As any dog owner will tell you, dogs have meany endearing habits. They wag their tails, sit close by your feet, and they are always overjoyed to see you when you return home. They offer devotion and loyalty, and love with no compromises. They will defend you, entertain you, and even share their food and toys with you. Dogs would follow you into a fire, or over a cliff, and endure any hardship alongside their beloved owner.
Ollie has all of these attributes and more, but the thing that I like most about him happens when he is asleep.
Ever since we got him as a tiny pup, he has always been a dog that has dreams. When his world consisted of little more than the interior of our house, and the confines of our garden, his life experience counted in weeks rather than years, he still found things to dream about. He would doze fitfully, looking like a small wrinkled ball, legs and paws moving as if giving chase, and tiny puffs, not yet barks, coming from the side of his jowls. As he got older, his dreams became more entertaining. Whines and yelps could be heard coming from him at all hours, and if you happened to be nearby, you could delight in his horizontal running, as his legs thrashed around.
He is now over four years old, and has more to recall, things to enrich his dreaming state. He has friends to think about, other dogs of his acquaintance, that he sometimes has disagreements with. He has chased cats, pheasants, deer, rabbits, seagulls, and anything else that moved quickly across his path. His canine dreams are now full of possibilities, and accordingly, they have increased in volume, and regularity. He now woofs and barks constantly when dreaming. His jowls wobble, as his paws grab the air. If something wakes him unexpectedly, he will gaze around the room, surprised to find himself back on his favourite rug, or stretched out on his bed in the kitchen.
Sometimes at night, we hear his dreams, as he slumbers in the next room. I have been woken up by his woofs of warning as he dreams of who knows what. But I would never go in and chastise him, or risk spoiling his sleeping antics. I am just delighted that he enjoys his dreams so much.