She'd sleep downstairs, she announced a little too quickly, I felt. I am a stubborn man, but not a stupid one. If I wanted to spend any time with my wife, I was going to have to be flexible.
This is why we've moved all the furniture out of the TV room and replaced it with a futon mattress, which we've shoved to one side so the dog doesn't trip over anything during recovery.
I take the side of the bed closest to the wall and farthest from the dog. Harley gets his own bed, a small mattress placed within reach of my wife and covered with his favorite blanket.
Here I should mention that the dog is a 113-pound bouvier des Flandres, a breed known in its native Flemish as Vuilbaard for dirty beard.
A bouvier is not a delicate creature. Picture a black bear with a horse chest, Prussian whiskers, and the determination of Dick Cheney.
I love Harley, but I have easily resisted his charms at night. Apparently, this puts me in the minority. Nearly half the dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners told surveyors for the American Pet Products Association earlier this year that they let their animals into their beds. Two California vets reported about the same time that sleeping with pets was potentially more dangerous than having bedbugs, with risks running from cat-scratch disease to the bubonic plague.
My objection has more to do with the fact that Harley is an animal and I need my sleep. Plus, for the moment at least, he has to wear one of those plastic lamp shades - at the vet's they called it an Elizabethan collar. It's about the size of a satellite dish, and he knocks about in the dark with the grace of a rutting Triceratops.
We rescued Harley from the pound. He's 5 now and returned from a deep snow this winter favoring his back right leg.
At first, we treated him for Lyme disease - he's had it before. He got better, then worse. A specialist confirmed this summer that Harley had been soldiering through a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament.
Surgery involved planing the tibia and making a mechanical adjustment so his bones hinge without requiring the support of the damaged ligament.
Harley came home from the procedure limping heavily, and sporting a sad, shaved leg with a poodle's puff at the foot. Even my cold heart couldn't handle the thought of him howling all night alone.
So we're all confined to our cave, which has required some sacrifices. For one, we can't watch baseball in bed because Harley likes to rush the screen every time he sees a pitcher go into his windup. Best I can tell, he thinks they've got his ball.
The first night of our new arrangement, I came to bed to find him not in his sidecar but on my pillow. It's not as if he was wearing my smoking jacket or anything, but I felt a bit displaced and decided to assert some alpha-ness. This irritated my wife. But I held firm and led the dog to his own bed.
A couple of nights later Harley perched on my wife's pillow. She let him be. I groused, but was tired and didn't think about it again until I woke up in the middle of the night with four paws resting against my back and calves. Actually, he was quite accommodating.
I can't wait until my wife and I can go back upstairs to our own bed, a nice, high, four-poster number. We're going to have to put it on stilts.
Contact columnist Daniel Rubin at 215-854-5917, email@example.com,
or @danielrubin on Twitter. Read his blog at philly.com/blinq