It’s no news flash that dogs dream. Greyhounds most certainly do. Given the similarity in all racing greyhounds’ upbringing and track experience, it’s not surprising that the nature of their dreams is also similar in many ways. Blue has always been a prolific dreamer. I have written before about his racing dreams. When he first came to live with me, he had racing dreams once or twice a day. Now in his dotage his racing dreams have slowed down a bit. But I always know when he’s heard the call to post because he starts dream wagging his tail and then he’s running for all he’s worth, breathing like a true champion athlete. The pace of the run slows and then stops. I know if he won the race (or at least enjoyed it) by whether or not his tail wags at the end.
Blue’s barking dreams, as best I can tell, are happy affairs. In consciousness, Blue rarely makes much noise. He can be incited to roo on occasion. He has taken to whining since Bettina joined us and showed him how much fun that can be. And I have watched him bark his fool head off at a greyhound race he was not taking part in and at a few lure coursing and straight racing events.
But in his dreams, Blue barks up a veritable storm. He takes in a huge breath of air and then barks with his mouth closed. It’s almost the sound equivalent of skipping rocks. The first bark is the loudest followed by a series of 3-4 more barks which get consistently smaller and lower in volume. He can sleep bark for a dogs age. Sometimes it degenerates into Blue blowing air out his mouth and flapping his jowly cheeks. It's like when your shades roll up unexpectedly. Often it is accompanied with some tail wagging.
His growling dreams are far more sinister. My peace loving, never hurt a fly, goofy big lug becomes something terribly fierce and scary to behold. In these dreams, he starts by growling with a closed mouth but it isn’t long before he progresses to snarling, showing all his teeth and gnashing them. His growls rumble out of him from deep inside. My sweet loving boy becomes a vicious wild beast. I wonder at such times whether this is just the opportunity to step outside his normal self and get his ferocious on or whether he’s facing some horrendous thing in his dream and is trying to protect himself. Grammy tells me this dream should be considered proof that he once growled at her. I remain a skeptic.
He always wakes himself up with that howl and he looks around bewildered. I’m never sure if he’s bewildered to find himself back in our living room or if he’s bewildered by who/what made that noise. Was my poor boy channeling the ancestral wolf in every dog? Was he facing a vision of his own demise that seems to be getting closer and closer? Or was he mourning the loss of something very dear to him? Something that seems to haunt him more as he grows older. Mumma will never really know. With each Wolf Howl Dream I make sure he is fully awake and I rush to comfort him which is really more mumma trying to comfort herself and shake off the specter of my silly boy grown old too soon.
A dream is a psychosis, with all the absurdities, delusions and illusions of a psychosis
We have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions
A dream that is not interpreted is like a letter that is unread
I had a dream not too long ago. It involved Girly Girl. My dreams involving Girly Girl have a different quality from my normal dreams and I can count the number of them since her passing on one hand. I am of the firm belief that these are infrequent visits from my sweet girl. Some of you may roll your eyes and I’m OK with that.
Girly Girl usually stops in to say hi, let me know she still loves me and that she misses me. She doesn’t “say” this to me but when she was with me in the physical world, she once gave me a greeting that made it so incredibly clear that she loved me and missed me it became the gold standard. It was after her cancer
I’ve never had a greeting like that before and now I only receive it when she drops in on my dreams. I think she knew how much that particular greeting meant to me so she uses it now to make sure I am clear on her message.
This dream was different. It was the first dream in which she did not pop in and give me our greeting and then pop back out. Instead I was approached by a person who told me that Girly Girl had “come back.” I didn’t know what that meant and I said that couldn’t be possible as she was dead. The person insisted that she was back and I needed to come. Since I would give a whole lot for that to actually be true, I went with this person.
They brought me to a place where a small group of people were in the company of a spindly, petite white female greyhound with black ticking and larger brindle patches. I told them that this was definitely not Girly Girl. But the group kept insisting that this was Girly Girl. I approached her and she was very spooky. She did her best to avoid being touched. The group helped hold her still and I checked her ear tattoo. The birth date ear said 716A. It was at this point I woke up.
If the tattoo is any indication, she will be born in July of 2016 so she was apparently giving me plenty of advanced warning. I figure that the earliest she’ll be able to find her way to me will be in 2017 assuming she fails out of a life as a racing greyhound and goes straight into adoption. Grammy thinks it’s possible that she’s timing the return to be just after Blue’s passing. He will be 14 in 2017.
I know it sounds crazy. And honestly I’m trying to convince her to stay put where she’s whole and pain free. Coming back could expose her to any number of terrible experiences. Her last go-round wasn’t particularly fabulous. She broke her hock and it wasn’t treated. Then she got only a few years in retirement with a new to greyhounds owner who needed a big lesson in patience. Shortly thereafter she got cancer, had to go through an amputation only to finally succumb to ever growing tumors in her lungs. Why she’d want to expose herself to that possibility again is beyond me. I miss her like crazy but I can wait and meet her on that side if it means she runs free.
So nut job? Maybe. Creating something I need to believe from a simple dream? Also possible. In this case, only time will tell. Just to be safe I have Auntie Carol checking all the ear tattoos of the new arrivals that match my description. I invite you all to check back in here in 2017 or 2018 to see how this story ends!
In July I read a post on the blog My Brown Newfies with this title. Boy if you own a greyhound and you're ever feeling annoyed by the amount of hair your hound sheds or how much space they take up, skip on over to this blog and read about two of the most lovable Newfies in the blogosphere and rejoice that your dogs don't eat as much as these guys do! The post was very funny and started me thinking about the sounds that make my dogs come running. At the end of the post she invited us to share so I thought, I will. With all of you!
So here are the top 5 sounds that make my dogs come running to investigate (In no particular order):
1. My Closet Door-They usually hear this sound in the morning and that is how they know for sure I haveThat also means that very shortly after the sound of the closet door, they will be getting breakfast.
2. My Shower Curtain-I work at home. So it isn’t always of paramount importance that I look pretty or smell nice. Sometimes I don’t shower for a day or two if I’m feeling very lazy. But I always shower before leaving the house. Being the inveterate gamblers that Blue and Bettina are, they come running as soon as they hear the shower curtain open on the good chance it means I’ll be leaving the house. I am under constant surveillance from that moment until they have finally determined that, yes I am leaving and I am taking them or no, I’m not leaving after all and I look pretty well ensconced on that couch.
3. Keys-I would suspect this one is on everyone’s list. For the obvious reason.
4. Fridge Door-Also probably on everyone’s list. For those same obvious reasons. For my kids it could mean string cheese, or yogurt, or a marrow bone, or a frozen peanut butter bone, or ….
5. The Child Gate Guarding the Entrance to the Basement-This can often times mean that I’m going downstairs to pick out one of their fancy collars, or some other accessory of torture in which to dress them up. Why would they care about that? Because the payoff for accepting this treatment is that we are going out and they are likely to see other people, other greyhounds, or both. At the very least it means I have gone out of their sight and that is never acceptable. They generally stand at the top of the stairs behind the gate and whine. If I leave the gate unhooked, Bettina will stick her head through the gap and stare down into the abyss until it belches me back up.
My kids also get pretty excited about any visitor at the door, the noise the dump trucks make when they pass the house and any move I might make in the vicinity of their food bowls. What makes your kids come running?