Third Wheel

Alex often jokes that he feels like the third wheel of the family. Of course he’s kidding, but I’m starting to wonder if there’s some truth to that statement…

Photo Cred: Creeper Boyfriend

Photo Cred: Creeper Boyfriend

For the last 8 years I lived at home, I had two dogs that I loved and adored. They were my constant companions, both sleeping in my bed every single night: one at my feet and one resting her head on the pillow next to mine. For most of my tween and teen years, this sleeping arrangement was totally normal.

My first loves.

My first loves.

And then the boyfriend and I moved out on our own, away from my dogs and our families. I had no idea how much having dogs around affected my mood and happiness level.  So about 3 months into living alone, we started fostering dogs. As much as I wanted to adopt one straight away, I was finishing up school and so I figured this was a better option.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, many (most) of our foster dogs eventually ended up in our bed as well. I can’t help it – I love having a dog at my feet! It’s the most natural, wonderful way to sleep, in my opinion.

Our second foster, but the first we truly fell for.

Our second foster, Lola.

So of course it’s not a huge shocker that Rufus, once our foster dog and eventually our forever and ever companion, sleeps in the bed with us every single night. And while Alex very rarely complains (except for the occasional nights in which Rufus decides he’s a mega snorer), I wonder if it’s normal that our dog literally sleeps between us 95% of the time.


He has zero sense of personal space.

Ru is obviously my best friend on four legs, but Alex is my everything else. And of course Rufus and I are much more bonded than he and Alex, simply because we spend a lot more time together. Alex works a lot – something that I never ever blame him for, he’s just a lot busier than I am. And because of his schedule and his position in his company, it means that Rufus and I take a ton of day trips together, something I enjoy immensely. All of the hiking, training, and bonding we do has made us attached at the hip. But that’s no big deal, right? That’s totally normal for crazy dog folks like me and you…



I guess I just want to know what your experience is when it comes to your relationship as a family with your pup. And what are your thoughts on a dog in the bed? Even if you’re single, is it something you allow? I’m just curious to know how others deal with the dog-human dynamic of relationships and real life. We all blog about our dogs, so I figure this is the best place to be honest and open as well as get some honest feedback. Seriously – don’t hold back. Comment away! We’ll be waiting…




19 thoughts on “Third Wheel

  1. Both our boys sleep in bed with us. It didn’t start that way – we got Oscar as a puppy so he was crate trained, and he did perfectly fine in his crate all night. When he got older and we were certain he was potty trained (that dog has a bladder of steal), Dave was actually the one who broke and wanted him to sleep in the bed. I was going to stand firm, I really was! But that did not last. Oscar has been in our bed, under the covers, at our feet, ever since.

    When we started fostering, we had a “no fosters in bed” rule, because we wanted to have boundaries for Oscar and we wanted to make sure all our fosters had a solid crate train in their resume for potential adopters. We followed that rule firmly with Barney, Tucker, Kaylee, and Roxie. But Molly Tamale for some reason got the run of the house from day one, she was just so easy. She chose to sleep on the couch. We tried with all our might to crate train Cooper, but he just wouldn’t have it! I honestly can’t remember the progression of how it happened, but now while Oscar is our feet, Cooper is in between our pillows. Every. Single. Night.

    …and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Oh this makes me feel so much better, haha! We definitely stuck to crating fosters for the first week or two, but would eventually taper off once we felt they were comfortable with crate training. Every single time, it was totally my fault haha. I will take full responsibility for wanting to snuggle dogs 24/7. 😉

      I love picturing Cooper all snuggled up between you guys – it’s the way it should be!

  2. Hey Vanessa and Rufus! Thanks for your little love note on my post this morning. 🙂 I’m very happy to be back, and have been pouring over missed blog posts all morning.

    Is it sad that I can’t get to sleep without Delilah flopped across my feet? I’ve found that allowing my foster dogs to sleep with the “pack” at night actually helps them calm down and adjust to my home more quickly. Delilah is less grumpy with them, and sometimes I can tell all they need is a little bit of extra love. I do still work on crate training my fosters, but I do this during the day when I’m at work or out of the house.

    • I couldn’t agree more! When fostering, crate training is obviously important and it’s something I don’t skimp on, but oh my goodness cuddling in bed is the best!

      I also agree that allowing fosters to sleep in the same room with their foster family definitely helps with the bonding process – great point!

  3. This is such a funny question. 🙂 I love it. Elli sleeps in bed with my boyfriend and I every night. She is not happy to be away from her people. She’ll tolerate it, but she makes it abundantly clear that she would rather be in between two warm bodies.

    Riko and Elli are still learning how to relax around each other (Riko mostly). He is currently sleeping in his kennel at night. Whenever he’s out, he’s running around like a wild tazmanian devil. I don’t quite trust his bladder to last all night or for him not to wake up and then proceed to wake the rest of his family up as well (launching himself at our faces, mouth wide open!). Once I trust him more, we’ll have to figure out how to fit four bodies into a full size bed.

