As I sit here watching my dog go through the rituals of REM sleep, I have to wonder what exactly do dogs dream about?
His eyes flutter beneath his lids. His paws, first back, then front, kick out and shake. Maybe he's in a vast field, pursuing the most delectable bunny ever. But the whimper tells me otherwise. Could be a doggy nightmare: vacuum cleaners roaring and coming at him, no way out, surrounded on all sides.
Or perhaps it's a heavenly dream. Shredding the mailman like an industrial-strength mulcher. Sitting back afterward, working a toothpick between his teeth, and sighing. "Ahhhh, that was a particularly tasty mailman. Hate those guys."
Either way it's gotta' be less frightening than our dreams. Right?
A few nights ago, I had a nightmare. Woke up in a cold sweat. Sure, it's a cliché, but sometimes clichés are more truthful than we'd like to admit. I was in college again, forced to take an advanced dance class. First session (and we were all required to bring uncooked meat as an introductory token), the professor asked every student to demonstrate "what we got." Well. I ain't got nothin'. Talk about horrifying. My idea of dancing is planting my feet, swiveling my hips, and thrusting my arms out, hoping not to hit anyone. Every student was exceptional. My turn was crawling closer. I prayed for the class to end before my turn. Then I'd go straight to the office tomorrow and drop the class. But there was still plenty of time left. What to do, I wondered, as I held my blood-dripping pound-and-a-half ground beef? "The chicken dance?" The "Macarena?" Gyrate like an epileptic madman like I did in college?
I woke up before I had to show "what I got."
Maybe I'm not being fair to dogs. Who's to say their nightmares are less frightening than ours? All I ask, is next time you see your dog dreaming? Give him an extra pat on the head, tell him, "I know, I know," and toss him a bone.