When we adopted Smokey, we knew that we were eventually going to let him sleep in bed with us. However, since Michael had never had a dog before, he worried that a 10-week-old puppy might have an accident in bed. We bought a cage to be Smokey's crate and put it on the floor a foot away from my side of the bed so he would feel close to us.
One night after a couple of months had passed, just before Michael turned out his bedside lamp, I noticed that Smokey was biting down on the wire of his cage and trying to get closer to me. I checked with an online schnoodle discussion group that I belonged to and asked if he was old enough to sleep with us. After being told that most of them welcomed their puppies in bed a day or two after adopting them, we decided to let Smokey sleep with us.
You've never seen such a happy dog in your life. He positioned himself between Michael and me and licked us and just about wagged off his tail. After a few minutes of snuggling with him, we turned off the light.
But we didn't get much sleep that night. Every ten to fifteen minutes, all night long, Smokey would reach out to touch one or the other of us with his forepaw. I think that he couldn't believe that his little doggie dream had come true and that he was finally being allowed to sleep with the adults in his "pack."
The second night was a little bit better, but Smokey still continued to reach out and touch us to reassure himself that he was really in our bed. Michael had a harder time than I did sleeping through the on-and-off contact, so we eventually trained Smokey to sleep on the other side of me. I tend to sleep in fetal position facing the edge of the bed, so Smokey curls up in a ball next to my chest. If it's a warm night, he will eventually move down to the foot of the bed, but usually he stays next to me all night long.
As I was thinking about much reassurance Smokey needed that he was really and finally with us, I was reminded of one of the central difficulties of being human. We cannot see God or touch him. Sometimes, it is hard to believe in his love, especially when things in our lives go differently from what we'd hoped and we can't understand God's plan. Just as Smokey kept reaching out to Michael or me, we keep asking God for a sign. In both cases, the love is there all the time. We just need a little help believing in it.