Sleeping Dogs

Have you ever watched your dog sleep? The way they curl up in a tight ball tucking their nose under their hind leg and wrapping their tail on top of that to ward off the chill. Or when they get too hot and roll over on their back and splay their back legs out to cool off. You can tell a lot about a dog’s life just by watching the way they sleep.

A dog that has been abused or abandoned sleeps very lightly sometimes laying on their stomachs front legs bent jutting out between their head and rear legs tucked under ready to leap up for fight or flight. It takes a long time for a dog that has had a rough life to relax and begin to trust that danger is not waiting just around the corner.

Our dogs, Charlie and Orso, are the poster dogs for living the good life. We got Charlie at the young age of ten weeks and has never know anything but pamperhood. We rescued Orso at nine months from a young man that couldn’t keep him any longer. Charlie is now nine years old and Orso is seven and a half years old so I have had lots of time viewing their sleeping habits.

Charlie snores, and very loudly for a seventy pound dog, louder than Mitch sometimes. Orso breathes heavy, sometimes he works up a snore but nothing like Charlie. Charlie sleeps so deeply his eyes are closed tight and lays stretched out taking up as much real estate as his little body can. He juts out his legs straight away from his body and at times they are limp and relaxed and other times his legs are stiff as boards, earning him the nickname “Rigor” for rigor mortis. Which is especially fun at night when he is sleeping next to you pushing against you with those stiff legs. Yes we are those weak people that let their dogs sleep with us. We lost that battle years ago.

Orso at one hundred pounds takes up a bit space when he stretches out and gets even heavier when he lays his head on your legs sound asleep. You will not easily escape the dead weight of a dog that is so sound asleep. His eyes roll up in the back of his head when he is sound asleep. He looks like a big brown speed bump when he stretches out to his full fifty-three inch long tip of his nose to the end of tail body.

Both dogs dream and it is a hoot to watch them deep in throes of R.E.M. Charlie’s eyes roll back and forth under his eyelids. Sometimes he squeaks and sometimes he growls, I guess it depends on what he’s dreaming about and who he’s chasing. It usually starts at his front legs with a slight twitch, then growing stronger adding his back legs, then his legs run at break neck speed chasing whatever it is he is after.

Orso does it a bit differently from Charlie, his back legs jerk first, not a mere twitch, oh no, a full on jerk and you don’t want to be anywhere close when he start jerking those legs, he has left marks. Then he moves up to his front legs and then in concert Orso’s legs run in tandem after the unseen target. His eyes roll back and forth and his lips twitch sometimes working up a growl or moan.

I’m telling you watching a dog sleep is better than the reality TV shows on cable.