Of Sleep and Angels

Angel loves to sleep. I read that dogs can sleep from 12 to 18 hours in a day. So I guess Angel is normal. She sleeps when we sleep which is from 8 pm til 4 am. She gets up for maybe an hour when we get up in the morning, but wilfully goes back to sleep at 5 am. Then she wakes up again at 7 or 8 am. And, if I am asleep at that time, she wakes me from my nap so we could go walking. She sleeps again intermittently during the day. After her exercise, she naps for about two or three hours. Then she gets up again and then wants to play, eat or drink. She might want to go out to the backyard to use the bathroom (usually 15 minutes after waking up from sleep, dogs would need to pee) and also to play with Larry, our other dog, a Beagle.

Dogs, just like humans, experience rapid eye movement or REM sleep. I often watch Angel during this type of sleep, and her eyes though closed are moving rapidly and her legs are jerking and she seems to be making quiet noises. I know then she is dreaming. What stuff are dog dreams made of? I think that Angel dreams of running and playing in the backyard possibly with Larry or playing fetch with me. Sometimes, when her noises get loud and she is whining or starting yipping noises louder than usual; I think she is having a bad dream. Then I would call her name gently, to wake her and say ‘it’s just a dream, Angel’. She awakens and gets quiet for a bit. She seems to be comforted by my words, and I think she goes back to sleep. I can tell because she starts to snore softly. Usually, after this, the bad dream is gone, and we are all happy.

If there is a bad dream, what is a good one? I would imagine it would be like a dog food commercial I saw a long time ago, wherein the dog wakes up in something like dog heaven: blue skies with white billowy clouds , and very green pasture. In the dream, the dog is running and being happy in this pasture, in this dream. In Angel’s case, maybe she is running and playing with her favorite toy- a green rubber ball, or with the beloved human (that would be me or my hubby Scott or our daughter Heather). Another good dream for Angel maybe running towards her favorite food – any 9 lives cat food in can, she just loves that! If you pan out of the dream scene and look at the sleeping dreaming dog, you would see its eyes are moving rapidly, its mouth moving as if barking yet no sound comes, and its leg muscles and paws are moving and contracting as if it was leaping or running or jumping. End of dog food commercial.

Sleep is important for growth and repair of the body not just for animals, but also for us humans. Humans are supposed to get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. Some of us need as much as 12 hours sleep or more per day, while others only need 5 to 6 hours. Still, we need sleep to replenish our energy and keep us healthy both physically as well as mentally. Power naps of ten to fifteen minutes, actually boost our energy levels and increase our level of alertness. For dogs, naps are so quick and easy to get in and out of. I thought it was only Angel, but I read that all dogs are adapted such that they can be awake when they need to be active.

Sleep is one of life’s greatest gifts. Every day, because of sleep, our brain and body systematically power down to get to a level where our body and mind can get to serious business of recharging. One of the things I have learned from Angel is the love of sleep. This is a good thing, because we need sleep to relax, to rest, and to recover. During sleep, certain organs of the body are said to release some hormones that help the body grow and repair the body’s organ systems. We need sleep to rest our mind and our spirit. When we sleep, our mind and spirit stop thinking about problems that occupy us during our waking hours. When we sleep, the stress of worry and anxiety is able to cease, giving us the power to heal during the night. This is much like that feeling you get that you wake up with the solution to a problem that was on your mind when you went to bed.

Well, Angel is sleeping now, which reminds me it’s time for me to hit the hay as well. Sleep tight my human and canine friends. I hope you dream only good dreams.

“Angel of God, my guardian dear,

To whom God’s love commits me here,

Ever this night, be at my side,

To light and guard, to rule and guide”

Like I said before, I believe in angels. I believe that unlike my Angel, our guardian angels don’t have to sleep, they are constantly watching over us. I close my eyes and sleep comes so easy.