[These Ancient Eyes] Be A Dog

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I had two dreams last night that seemed to bleed into each other. I don’t remember them in as much detail as I would’ve liked to, writing this blog, because when I got to my desk I was momentarily deluged by work and just now (over an hour after I got up) am I getting around to actually writing this out.

As you all know, I have a LiveJournal icon that reads “when other girls wanted to be a ballerina, I kind of wanted to be a dog.” In fact, if you’re reading this on LiveJournal, that should be the userpic that I have up on this entry. I’ve mused on the therianthropic meaning of this icon for a long time, I admit. While I’m not a dog, before I came to realize I was wolf, dog was my first thought. From what I’ve heard in the therian community, that’s not uncommon – most canine therians (and even some vulpine and feline) sometimes start out either connecting to dog or wolf. Why not, when that’s the overwhelming canine imagery we’re presented with from such a young age? Who doesn’t know “the dog goes “woof!””, or hasn’t heard of the “Big Bad Wolf”?

With these overwhelming canine stereotypes, it does make it fairly difficult for a canine therian to begin sorting out what exactly they may be – especially if they turn out to actually BE a dog. With so much variety in dog breeds, figuring out exactly what kind of dog a person has lurking within their soul can be a daunting if not impossible task. I don’t envy dog therians for this reason. Even wolf therians have quite a lot of variety to deal with – and not all are lucky enough to have a “close encounter” with their theriotype as I did, to get the confirmation that some wait years for – and still others never receive.

This being said, this particular entry is actually about the pair of dreams I had last night, not necessarily therianthropy itself. I am a dire wolf therian – I am NOT a dog. However, for both dreams I had last night which I remember, I was a dog.

Now this in and of itself isn’t exactly rare. For a dream shift to actually be a cameo shift (hmm…I’m thinking now that I need to take my Shift Happens series a bit further and maybe go into the OTHER types of shifts that have not as much to do with what a therian is as with a therian’s connection to the animal world), in which a therian is not their theriotype but some OTHER type of animal – which may or may not be related to their theriotype – I usually take it to mean that either A) I’ve been way too focused on reading, watching movies/TV, or researching about that particular animal and I’ve found myself in their headspace as a result, or B) the totemic, archetypical spirit of that species is trying to get something across to me.

For these two particular dreams, I think it was leaning more toward the first than the second. I’ve recently watched Balto (which pulls wolf shift as much as dog shift, I admit), and Lady & The Tramp 2, AND I am currently re-reading Marley & Me (FANTASTIC book – if you’ve just seen the movie, you’re missing out), and Merle’s Door: Lessons Of A Freethinking Dog (my favorite book at the moment and has been for about 2 years now). So my mind’s kind of been innundated and marinating in “dog” for a couple of weeks now.

The other reason I think it’s probably a cameo shift brought on by dog immersion is that in the dreams I could talk to and be understood by humans. And with the exception of one person in the second dream (who by the way the dream ended, I’m assuming is some sort of a bad guy), no one seemed to think it weird.

Warning to anyone who’s freaked out by the movie E.T., the first dream heavily references it.

In this dream I, the talking dog (who looked somewhat similar to the dog in the first picture in this post – and I looked the same throughout both dreams), belonged to Elliot. I was near the end of the movie, near the part with the famous “flying bicycles” bit, and I was running alongside Elliot’s bike as we tried to escape from the cops. I apparently added a scene previous to ET leaving, in which we were cornered in an abandoned house and the police and swat teams were coming in.

I knew they wouldn’t use gas or anything – they couldn’t risk harming ET. I was shouting that I’d try to hold them off, and I slammed my full weight against the side of a refrigerator a few times to knock it over and block one of the doors while Elliot and ET headed upstairs. I ran into the living room and barked furiously at the door – sometimes barking, sometimes shouting what amounted to “get the hell away from my kid!” which is apparently how I the dog thought of Elliot.

There’s a blur in the dream there – a section I don’t really remember – and then I was in the attic with Elliot. The police and S.W.A.T. team were coming up the stairs shouting for us to “surrender the alien!” and we were backed up against one of those stereotypical circular attic windows. Elliot broke it out and I crawled out onto the eves carrying ET. Elliot somehow had his bike with him and managed to get it out the window (dream physics, man), and we climbed to the top of the roof.

