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daylight savings time and pets

13 November 2011

Daylight Savings Time is a challenge for pets.

It’s definitely challenged our Great Dane Puppy Luna.

It’s November 13, a week after the Daylight Savings Time change made Northern California afternoons a lot darker, and OD’s soccer practices a lot shorter.

It is pretty dark by 5:15 pm. If you’ve got a black lab playing in the backyard, they’ll completely disappear by 5:30 pm. It’s a bit like living in Alaska, albeit without the minus 40 weather or moose hunting opportunities with the father of Bristol Palin’s kid.

Daylight Savings Time in the fall has been an interesting experience for Luna. It’s her second time going through the process but the first time with the clock going backwards.

Going forward wasn’t difficult; she went through the change in the Spring without an issue. We went through it without an issue, mostly because, when it comes to our sleep hours, the change then was in our favor. When I say “issue” I mean the effect on our sleep.

Sleeping in With  a Puppy

Sleeping in the presence of a puppy has been a persistent and recurring lament for me. Luna sleeps on Luna time. She awakens on Luna time. The change on Sunday, November 6 screwed up Luna time by repositioning it. While we may have adjusted our clocks, Luna’s internal clock is still fixed to the habits and morning reveil of Saturday, November 5 and earlier.

Which is why she’s now up at 5:30 am futzing in Azkaban, banging on the door and making loud “FEED-ME-NOW” requests. It’s really strange particularly given that she’s isn’t going to bed any later than normal. She’s getting her 16-18 hours of sleep during day and strolling upstairs around 8:30 pm to flop down and rest until morning.

What’s changed is that she’s waking up at what would have been 6:30 am on any morning two weeks ago. Morning for her now comes an hour earlier for no particular reason. This behavior didn’t change at all during the past seven days, either. The same 5:30 am restlessness repeated itself each morning this week as if she’s a West Point cadet and needs to be somewhere on the parade ground within 30 minutes.

Fortunately, her English comprehension has improved. MW’s been successful yelling out a sharp “lie-down” remonstration and, you know, it works. Here’s the pattern: Luna wakes up. Luna fusses. MW wakes up, exclaims “lie down.” Luna stops fussing, groans and falls back to sleep. When the alarm rings an hour later, Luna wakes up again and understands that, this time, we’ll heed her request for breakfast.

Daylight Savings and Mission Impossible

The only problem with the Daylight Savings Time change is that we’re no longer able to enjoy those morning dreams where you’re frantically accompanying Tom Cruise in the latest chapter of the Mission Impossible film franchise. In our case, the habitual bad guy is a puppy that, while never appearing in the screenplay or the credits, always manages to yell “cut” and end the scene. She’s the one waking us up and halting our time with Tom.

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