She starts at the foot of the bed.

Nighttime. The hubs and I are enjoying our evening ritual of quiet solitude surrounded by piles of books, notebooks, and of course, her snoring in a neat lump near our toes. Everyone’s content, especially our third baby – seventy-five pounds of doggie floof.

She’s not only big but she stinks. Her shaggy carpet picks up everything, from pollen in the yard to strings of dental floss from the teen’s bathroom. Since we have allergies I was delighted to get the twofer of a non-shedding dog – no allergies, no dog-haired sofas. Little did I know she’d resemble a California roll after a romp in the park.

But we love her.

And so we skooch over each night and make room as she inches up the bed, like a full-grown human in a dog costume. We cast aside our books and notebooks as we squeeze outwards. At this point, we’re miffed. It is our bed. But she knows her audience, acting as if she’s landed on Planet Tuna Fish as she gazes up at us. She tacks on a satisfied moan and spreads out. The same one she made after the large cheese pizza disappeared off the counter. And the brick of blue cheese. And the two pounds of butter.

She is a dog who enjoys the good life. We tell ourselves this, clinging to the headboard to keep from falling onto the floor. Somehow, she is now the bed’s central candidate, taking up its entirety and rolling over for belly rubs. Her paw rests on my shoulder, reassuring me of her rightful spot. She stretches, kicking my husband’s foot off the corner. She is magnificent! A rival to Cleopatra no less.

Yawning audibly, she replaces her head into the warm indent of my pillow as I get up. We cast a familiar glance. This is not our bed at all.

And the couch is not so bad?


Cate Berry is an Austin-based children’s book author and mother of two. She also teaches writing workshops for young people at


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