I love to snuggle.
Well… I love to snuggle with my dogs.
There’s just something entirely grounding in lying in my bed with four dogs wrapped around me. They share their warmth, keeping me snug and tucked in tight all night long.
Grace Kelley is particularly skilled in cuddles. But like most fosters, she regularly has what I believe to be nightmares. I hear her whimper and feel her body begin to tremble as she falls deeper asleep, her body leaning more and more heavily into mine and I know she is dreaming about something terribly sad.
Stanley Coren, a dog behaviorist and renowned psychologist, analyzed canine brain waves alongside their social and emotional cues to conclude that dogs do, in fact, dream for the same reasons as humans. Nightmares then, are how dawgs react to stress and work through trauma, just as they are for us. Keep in mind that twitching, kicking, and quiet noises do not necessarily mean your dawg is having a bad dream—sometimes they might just be chasing that pesky neighborhood squirrel!
I can’t imagine how frightening and disorienting a bad dream is to dawgs. When this happens with Grace, I wake her up with my voice and keep my body pressed against hers. Speaking softly and making a quiet clicking noise with my tongue, I bring her back to the room with me without frightening her with a sudden physical sensation. She typically responds by leaning in harder and we fall back to sleep. It’s important to remember that touching your dawg may startle him or her into an aggressive reaction if the dream is bad enough. Try to get the dog’s attention with noise to gently bring them out of their slumber.
Gradually her nightmares will fade and she will work through whatever her subconscious needs to address with our support. One step closer to rehabilitating successfully to a furever home! If you’d like to be a part of this wonderful pup’s process please consider donating to MFDM to help us with veterinary and food costs. If you’re interesting in adopting her, fill out an application and contact us for more information!