I crate Katie at night. Unlike some, I don’t think it is particularly cruel. She seems happy enough when put to bed, and doesn’t seem at all anxious when I let her out in the morning. She can be destructive when left alone and as she was already 5 when she came to me, I don’t think that will change much. So I crate her – I don’t trust the lounge would be recognisable in the morning otherwise.
But there is another side of this.
Before she arrived, I had quite terrible sleeping habits. Because I live alone, it is very easy for me to get involved with something and not realise the time, ending up creeping up to bed in the early (sometimes not so early) hours of the morning.
Because I work from home, it is actually possible for me to keep snoozing the alarm clock until ten to nine, and yet still be at my desk by nine.
Really bad, unhealthy habits. Especially when you consider I also suffer from sleep apnoea.
Since I adopted her, my sleep has changed. She normally goes for her last wee at about 10pm or a bit later. If it is fair outside, I take a cuppa and sit outside with her, in no particular rush, for about 20 minutes, while she sniffs and pees. Then into her crate with some treats. The lounge light is dimmed way down, and I usually sit in the same room as her, either watching TV or reading my ebook, until I can see she is settled. Then up to bed – sometimes as early as 11pm, but not often later than midnight. Then I am up at 7am to let her outside and give her her breakfast.
Afterwards, we either have a cuddle or a game, then she will often take herself back to her crate again, or go onto the sofa. This generally leaves me with an hour to relax, read or do Facebook, before having to start work. Or sometimes I do a few chores, clear the plates from the draining board, put a load of washing in, whatever. But I am not in a rush to do anything.
This change has happened over the last 6 months. As a result, I am getting longer, more regular and better sleep, and I am the absolute opposite of stressed in the morning. It’s quite astonishing the difference another creature in the house makes.