Sunday, June 23, 2013

Singing in Her Sleep

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Adopting an older dog who has been working as a show dog can be an intimidating experience. Sometimes they are inscrutable and learning their signals and needs frustrating to the extreme. Over time, the adopted dog gains confidence in their new home. They begin to predict what will happen when, what is allowed and what is not, when meals and bedtime can be expected.

We are now 18 months into the saga of bringing Star home and integrating her into our pack with Kindu. She still can be very insecure and unsure of herself despite our best efforts to help her understand that this is now her "forever home." Occasionally she jumps when the unexpected happens or draws back afraid when someone new stops by. So at times I wonder whether she has come to feel at home or not. It makes me sad to realize that she feels so out of place...

After years of having our furry babies sleep beside us, we have seen many dogs experiencing dreams and even nightmares. Most every dog we have ever had will be sound asleep beside us with all four feet twitching and we know they are having a blast running through a field in their dreams. Once in a while we will hear them crying and obviously suffering fear in a nightmare; we always wake them up from those times.

What we had never had happen before the other night assured me that Star is now happy in her new home. Kindu had been restless all night with a tummy ache and the dogs kept waking us up. Then Gary realized that Star was humming as she slept. Now normally she is a very quiet basenji with just a little bit of whimpering when she wants to come in. But this night she was making the happiest and most unusual sounds that we have come to call humming. We let her sleep and enjoy whatever it was she was dreaming about, but it's been obvious that recently she feels more comfortable with the environment we've provided for our little companions.

So the saying goes, "Let sleeping dogs lie," and on this particular night we did let Star lie and enjoy the feeling of finally being at home with Kindu and us.