Toby came to us as a puppy some 14 years ago. We crate trained him, but he didn’t want to stay in his crate at night. In fact, it is probably that he spent those early nights in the crate plotting how to accomplish his one great aim in life: to sleep in a bed with the humans.

By dint of spending most of each night emitting blood-curdling howls, Toby managed to get out of the crate. He was allowed to sleep under the kitchen table at first, and then he was permitted to sleep on the hearth. There was a lengthy skirmish at that point as he tried to get to sleep on the sofa, and my husband attempted to foil this desire by heaping things on the couch.

Pillows, for example. He seemed to think that a dog would not care to sleep on a sofa which had cushions piled on it.

He also tried stacking furniture up, and then putting an exercise ball in the middle of the sofa with cushions around it. This had the effect of making it look as though crazy people lived in the house, but did not discourage Toby.

However, Toby moved on at this point to the next stage in his plot: the hallway. The slept outside the door of each bedroom in turn. It was at this point that he discovered that #2 son would let him in and even allow him up on the bed.

When #2 son was caught and made to stop, Toby had a setback. He returned to the hallway. However, he found that making piteous noises as though his tail was being sawn off slowly without anaesthetic would get the door open eventually. It took months, but he was tireless. He could keep that keening up for hours.

He has thus made it to the floor by the side of the bed. Last night he gathered up his strength and leapt up onto the bed.

He is a small dog and he is 14 years old. It’s pretty amazing that he can jump up onto a bed.

But I wouldn’t let him stay. I pushed him right down. In my pertpetually sleep-deprived state, caused by the combination of my husband getting up at 2:15 in the morning and then dog settling in as soon as he leaves for work to make me get up and serve him, I may not be able to keep up the pushing off the bed with the vigor that will be required to prevent Toby from gaining his final objective.

It is impressive to think that he has spent his entire life working his way from a crate in the kitchen to the bed. Such single-minded purpose can hardly fail. We’ll see who wins.