Sleeping Dogs

A sleepy-ish Schip.

It’s often said that one should let sleeping dogs lie. Earlier this week, I happened to come across my own pooch awakening from a small nap (visible to your left). I don’t know whether it’s as common as the Schipperke pattycake phenomenon, but my dog often likes to sleep on his back in what would seem to me like an uncomfortable position. Aside from sleeping in strange poses, my dog’s normally a relatively silent and sound sleeper, which is why I was surprised when I heard him whimpering. Given that he wasn’t in the same room as me, and because I am the ever-alert pup-parent, I had to go investigate to make sure he hadn’t somehow inadvertently injured himself.

I found him still sleeping, and if he was whimpering in his sleep he clearly must have been dreaming. What exactly goes on in dog dreams? Only they can know whether it’s just memories of previous events, or something more complex. Given that psychologists estimate that dogs are about as intelligent as a toddler, one wants to guess that it may just be a mixture of both.

Why? Going off of my own personal existence as a toddler, I remember that I used to have a lot of very vivid dreams that were a hodgepodge of events from earlier in the day, to my hopes and fears amplified to unreasonable degrees. Granted, speculating that this level of mental activity is occurring for my dog is leaning towards anthropomorphism, but it wasn’t that long ago that we as a species questioned whether those among us who held different religious beliefs, or happen to be visibly different were actually “human” as well. Anyone who spends time with other animals becomes aware that they are in possession of minds that are capable of thought and learning. While the nature of their thoughts may not be on the same level as a person, it’s undeniable that there are indeed little minds encased in those furry or feathered or scaled skulls.

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