Ilia is a beautiful Labrador Retriever with a shining black coat. He is also a notorious bed pig. All night long he thinks of sneaky ways to make sure his human, a boy named Cole, gets as little of the bed as possible. He has to hide his head beside the pillow so you won’t see him giggling. He takes up so much room the boy’s feet often hang over the edge of the bed. Hilarious! Cole and Ilia are the very best of friends. The kind of friends you become when you have to depend on each other. The kind of friends you don’t ever want to be without. One day, Cole and Ilia were walking. Just walking and talking, as good friends do. Ilia, Cole said thoughtfully. What do you suppose it would be like to fly? Ilia considered this a moment, then picked up the keys that Cole had dropped. He stood up on the step of Cole’s wheelchair, the keys jingling softly in his teeth. Why would a dog want to fly? he thought to himself as Cole reclaimed his keys. It’s much more fun here on earth working with you every day. The two friends continued to roll along. That night, Cole and Ilia snuggled into the downy covers. Cole stroked the big dog’s noble head and said, I guess it is pretty great here. But still!wouldn’t it be cool to fly? He began to drift off as Ilia set about taking up most of the bed. But then, Cole woke with a start! He opened his eyes and looked around his room. Which was gone. A velvety black sky studded with sparkling crystals surrounded his bed. When Cole looked down at his dangling toes (which of course were dangling thanks to Ilia’s relentless shoving), Cole saw that they were very, VERY high up! He could see the roof of his house and the tops of the trees and the streets and the cars and even a few tiny people! Well, this didn’t escape Ilia’s clever notice. He immediately jumped off the bed and flew around it in a wide arc, sniffing madly. Cole’s mouth dropped open. After a few laps, Ilia dropped onto the bed and sat down. Looks OK. No danger, he announced. DUDE!! exclaimed Cole. You’re f-f-f-flying! Ilia waited patiently. Wait a minute, stammered Cole. Forget that!you’re talking! Yup, said Ilia casually. (He wasn’t one to make a flap over things.) Follow me. And with that, Ilia jumped off the bed again. Cole knew to trust his dear friend, so he jumped off after him. At first, he felt like he was falling. FAST. But then, he felt a strong wind slip beneath him. He spread his arms wide and followed along behind Ilia’s tail, which spun ahead of him like a furry black propeller. The two friends soared over the hilltops and out over the sea. They glided over whitecaps and waved to the dolphins who leapt out to say hello. They flew with gulls scanning the sea for delicacies. They cart-wheeled past the moon as the silvery light bounced off Ilia’s glossy fur and sparked the night sky. At last, they returned. They floated down slowly to the hovering bed. Exhausted, the two crawled in and snuggled under the warm blankets. Suddenly, it was morning. ILIA! called Cole excitedly. He had so much to say! His dog could TALK now! Oh, the conversations they would have! Ilia! Cole cried again. His friend sat up attentively. Dude! I have so many questions I want to ask you! Do you miss your mom and dad? Do you like the food we give you? Do I have bad breath in the morning?? Ilia rolled his eyes, but did not answer. This made Cole realize that the night before had only been a dream. Not only could he not fly, he couldn’t even talk to his best friend. He felt very, very sad. Ilia looked deeply into his boy’s eyes. Without a word he said, I’ve always been able to talk to you. Cole began to understand. Ilia continued, But now, you know how to listen. Originally Posted on Sleepbetter.org’s Bed Time Stories site on May18, 2010