When I visit my folks’, I sometimes let their dog up on my bed. I usually grumble about the fact that their dog is one of those types that yips all the time, but in reality he is the sweetest dog–not a mean bone in his body–and a glutton for affection. Although I suspect he enjoys having the option to come up on the bed, he doesn’t seem to like staying there, preferring instead to climb down after a few minutes and rarely climbing back up unless I call for him (again, he’s a sweetie!).
The other day I had dozed off and fallen into a nightmare, one of those vivid ones that feels like an all-too-real movie. This one was a horror film, the kind with monsters, and in it my neighbors and I were about to be swarmed. The tension had been building, and this was not one of those dreams where you know you’re dreaming. I was completely immersed.
Just as the worst was about to happen, I heard a dog whimpering, right beside me. All of a sudden the nightmare fell away and I was floating up through layers of consciousness, breaking through the surface to find that my parents’ dog had climbed onto the bed and was trying to get my attention. The second he saw I had come out of the nightmare, he stopped whimpering, climbed down the bed and settled into his favorite spot on the floor. At first I wondered what had upset him; I checked around the house, listened for thunder (he doesn’t like thunder), but there was nothing out of place.
Maybe it’s far-fetched, but I suspect he knew I was in distress, even in a dream, and was trying to make it right for me. I don’t know if I cried out in my sleep or anything like that. I didn’t think I had, but I also think a number of dog lovers out there can attest to the fact that somehow dogs just know. They can be so attuned to the humans in their lives they can read more than we realize and surprise you with it. Whatever might have been going on with me in my sleep, I believe he sensed it and tried to shake me out.
I have to admit, I was a little grouchy at having been shaken out of my dream as I was actually curious as to whether my neighbors and I would have made it out of our tough spot. In the end, though, I’m touched by the idea that my parents’ dog might have tried to help me out of a troubling sleep.
They really are man’s best friend, aren’t they?