Why Do Dogs Dream?
My grand-dog, Lilly, passed-away just after Labor Day and one of my fondest memories is of her visiting me on the weekends and watching television in bed. Her preference was old black & white westerns, especially Roy Rodgers, because his dog, Bullet, would usually get a chance to gnaw on a bad guy. It was not rare for her to sit through an entire movie, following the action on the screen and at times jumping at the TV, during the horse chase scenes.
Another heart-warming experience would be to watch her dream, as she lay next to me on the bed. A muffled bark would alert me that a dream had begun and that she was probably in the process of chasing a squirrel, her favorite critter to pursue. Another muffled bark would erupt and her little Jack Russell paws would begin to twitch. This dreamland adventure would last approximately a minute and then fade away.
This event often got me to wonder, why do dogs dream? I’ve never noticed any other creature showing the tell-tale signs of dreaming. Cats just seem to peacefully snooze, with-out a twitch.
In an article that was posted in Psychology Today, Dr. Stanley Coren said that he would be surprised if dogs didn’t dream. “At the structural level, the brains of dogs are similar to those of humans. Also, during sleep the brain wave patterns of dogs are similar that of people, and go through the same stages of electrical activity observed in humans, all of which is consistent with the idea that dogs are dreaming.” He also states that rats seem to dream, as found in clinical tests, so it seems that other creatures also dream.
Josh Weiss-Roessler, in a post on cesarsway.com, says, “While no one is really sure why, smaller dogs tend to have more dreams than larger ones. Toy poodles and Chihuahuas might experience new dreams every 10 minutes, for example, while a typical golden retriever will only dream once every 90 minutes.”
Another question that comes to mind is, do dogs dream in color? Kristi Myers, in her post on the Penn State blog Science in Our World: Certainty & Controversy writes, “Nope, unfortunately they do not… Dogs have less cone cells in their retina and therefore colors are viewed in a lighter hue. Green and red are colors that are frequently mentioned that dogs may not be able to see. It is also discussed that dogs have a larger amount of rod cells than humans. This may be another reason as to why they see in black and white. Another interesting fact is that dogs are able to see better at night.
So, all in all, dogs do dream…they dream about dog stuff, in black & white, …and they dream like you or I would, with emotion.
And now my next question, will I see Lilly in Heaven? Scripture shows a strong connection between God and His creation, but this is one question which probably will go unanswered until I cross-over…but I have a strong feeling that…. :)