Friday, February 18, 2011

The midnight howl of the Doodlebug

The first time it happened, it freaked me out so much that I nearly fell out of bed trying to get down to Darby’s level without actually squashing him. This was back in the day when he was compelled to sleep in the one area next to my side of the bed that practically guaranteed my inability to extract myself from the mattress with an ounce of grace. Fortunately the only witnesses were the rest of the animals who, though they might snicker about it amongst themselves, enjoy the steady schedule of the treat train far too much to risk losing it over the momentary fame they’d receive posting my indelicate bed extractions on YouTube.

I had been awakened from an almost dead sleep, my heart pounding before my brain could begin to process the  

It was a long, slow, mournful howl --- the sort of sound you imagine in your head when you’re reading the part of story where the lost, hungry, cold dog is all but ready to give up, just before the hero arrives. The howl of the forlorn and the heartbroken, and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Just about the time I got to the floor and dropped down to Darby's level, something clicked in my brain as I realized I was the only one panicking. He was in the exact same spot, limbs in the exact same position they had been from the moment my mind registered the sound.

Frak. Did I just imagine the whole thing?

I reached over to ruffle his floppy little head, only to receive a snort-sigh combo in response. (For the uninitiated, the snort-sigh is the affection your dog bestows upon you when they are annoyed at your foolishness but as they still want breakfast on time, they put up with you. Grudgingly.)

Now certain that I had imagined it, I headed back to bed, feeling like an idiot. Even the cats hadn’t bothered to get up, but there I was, Spazmom, jumping at auditory shadows.

Only I wasn’t. The Doodle’s “puppy-mares”, as we’ve now come to call them, have continued to happen in a completely unpredictable fashion ever since, including a couple of times in broad daylight when he’s been sacked-out in the living room while we watched a movie or a sporting event on T.V. There’s no wind-up or wrap-up --- just the one pitiful howl that comes from nowhere and has no encore.

I’ve heard of sleeping dogs snoring, kicking, twitching, chewing and paddling, but never in my world of pet behavior anecdotes have I heard of a dog who howls in their sleep. So help me out, dog peeps: Is this something you’ve heard of or experienced, or is this just another thing that makes the Doodlebug “special”?

P.S. --- I'm on the Hop this weekend. Click the badge and check out some of the other Hoppers:


Pamela said...

It sounds like Darby is embracing his inner-wildness while he sleeps. By day, he seems like a sweet, domesticated dog. But by now, he channels all his wolf ancestors.

Daisy's Mom said...

LOL! I LOVED your description of trying to get out of bed. I can SO relate. It happens a lot when I have a whole brood of dogs staying with me. I've sincerely given up trying to gracefully exit the bed/mattress when it's a crowd. It just can't be done!

I also loved your story of the howling. I have never heard of a dog doing this before! My Daisy sometimes cries in her sleep, but I always worry they are cries of fear from her horrible past. I think I would prefer the howling. Now if only you can videotape it and post it! That would be a sight!

Happy hopping!

browndogcbr said...

Had dogs that howled, but not aware of any howling in their sleep.

BrownDog's Momma

Vicky said...

Great...just like I thought. The Doodle's in a league all his own (not that you couldn't tell that from the picture).

I'm aware that some folks have been having issues commenting on my posts. I've reported the problem to Blogger and they have escalated it, as they were able to replicate it, even though I cannot.

Many thanks to those of you who emailed me to let me know. Much appreciated.

Lori @ According to Gus said...

Gus has "dreams" too. His legs and arms start flapping, his eyes flutter and he yips and growls. We always say he's chasing bunnies in his dreams. :)

The howling would startle me, too.

Lavi said...

Reading this while watching a scary movie isn't too good for my little nerves. I haven't heard of dogs that howl in their sleep... My dog whimpers, runs and even suckles in her sleep, but has never howled.

I hope your Doodlebug isn't having nightmares...

Tish said...

This is actually scary to me. Any howling to me is creepy! My little Sasha makes soft growling sounds in her sleep but has never howled, thank goodness! Maybe you could try giving Darby an all-natural diet? Read more here


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