Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

About what do my dogs dream?

Yes, I noticed that I made sure my title was grammatically correct.  OCD has checked-in for the night!

Anyway, I do wonder what goes through my dogs’ brains when they’re dreaming.  I can look over at the cat who is sound asleep at the moment and she never moves until she wakes up.  However, I can watch either Celeste or Harley and sooner or later they’ll start to run in their sleep, snore loudly, or sometimes even bark as if they’re trying to say something.

Celeste is five years old and has had a lot of experiences with and without me.  She was a show dog and has traveled around the country and also worked as a service dog for a lady in a wheelchair (who sadly didn’t know how to care for her even though she’d had service dogs before).  So, I could see some memories coming back to her mind and perhaps she sees things she remembers.

Harley, on the other hand, has been with us since she was nine months old.  She was abandoned and raised for a month at a farm before they took her to the local Humane Society because they couldn’t afford to keep another abandoned dog.  She’s been on trips with us (vehicle only, no planes yet) and has romped around in the yard or at a dog park.  Most of her time she’s comfortable on the couch and when given the opportunity will watch car races or other dogs running on television.  Harley also lived here with my service dog Cody who passed away in 2010.  She was there when he died.  She also has a lot of his habits and mannerisms because he made sure that he taught her how to act and didn’t let her get too out of control.

Cody would snore loudly and run when sleeping too — but he only came to live with us when he was much older.  He had been a puppy mill breeder dog that had been abandoned on the side of the Interstate when he’d gotten to old to make the owners more money.  We took him in and even though he had no idea how to play or act like a normal dog, he learned commands quickly and was eager to please because he loved being loved by someone instead of just ignored.  And he still had the gumption to put the cat in her place when he came to live with us and she wouldn’t shut up one night.  He just closed her mouth with his and looked at her as if to say, “See?  Quiet is better.”

When Cody would snore loudly and move as if he was running when he was asleep, I could always imagine that he was reliving something that had happened before we had him.  Maybe it was running away from the handlers at the puppy mill.  Maybe it was finally running free when they first got rid of him before he began to struggle to find food and water in the sweltering heat of the summer.  I would always hope that his dreams would include meeting us and enjoying a nice walk or just being cuddled.

I’m watching Harley’s legs move while she’s asleep as if she’s running for her life.  Maybe there’s a rabbit or a squirrel in her dream?  She loves to chase them in the yard, though I don’t think she’d have any idea what to do with one if she caught it.  She’s running and running and you can hear her snorting loudly with every “step” she takes.  Whatever it is, she’s either thoroughly enjoying it or making damned sure that she gets away from whatever she doesn’t like.

I know humans put too much emotion into our pets.  We talk to them as if they’re people and try to read their facial expressions and actions like we do non-verbal communications from other humans.  But I think it would be fun if we could see about what our dogs are dreaming.  Finally catching the ball; scaring a flock of birds; or maybe just laying on the couch getting their tummy rubbed.  Anything could be a fascinating dream for them.

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