Dogs dream. At least mine does. My Lab Scout starts with a grunt, woofs a while and then gets the old hind leg going – a sure sign he’s on his bike, pedaling to dreamland.
But what kind of dreams? Good or bad? Nice or nightmares? Pedaling toward or away?
Doubtfully nightmares – dogs are too carefree. Man’s best friend doesn’t worry about heartworms, hip dysplasia or the mortgage – that’s our job. More than likely a dog’s dozing dance card is chock-full of happy dreams. But of what, I wonder?
Maybe of the perfect backyard: Big and shady with dripping spigots and littered with steak bones, or high-fenced and full of slow-moving, de-clawed cats.
Perhaps dreams of the perfect house: No off-limits furniture, king-size beds in every room and cupboards filled with treats and dog-safe chocolate. A simple house, full of playful children who despise television, abhor video games and discard table scraps as they see fit.
Dogs must dream of kids – those who don’t pull ears, hate to ride animals, leave underwear strewn about and never leave for college. Kids who enjoy ball-oriented sports, play fetch and are allergic to cats, obviously.
Possibly dreaming of the outdoors and a master addicted to hunting? One who loves new bird guns and never misses. Year-long seasons too, I’d imagine. And let’s not forget the perfect hunting vehicle, complete with air-conditioned truck bed, windows always down and runs only at speeds necessary to keep one’s tongue horizontal – except on corners, of course.
If I were a dog I’d dream of an enlightened society where choke chains, shock collars and invisible fences are forbidden, where dog sweaters, toenail polish and poodles are shunned, and scientists reclassify Chihuahuas as rats on stilts.
Maybe dreams of more dog-oriented entertainment: A canine cable channel with Benji, Rin Tin Tin and Lassie reruns, a Scooby Doo marathon on TV-Land, or ESPN Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments with those dogs from the painting.
Perhaps they dream of simple pleasures like pet store sales, beef-scented air-fresheners or fleas going extinct. Or a chain that stretches just enough, people who don’t blame the smell on the dog, being cast in an ALPO commercial or the all-you-can-eat place allowing doggie bags.
Do they dream of blessings such as thumbs to open fence gates and refrigerators, longer paws to reach under-the-bed chew toys, or the math skills necessary to convert human to dog years? How about the ability to climb trees? Hmm… I wonder.
Let’s not forget the most likely candidates: Feline leash-laws being enacted, Cat Fancy magazine going bankrupt, and mousers everywhere deported to remote islands, forced into slave labor, rolling rawhide chew sticks.
Maybe they are nightmares after all? Scout may worry I could sell the truck, swear off hunting and become vegetarian, or he may fret over more serious issues such as moving to a third-story apartment, enrollment in bomb-dog school, or the new Korean restaurant down the street. Again, you just don’t know.
And it is possible dogs may not dream at all. Scout’s woofing could simply be a canine cough, and his persistent pedaling mere hero worship. Honestly, it wasn’t long ago someone forced him to watch all 21 stages of the Tour de France.
Tripp Holmgrain is an avid outdoorsman with woofing dog and nervous cat. Email him at email@example.com.