Years ago when I lived in San Francisco, I had a roommate who used to comment that my Jack Russell terrier, Pozor, had a randy life.

There’s no question that Pozor had a good life. He was loved, spoiled, and had many adventures including living on a sailboat for a year.

Portrait of a Young Dog Named Pozor
Pozor in his window seat. San Francisco, 1995.

Like Pozor, Alvah, my second Jack Russell and named after you know who, also has that claim of living a randy life. No matter what a huge pain in the butt he can be—and he is often—Mr. Bessie is forgiven for all his mischief and misdeeds.

I believe it’s easier to love a dog more than a human. The only disappointment of loving an animal companion is that their lives are so much shorter. Okay, I’m getting a bit maudlin here and that wasn’t my intention.

Alvah in his window seat. Shelter Island, 2013.
Alvah in his window seat. Shelter Island, 2013.

It was to address this randy life that Mr. Bessie leads. Right now he is perched on a quasi-window seat that’s made from the back of the couch with blankets and pillows. He’s in a sunbeam basking in the warmth. If you try to shoo him away to clean the snot-smeared window, he gets cranky. Mr. Bessie is a creature of comfort, and if you disturb him be prepared for some teeth-baring.

I pretty much tolerate his grouchy moods. The Ol’ Man accuses me of being cowed of a 16.5 pound dog, but I understand that he’s in his space and doesn’t want to move. Actually, I don’t blame him. I know if I had such a cushy spot and was told to beat it, I’d bite too.

It’s funny how dogs can dictate our lives. When I lived on the Lower Eastside, an apartment we rented had a loft and we would take Po up to bed with us, usually by 10 pm. One evening, Po barked at the ladder and I assumed that maybe we had forgotten to bring down one of his toys. So up I went to retrieve the object, but I didn’t find anything. It turns out, he was telling me that it was bedtime. He was ready to go to sleep and we had to as well. He used to do this too when we had parties—everyone had to clear out by 10 pm because it was bedtime.

Alvah does pretty much of the same. I wonder whether it’s a JRT trait or whether it’s just Alvah and Po who have been allowed to be so pushy. In any event, I feel pretty lucky that he allows me to live here and to be granted the grace of his company and affection.

Alvah on the Couch.
Alvah on the Couch.
Alvah in his chair.
Alvah in his chair.

Where did Dad go?



  • Love this post, Rebeca! You aren’t alone with a bedtime warning…Muggle is not only a creature of comfort, but of habit too. We suspect some OCD. If I’m not already up, he climbs into the bed at 6:50, snuggles for 10 minutes, then demands I get up and feed him. If we aren’t otu the door for the morning walk at 7:30, I get barked at. We play fetch for 10-15 minutes at 9 a.m. When he’s throuh, he’s through and goes to his pillow, ignoring me if I want to play more. Night time, we have the reverse: feeding NLT 5:30 followed by a walk at 6 or we  get barked at. 9:30 we go upstairs to read (or else we get barked at). Lights out between 10 and 10:30, at which time he gets off the bed and goes to sleep in his crate. If we talk after lights out, we get growled at! Upstairs toys stay upstairs, downstairs toys down, or he gets frantic until everything is back where it belongs. Sounds like our pooches could comfortably share a house!

    • @lynnehinkey They’re so funny that way! Trumbo the beagle is the one who has to get up early to go out and to get his breakfast. And if we refuse to get up, he jumps on the bed and tries just about everything to get us out. We usually move pretty quickly because he has the weakest bladder among the three.