It's 9:30pm and Wiley is on the hunt. For a few moments every night, he pulls my attention away from whatever I'm reading. Wiley is my 1 year old Mastiff pup.
It begins with a whimper, almost a wheeze, then his breathing escalates. He'll bark, a slight woof! under his breath, almost seeming to mumble. His eyes roll frantically under his eyelids.
He lies on the couch flat on his back with his legs in the air, but he doesn't know it. His legs begin to twitch slightly, then begin their usual route. Just like the understated bark, his run is slight and almost feigned, but steady. In his mind he no doubt leaps and bounds across some field of high grass, chasing a rabbit or squirrel.
He gains speed and periodically tremors violently. The understated woof! gives way to a grumble, grumble, which the imaginary rabbit would likely recognize as a full-on growl.
Then as suddenly as it began,
Ten stone worth of puppy rolls off the couch and hits the floor. Wiley is startled awake. He looks up at me with those big puppy eyes, as if to say, "Damn it dad, I almost had it that time." I'm sure he almost did, and he'll try again tomorrow night.
Without getting back on the couch, he goes back to sleep and I go back to my reading, just like every other night, amused.