Sleeping dogs

Parker (my 60-pound black standard poodle) is sleeping … and while he sleeps, he alternates between growling, barking, little whimpers, back to growling and then … quiet and no sounds, just the regular rise and fall of his chest.

a very sleepy Parker

Parker and his toy

Parker and his toy

He is clearly dreaming. It’s hard not to wake him when he’s whimpering …  something is worrying or frightening him in his sleep, and I want to comfort him, perhaps to ease my guilt.  I fret: perhaps I might have done something to cause him to whimper and worry. I did comb his ears earlier and he wasn’t too happy about that, specially when I tried to detangle one of the matted bits. And goodness knows what his life is like when he is out on his two-hours walks with the dog walker; what he runs into that he doesn’t understand, that he might want to sniff, wag, growl, whimper or worry about. Sometimes, when he comes home, he will pad up to me and sit on his haunches, well, he’ll ‘talk’ for a minute or two, then pad on over to his water bowl to slurp loudly and when he’s done take himself upstairs to his bed for a nap. I don’t ever want to read anything into his ‘talking’, but it is just a little odd. And when he has a restless sleep, like now, I wonder if he wasn’t asking for an explanation of something he saw, just to ease his poodle mind and better understand his world.

Anyway, for now, I opt to leave him sleep, and decide instead to look up the phrase, let sleeping dogs lie. The phrase is credited to Chaucer who wrote it around “1380 in Troilus and Criseyde, ‘It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake’. It means that one shouldn’t stir up a potentially difficult situation when it’s best left alone.”

I don’t know if waking my dog up to soothe him from whatever is bothering him in his sleep meets the criteria for what is meant by that statement, but not wanting to tempt fate, I’ll let him sleep and wake up naturally. Best not to pull him to a waking state if he is sleeping.

Hmm. Still, I do wonder about the statement. Does it imply ignoring something until it  is somehow, magically, raised of its own accord, all fully formed and ready for discussion and resolution? Or when all parties are ready?  Sleeping dogs, when wakened usually  do a wonderful down dog, then up dog, give a HUGE  yaaaawn, and walk over for ear scratches or tummy rubs.  Maybe not in Chaucer’s time … and maybe not guard dogs, or hounds of hell.  But house dogs?

Let sleeping dogs lie might be avoidance. Is that ever a good strategy? Put that into the pondering pile. In the meantime, I will keep it quite literal, and let Parker sleep as long as he wants to, and other dogs too. On a chilly Sunday afternoon, is there anything more comfortable looking than a sleeping dog?


sleeping dog

sleeping dogs 2

sleeping dogs3

sleeping dogs4


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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2 Responses to Sleeping dogs

  1. Terrisita says:

    I used to think that “letting sleeping dogs lie” was a reasonable philosophy and practice. After having sown that row, and reaping that questionable harvest , I am more of the mind that one should gently, honestly, and kindly nudge said animal into awareness, mindfulness and eventually action. Unless of course you are speakiing literally of a canine, at which point I think you should just let them chase bunnies in their dreams.

  2. Jessica says:

    The picture of the golden is adorable…but I’m partial because we’ve got one…

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