What is our dog having nightmares about?

It's a dog's life for the Butchers' Border Terrier

It's a dog's life for the Butchers' Border Terrier

First published in Opinion The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

SO the dog’s been having ‘nightmares’.

“Look.”. said the Mother Superior the other night as we were about to watch television.

He’s having a nightmare.

The dog is sprawled out on the floor with a back leg twitching and his lip curling.

“He’s chasing rabbits,” I say.

This is a very Cumbrian thing to say.

It’s even more Cumbrian to say: “chessin rabbits.”

So I do.

“He’s all right,” I say.

“He’s just chessin rabbits.”

I’m trying to close down her anxiety before it impacts on the programme.

I don’t want her to be twitching all night about the dog when we’ve only just got both kids up the wooden hill.

She settles back down and we start the programme.

At that moment, the dog lets out a scary nasal ‘whine howl’ which causes us both to jump up.

I spill scalding hot coffee all over myself.

‘Aww...’ says the Mother Superior in sympathy with him, not me.

“I told you he was having a nightmare,” she says, pausing the TV programme and going for a fuss. I wonder for a moment whether I’ve got away with the spill.

I’ve got jeans on but the scalding water has yet to register in the crotch area.

There’s always a few seconds where you think you’ve escaped. Then the denim totally absorbs it and the pain sets in.

Worst pain there is – up there with standing on an upturned plug in bare feet.

Never stand on Lego in bare feet either; the results are pretty much the same.

I dab gingerly at my scalded ‘Map of Africa’ with kitchen roll.

After I’ve dried up, I say to the Mother Superior: “I’ve gotta hear this! What has he got to have nightmares about?

He gets fed, he gets watered, he gets walked - he’s spoiled rotten.”

I mean, he sleeps all day when I’m out at work – and on my chair just to rub my nose in it. Even when we go away, he gets a little ‘Doggie holiday’ at the kennels.

He can jump on pretty much any female he takes a shine too. Without recourse.

What can he possibly be having nightmares about?

We’re not even allowed to say the word ‘walk’ any more within his earshot.

He’s always sniffing round for scraps but if you so much as try to touch his bowl, then he’ll attempt to gobble it all down at once.

Like he’s living back in the dark ages where every extra gobful meant survival.

“Erm excuse me,” I interrupt him.

“This is 2014. You will get fed again.”

Every time the Postman comes he thinks the letters are for him.

“I'm head of the Wolf Pack,” I tell him.

“You don’t get post. Or bills, I notice. Your job is to wag your tail and bark my friend.”

He looks at me with ‘those’ eyes.

It’s a dog’s life all right.

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