Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

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A fun blog of 'soft' philosophy about the life and times of a Westiepoo called Chester. Written as a prelude to a more serious novel raising the question: Who is the most bankrupt: the banker who won't whistle-blow or the chef who loses her livelihood?

Do dogs dream of chasing cats? In fact, do they dream at all and, if so, what do they dream? Questioning whether dogs dream, and, beyond that, the reality of those visions, is not wholly foolish. If you have spent any time watching me sleep, then you will have borne witness that my legs might twitch, my tail wag, or I offer a quiet yip, yelp or bark.

It is not even worthwhile your speculation as to whether I dream. Human scientists at some top research universities have published papers in the fields of neuroscience and psychology determining the existence and impact of dreams on animal cognition. In their attempts to understand complex disorders like Alzheimer's and insomnia, as well as memory and learning, they consider evidence that shows many animals — humans, rats, dogs, cats, and even some birds — share similar brain structures and patterns of electrical activity. Thus, when you humans let us sleeping dogs lie, you allow us to visual images and create memories of doggy activities. So my dreams consist of the usual stuff: chasing after cats, barking at the postman, the kipper I had for dinner, the scent of bitches and the seaside (although I have only been there once in my entire lifetime).

Perhaps, therefore, a more pertinent question might be: do virtual dogs dream of chasing electric cats? Now, I'm cheating here, copying the notion behind my master, Mr. A's current reading of Philip K. Dick's novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' (forerunner to the Blade Runner movie). But it is a relevant philosophical question. I mean, does canine empathy, not four legs, one tail, and a wet nose that has a 220 million olfactory determine whether I am a certain breed rather than an Internet creation? Similarly, shouldn't the qualities of dog life and existence such as sleep and dreaming, overlook distractions such as keeping up with this blog, posting my snippets to Twitter, or choosing the right photograph to feature my image?

Deep down plenty of you humans know that when you feed your virtual lives (Facebook etc.), the circumstances of your texts and pictures portray just the highlight reel of your life and family. Rarely do you post the ugly mess of reality out there! The truth is that for many, the current phenomenon of virtual living is quite lonely, isolating and even scary, including me when everyone in my home turns to their tablets and phones, ignoring me in the process. Those who do not participate can feel a detachment from human contact, language, culture, and communication. And even those that do produce and consume the virtual world only stay real provided they don't blink (even us dogs flutter, but less than you humans). For example, as soon as this post gets published it is lost a second later by the post of another. Lost to the ethernet. Thus, the Internet while revealing your story about what you want to defend, what you want to attack, what you want to ignore and what you are unwilling to question; also generates a risk of aloofness, remoteness, and distance from relevant community and relationship. A community and a relationship we hounds depend on and value.

The real reality for myself is that I do have an extraordinarily great family, but it's not all just sweetness and light. Happiness and contentment take hard work offline as well as plenty of rest and sleep. In that regard, 'let sleeping dogs lie' in my non-virtual world, means just go away and leave me alone. When I am dreaming pleasant dreams, I need no interference from people talking about a bad situation once forgotten. I might otherwise consider it a nightmare and involuntarily bite out at you!

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