    • It’s been so fun to read about Riko! For whatever reason, blogger (that’s who you’re hosted by, right?) won’t allow me to comment on your blog when I’m on my laptop. If I’m on my phone or iPad, it’s not an issue. So strange.

      I like that someone so training-savvy as yourself also allows your pups in the bed – it makes me feel justified! 😉

      And yes, we’ve thought about how adding a possible 4th member permanently will make for an interesting sleeping situation. We’ll have to tackle that issue when we get there as well…

  4. A very interesting post. For many years, we didn’t let our dogs in bed. My heart dog, K, changed that. She started a tradition that has carried on. I sometimes wish that my husband and I didn’t almost always have a dog between us at night but it’s hard to change once it’s started. At one point, we had 3 Labs… all of whom slept in bed with us. That’s a lot of dog!

    I have a bond with my dog(s) like you do but it’s totally different from the bond with my husband. My pups are my constant companions while my husband is at work…. so he sometimes makes the same joke as Alex (about being the third wheel) but it’s not at all true.

    BTW, I answered your question from the comments on “A Long Journey – Part 2” over at my blog. The short answer is that I seem to be hard-wired to be an endurance athlete. It has come naturally to me since I was very young, and I cannot imagine *not* doing endurance sports most days of my life. I sure hope that the day doesn’t come when I can’t anymore! I’ll be lost if that happens.

    • Thanks – I saw your answer and responded back 🙂 I assumed it was something you’ve always had as a part of your life, simply because the way you write about it makes it feel as though it’s second nature.

      I’m also glad to hear your pups join you in bed as well – it warms my heart that we’re all on board here! 😉

  5. Hi Vanessa! My whole family are dog people so I am answering for us all. We all did crate training with our pups when they were little, but as they were all potty trained, they all sleep with us. My poor Dad had it the worse with their lab Molly. She would wiggle her way between him and Mom and eventually, literally push him out of bed. I don’t think it was on purpose, because she slept with me the same way, she loved to lay along you and stretch her legs out, but only if “you” were Mom or me. They now have Jessie the 5# poodle who sleeps with them and takes up a lot less room. It is a big comfort thing for all of us and our animals. My older brother and his wife have to juggle their Boston Terrier around or she would sleep between their heads every night, all night, but everyone seems to take it all in stride. My little brother and his wife sleep with a pug and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. (and sometimes their 8 year old when she has a bad dream) I guess it really comes down to how comfortable and secure you feel about it, not anyone else 🙂
    Marty’s Mom

    • I agree that it’s a personal decision and completely acceptable as long as everyone in the bed agrees! 🙂

      Also, I’m sure sleeping with a tiny poodle is a much more comfortable experience than an huge lab, haha. Rufus is about 50 lbs so he takes up a bit of room but he’s not a bed hog either.

  6. I see no problem with dogs in the bed. In our house it doesn’t happen all that often anymore though and I think it’s because they don’t like having to jump up and down. Dottie actually likes to sleep UNDER the bed, strange… And, Boomer most of the time sleeps beside me on the floor on his bed. But, whenever someone doesn’t feel well or is a little freaked out they find their way right to the middle of the bed!

    • Awww – that’s so sweet! I can totally understand older dogs being hesitant about sleeping up high. Rufus often sleeps on the floor when it’s gets exceptionally hot outside, but other than that, he’s all up in our space haha.

  7. My hubby makes the same sort of statements so you’re not alone 🙂 He used to work nights and weekends alot which gave me plenty of bonding time with the dogs. Bundy sleeps on our bed but Maxi doesn’t. Maxi has always been content to be on her own bed however Bundy hates sleeping alone, perhaps if Maxi had been a little more open to sharing when Bundy was a puppy then things would be different. We tried having them sleep in the garage and it worked for a while, until one of us caved in and then Bundy was back on the bed. Bundy sleeps smack in the middle, sometimes he likes to snuggle and at other times he sleeps at my feet, for a small-ish dog (20 kg staff) he takes up alot of room and hogs the blankets.

      • Oh yeah, he is like a dead weight and trying to get the blanket out from under him is near impossible 🙂 Bundy also has a tendency to follow me so I often end up sleeping on the very edge of the bed even when its just the two of us, does Rufus do that?

  8. I would love for Sammie to sleep in bed with us, but that’s my cats’ domain. I think they would be horrified if they not only had to share the apartment, but also the bed with “the beast.” Even if I didn’t have my cats, my boyfriend has a strict “no dog on the furniture” policy, and it’s been the longest ongoing disagreement we’ve had. I just want a cuddle buddy; he thinks 65lbs. is too big to be a lap dog. Le sigh… It just means I spend a lot of time on the floor with her!

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