Nightmares and Dreamwalkers

What's all the commotion about?

Wednesday night was not a good night.

Figuring out what has been going on with Toby has turned out to be a painful adventure. For months, my otherwise happy puppy has been attacking me. Every resource I encountered mentioned checking the dog’s thyroid levels because low thyroid in dogs can lead to erratic behaviors. I had Toby checked; no low thyroid.

During the attacks, it was as if Toby were asleep. Sometimes he would “wake up” in the middle and looked confused or embarrassed about what was going on.

I think I may have finally figured out what is happening with Toby: Sleep Startle Reflex. Older dogs, deaf dogs – and for some reason greyhounds – tend to have this most often, but any dog can. Basically it is an old survival instinct where if anything – any little thing – happens near the sleeping dog it will attack instantly without even waking up. I don’t even need to touch Toby but make a noise near him and he will come running to growl at and bite me.

What made the condition even harder to pinpoint was that the attacks only happened in the evening or at night not during the day even though Toby sleeps at all of those times. Turns out that the SSR is only triggered during REM sleep. In the afternoons, Toby is merely napping, so he doesn’t dream then.

It felt good to find out that nothing is really “wrong” with my boy; he is just a sleepwalker…, sleep attacker. Experts recommend not punishing or yelling at your dog because he is unaware of what he is doing. To him, he just wakes up and everyone is mad at him. It is recommended that you put your furry attacker in a quiet room at night and block it off so that no one disturbs him. Little Toby’s heart has been breaking because I have been having him sleep in his kennel and not in the laundry. I feel awful that he can’t sleep in the bedroom with me, but this room is so small I can’t fit his kennel inside.

Maybe this will be incentive to get rid of some stuff so my puppy can toot contentedly beside me in his sleep.

Cairn terrier sleeping in kennel.

I hate this kennel. I wanna come back and sleep in the laundry.

Go away. I'm sleeping.

Dirty laundry – the bed of the gods.


Dream Our World

Come see what Bitey and Super Sleep-Bitey (otherwise known as Toby) have been up to, pick up a copy of Bitey Dog and Toby in Dream Our World! Inside the boys view the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun.

Dream Our World is available from my shop.

Six Pack Attack

New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.

New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.

New Friend 1

After our encounters with the cranky terrier, I changed the walking route Toby and I take each day so that we could avoid trouble.  Turns out, trouble has it in for us anyway.

Toby and I were nearly home after a beautiful early evening walk.  Our path took us through the parking lot of one of the local churches.  Normally church lots are empty on Thursday evenings, but this day some guy decided to use the lot as his own personal off-leash dog park.  His pack of spotted monsters took one look at little Toby and flew over to growl at him and bite at him and even flipped him over.  Poor Toby had no idea what to do.  He was spinning around like crazy to make sure none of the monsters could attack him from behind.

Eventually the irresponsible human came over to try to bring back his dogs.  None of them responded to his voice commands, and he resorted to yelling, hitting and kicking them.  At least one of the dogs turned and bit him.  After all that, he didn’t even utter an “I’m sorry” to us.

It is amazing how stunned you can be in a situation like that.  I don’t know if I had had Dog-B-Gone spray on hand if I would have had the presence of mind to use it.  I got Toby out of there as quickly as possible, not even thinking of getting the guy’s license plate until it we were already home.

The next day, I ran into a neighbor and told her about the attack.  Her yard abuts a different church’s property, and she said that two days before she had found a guy running his dog off leash.  She yelled at him that he had better put a leash on his pet.  From her description, I think it was the same guy that I ran into the next day.

I am so irritated by these idiots.  If you want to run your dog off leash, there is a dog park one community away.  Just take them there.  Of course, if this guy’s brood is as unfriendly to others as they were to Toby, he should keep them at home on a leash.  Maybe train them a little so that they come when called.

A few years ago I remember seeing a bra advertised that would sense if  person’s heart rate were elevated suddenly.  If so, it would notify the police.  I wonder if they have something like that in dog collars?

Black and tan brocade dog collar.


Come to a happy place where dog attacks never occur, and all pups have a great time.  Come to the MOTI (Museum of the Imagination) in Dream Our World!  In it, the boys view the world of art from a canine perspective with a dash of humor and a lot of fun.

Cover of the book Dream Our World

Dream Our World is available from Amazon.




Toby Was Attacked

New puppy greets Geordie by jumping on him.

I am feeling lazy today, so I  borrowed a picture from Geordie’s past to help illustrate Toby’s day.

My little Toby is a rather timid guy who has a deep and abiding affection for his girlfriend.  Between her house and ours is a little terrier girl who has it in for Toby.  Over the weeks, her behavior has escalated.  At first she would just howl at him.  Later she crossed the street to head-butt him and do some growling.  Today she spotted us half a block away and chased after us before we could walk away.  Her teen human chased after her, but this little pup is a terrier and won’t come when called.  Ms. Crabby Puppy not only head-butted Toby and growled but bit him hard enough to make him yelp.  No blood was drawn, but come on.  This should not be happening.

Since Toby wasn’t hurt, I didn’t look into filing a report.  Also, I didn’t have any third party witnesses to back up my claims.  To Toby’s great dismay, we won’t be walking down that street any longer.  This doesn’t guarantee us safety from the little dog, though.  She was the one I walked home on the day of The Great Roundup, so she has been known to roam the neighborhood.

I guess Toby is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice and find a girlfriend who lives on a different street.

Sad Cairn terrier looks out of door.

No one in the history of the world has ever been as sad as I am.


To see Toby during happier, more carefree days, pick up a copy of Dream Our WorldDream Our World has been doing some exciting things lately, and I look forward to blogging about them soon.

Cover of the book Dream Our World

Come read Dream Our World where art is viewed from a canine perspective, and Toby and Geordie enjoy a day of unsupervised fun!


The Day After


Little girl dog chases poor Toby

Notice how everything in the neighborhood happens near this same mailbox?

In The Great Roundup, I told how a little girl pup from the neighborhood invited herself on a walkabout, and I helped her get home.  I sort of thought that this might have been a bonding experience for us and that she would think fondly of me and mine afterwards.

Nope.  The next day Toby wanted to walk down her street because his favorite harem girl (remember her from Odoglisque in Dream Our World?) lives nearby.  Even though we were 1/4 of the way into the family across the street’s yard, this femme fatal came charging after my timid little Toby and rammed into him at full speed, growling all the while.

I try to be patient with the dogs realizing that they are a different species with a different perspective on the world, but this little girl really should be restrained.  I worry that she might hurt my Toby or turn on me.  There is also her own safety to worry about.  Little dogs don’t check for cars before crossing the street.

I hope I never need to draw a story about her using the color red.


Want to learn more about some of Toby’s favorite girlfriends?  Then check out Dream Our World! In it, Geordie and Toby visit the museum of their dreams.

Cover of the book Dream Our World