All dog owners have most likely seen their beloved pet’s little paws “running” while they snooze. Or maybe they’ve even heard a muted “woof” while Rover was deep in the clutches of REM sleep. It’s kind of cute.
But the other night something scary happened. My dog, Devo, who had been napping contentedly at my side, suddenly bolted out of bed, hit the wall, knocked over a book case, ran along the edge of the room, then hurtled down the stairs, across the living room, and into the kitchen, where he collapsed into a shaking heap.
I sat down on the kitchen floor, scooped him up, and held him close. He looked at me as if he had absolutely no idea where he was or what was going on. I’ve never seen him so terrified. It was a helpless feeling.
Finally, I was able to coax him back to bed, where he fell right back to sleep. I, on the other hand, was up for hours. Such was my level of agitation.
That must have been some nightmare. What are dogs’ nightmares like? I shudder to think. Giant cats? Packs of wolves? Kibble shortages? Being abandoned or abused?
All I know is that on this night, as with all nights, I kept him close. I tried to make him feel safe. I gave him as much comfort as I possibly could.
After all, that’s what he does for me, every single day.