we're assuming what he got into he probably picked-up outside.
But even though we're trusting him more when we're away, night time is a bit different. Sleep is pretty sacred to us. Particularly lately, as we've both had a few too many work and moving trips that involved pre-dawn departures. So giving Kirby run of the house at night hasn't been on the agenda.
This morning was a sort of test. Would he sleep calmly or make it impossible for either Baxter or me to get any winks? Turned out, Kirby didn't want to sleep in his crate. He preferred to sleep on the floor next to the bed, which was fine with me. And to his credit, he allowed me to sleep a full two hours or more (past his breakfast time, I might add) before he finally let out a decisive bark.
I was so sound asleep I must not have caught any subtler signals. But the bark came through loud and clear. Groggy, I barely opened my eyes and rolled over to focus in on a very earnest looking Kirby sitting next to the bed looking up at me.
"What do you want?" I grumbled. (I'm fighting off a cold and a grumble was about all I could muster.)
"Rowf!" he replied, definitively. Lately he's taken to a single, sharp bark followed by a stare-down to indicate it's time to go outside and do his business. Maybe I'm crazy, but sometimes it sounds like he's saying "Out!" Particularly when I'm sleep-deprived.
"Ok, then." I got up and put on my sweats. He danced in front of me all the way down the hall, down the stairs and to the door. By dancing, I mean standing and bouncing up and down on his hind legs with his front paws waving in the air. It's really pretty cute and one of those "little dog" things that leggy Baxter has never had the anatomy to do successfully (instead Bax has developed a dance that involves spinning around in circles a few times).
Perhaps one of these nights we'll just leave the crate open all night long and see what happens. Maybe on some night when we can sleep-in, just in case...