We all know dogs have dreams. People like to watch us while we dreamily chase tennis balls across the yard. Scientists believe that dogs have brain waves and sleep sessions similar to people and therefore dream in similar ways. To know something about dog dreams, we can start with thinking about human dreams. The brain sorts through the day’s images and activities, bringing about dreams. But there’s more to it than that. There are more types of dreams than just the varying subconscious thoughts that happen during sleep. Dreams can also be expressed as wishes, hopes and fantasies.
Dogs are really just a simpler version of a person. We don’t need a thesaurus of emotions to describe how we feel about someone; for us it’s ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘curious’ or ‘afraid’. We don’t need a closet full of clothes to get us through each fashion season, although a coat in the winter is often appreciated.
But we do wish. We just don’t wish for a Ferrari as our ride to the park when any working car will do. We wish that every animal could find a loving home. We don’t wish to eat whatever we want and still lose weight. We wish every animal had regular meals.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we dogs are hopeful creatures. We always give love and hope to get some in return. We begin every day with excitement and hope we’ll find fun and food. We hope every animal is raised with great care and has access to a wonderful vet. Personally, I hope to share the bed and nuzzle my snout under my caretaker’s hand. We don’t waste time wishing we were taller or that we could type our own blogs.
And like I said, there are all sorts of dreams. Humans can have daydreams, flashback dreams and recurring dreams. There are prophetic dreams and forgotten dreams. Dreams of being chased, of flying, of falling, of being naked. We dogs aren’t so different. Dog dreams are about fast-forwarding to dinner and flashing back to breakfast. Sometimes we’re chased by loud bangs but we foresee your exciting return home. Some dogs dream of rowdy afternoons chasing the squirrel through the woods. I dream of napping, even while taking my nap.
Human or dog, we all fantasize we’ll be happiest when our dreams are realized — whether finally finding the shoes that match the purse, or the treats left within reach. After all, some unfulfilled dreams can create an ache. But other unfulfilled dreams lead us to keep trying, to seek guidance, to search for explanations. Those are equally important.
I’m often asked about my dreams and I have just two recurring ones. The first is more of a daydream: I wish to stay with this happy family so I can live my life comfortably through to the end. The other is of an endless line of people, each bringing me a bacon-cheeseburger and me never feeling quite full. I think both can be realized.
Lazarus is a 13 year-old Plott hound living with Biostar’s Rick Moore.