pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Doggy Nightmares? Two Memorable Dreams

Since we had to have Pip put to sleep I have noticed that Toby seems to have bad dreams.   Like most dogs, when he sleeps he often makes woofling sounds, and twitches his paws as though running.  Those dreams are fine, perfectly normal.

However, these days he has some dreams where he whimpers piteously and sounds deeply distressed.  
Both dogs came from a rescue centre.  We got Pip when she was about a year old - she came in with buckets of self confidence and tried to dominate the household immediately.  She was very successful.  A proper terrier.  A proper terror.

Toby joined us six months later, when he was about 10 months old.  He had an unknown history but was showing many signs of having been abused.  He was afraid to eat, afraid of his own shadow.  Pip took him in hand and taught him who was boss while giving him frequent washes and affection when she felt in the mood.  

They were together day and night for about 11 years.  Through thick and thin, good times and bad times.  She didn't do much in final months - but she always managed to give him a wash if she felt he needed it.

Now she has gone and I am sure he misses her.  I know I am placing a human interpretation onto a canine dream, but I think he misses her a great deal.  We all do our best, even the cats do their best and cuddle up to him
which is amazing when you think they were rescue cats and semi-feral themselves just six months ago!

Thinking about Toby and his bad dreams got me thinking about dreams in general.  I know that I dream, but I rarely remember them in the morning.  I know there have been periods in my life when I have had bad dreams, recurrent ones and I do remember those.  

There are two wonderful dreams which were so special that I have never forgotten them.   Well - I remember the sense of them and the way they made me feel.

After my mother died, about 15 years ago, I really missed her and would sometimes think that I had caught sight of her in supermarkets and other odd places.  I think most people go through that process.  I wished that I had told her how much I loved her, I am sure she knew - but I wish I had actually said it out loud to her.  

One night I dreamt that she came and sat on my bed and talked with me, she told me things and I told her the things I wished I had said when I had the opportunity.  It was an amazing dream, a healing dream, a comforting dream.  It made me feel better.  It still makes me feel better when I think of it.  It didn't feel like a dream at the time.

The other one I remember so well was of a similar thing happening, but the visitor was, for the sake of argument,  a higher being.   I could suddenly see why we are here, what happens, and why things happen, how time is such a funny thing - and why it seems to go fast sometimes and is lumpy and slow at others.  It was an amazing dream, very powerful and came out of the blue.  Unfortunately that knowledge faded when I awoke!

I would say that I wish Toby could have a comforting visit from Pip - but Pip's personality being what it was, he could be having dreams of her - his nightmares.    I wouldn't be at all surprised if she wasn't tormenting him!


  1. I had a elderly male cat who was very fond of the little male kitten we brought home. He would wash the little guys face and clean his ears. After he died, the young male would go up to the female cat and cock his head at her for an ear washing, but she would have none of it. He has to rely on humans to do his ears and we don't do nearly as good a job.

    What lovely dreams you have! How I envy you.

  2. Our cats mourn for each other. Pippa's littermate Karl died suddenly and unexpectedly 6 yrs ago. Pippa was heartbroken, she lost her appetite and zest for life. Even now she will sleep in a chair curled up with room for Karl....just as though he was still there with her.
    I've witnessed so many of them mourn in their own way...poor Toby....he misses his buddy.
    Jane x

  3. Oh, yes. Poor Toby misses Pip. I'm not surprised the cats try to make him feel better. I hope he gets happier.

    My sister dreams like you do. My parents flit in and out of my dreams just like they belonged there.

  4. Hi Ms Sparrow, Their tongues are so raspy I can imagine they really get the itchy bits sorted out! I bet he loves you for trying to help him though.

  5. Hi Jane and Chris, It is sad - and yet there are people out there who think that animals don't feel emotion. Ridiculous!

    Toby has his bed on the floor of our bedroom (I know, quelle horreur) so I am always able to calm him when he has one of these nightmares.

  6. Hi Joanne, Those funny little cats do their best!

    I would love to have more of that kind of memorable dream, but I guess I have used my quota.

  7. perhaps Toby is galloping around with Pip in his dreams?

  8. this is so heartbreaking... Holly is such an old lady now she sleeps (and dreams so much) but hers are those wonderful rabbit chasing dreams where her legs move and she makes little barking noises... I also think dreams are very important and those that involve 'otherworldly' connections are very real. I think it's during sleep that we are most open to this... fascinating stuff x

  9. Poor Toby. I hope he starts having some restful nights. We had two cats, brothers and litter mates. When the first became gravely ill and had to be euthanized at the age of 12, his brother stopped eating and drinking and nearly died, spending three days at the hospital. He came home depressed and we went out and bought a kitten from a shelter with a personality we thought would suit him. She was perfect and clearly saved his life.

    Thanks so much for sharing your two dreams. I had one just after my sister died that did the same thing for me, and it's a dream I still remember clearly.

    I sure wish you still had the "knowledge" from the second dream. We could all use some help.

  10. Hi John,
    Now that would be a sight for sore eyes!

    I think the only times Pip got up to a gallop was when she had escaped one of the countless harnesses I bought, to make her walk nicely, then she'd gallop off and give me a very rude salute.

    If he didn't cry so pitifully I would love to think that was what he was dreaming.

  11. Oh, Dom, I didn't mean to make you worry about Holly - I bet she's got a good long time to go yet. Those rabbit chasing dreams are lovely to watch.

    George had forgotten about the dream where I chatted with my mum, as soon as he read it he recalled it vividly, and the profound affect it had on me.


  12. Hi Mitch,

    How wonderful that you were able to find the right kitten.

    Your sister was way too young to have died. I am so glad to got to have that special dream - and they seem so much more than a dream, as you know.

    The second dream was unexpected, but wonderful, I even remember the knowledge ebbing away and understanding that it had to be so!

  13. I don't think it's farfetched that it was an actual visit from your mom. My mom appeared in my dreams a number of times after she died. Many years before that my grandfather came to me once. All seemed to pass along messages I needed at the time.

  14. Hi Janet, I am so glad you said that. It did seem so much more than a dream, and the affect was very profound.


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