Elliot’s friends were shouting from the other side of the police barricade around the house, we were trapped on the roof. Elliot and ET must have been communicating telepathically, and Elliot mounted his bike and patted his leg for me to get close. “I hope you know what you’re doing,” I said. He petted my head, and then with me running beside him, he launched down the slanted roof of the house. ET did his thing, and we flew off the edge of the roof.

The police started shouting and pointing. Elliot’s friends started riding beneath us and we swept low enough that ET could pick them up. The rest of the scene went the same as in the movie except that I was running alongside Elliot’s bike in the air the whole way. I woke up from that dream as we watched the mothership fly away and do the rainbow thing.

It was pretty cool – I can’t remember ever having another dream where I was simultaneously flying and running without having wings on my back of some kind. The sensation of flying, wind whipping through my fur, while my legs churned on nothing in a combination of a running and dog-paddling motion was awesome.

Strangely enough, I haven’t seen ET in over seven years. So I have no idea what brought that aspect into my dream.

I went back to sleep after noting I had about an hour until the alarm went off, and went straight into the next dream.
In the next dream, I was the same dog, visually, but…not. And I was shopping. Yes. I was shopping.

I had a cart and was going through a grocery store like it was nothing. I had a pack on my back in which I knew were my wallet and other important things. I could reach it by sitting down and twisting my head around as if I was going to chew on my back to stop an itch.

I was shopping as normal, and almost no one even gave me a second look. I had to ask an employee for help to reach something on the top shelf because even when I reared up on my hind legs I couldn’t quite reach it. I think it was lemon juice. I thanked the employee and moved on.

I finished shopping and checked out – the money was in my wallet, which was in my bag, and it was all easily designed to be manipulated by a canine’s mouth, tongue, and paws. Then I went out to the car – which was my old, now gone Jeep – and loaded the groceries in the back. It was about this time that I realized I’d forgotten the milk. I’d gotten the half and half, the cottage cheese, and the sour cream and butter, but had somehow forgotten the milk.

I had cold things in the car, but it was a fairly cold day so I figured they’d be alright while I ran back in to get the milk. I headed back in, grabbed the milk carefully by hooking my lower jaw through the handle so it sat right behind my canine teeth, and carefully closed my mouth so I wouldn’t puncture the jug.

The dream was VERY vivid. I remember the weight of the gallon in my mouth and thinking to myself that I really should have brought the cart back for this instead of just running straight in. I thought ‘I should put this back, go get the cart and come back’ which was quickly countered by ‘that will take too long. Just carry it’.So I carried it up to the front of the store and headed for the 10 items or less checkout. This is where the “villain” of the dream presented herself.

The employee at the checkout was a kindly-looking old woman. I put the milk on the conveyor belt and turned to get my wallet out again. With my head turned, I heard the woman make a hissed sound through her teeth. When I looked up, she’d scanned the milk but was looking around like she couldn’t see me. “Anyone going to pay for this?” she asked.

“I am.” I thought maybe she hadn’t seen me when I sat to get my wallet out. “Here you go.” I put down a $5 for the milk and waited for her to take it. She ignored me.

“I don’t take kindly to these kinds of jokes. If no one is going to pay for this milk I will have to have it taken back,” she said, still never actually looking at me.

I was trying to take this in stride, but I was starting to realize what was going on. She was speciest – racist but with species. Still, I didn’t call her on it. Instead, I stood up on my hind legs, planted my front paws on the counter on either side of the $5, and looked at her. Standing up like this I was actually about half a head TALLER than her. “I said, I’m paying for this. The money is right here.” I put my paw on the bill for a moment in emphasis.

She couldn’t ignore me now, and the line behind me was getting long. She met my eyes and glared at me with the most hateful look I have EVER seen. Like I was a disgusting bug she’d stepped on and now had to throw her shoes away because she had. “Down,” she said. “Get down and go get your human.”

I glared right back, narrowing my eyes. I think I had an almost Disney-ish level of expression. I looked something like this. “I don’t have a human. If you like, I can call my partner – she’s a cat. Or maybe my best friend – she’s a tiger.” I made it clear, I would NOT stand for this sort of treatment. Not to mention that her assuming all dogs had human counterparts. Would I have been shopping in a store that was obviously laid out for human comfort if I had a choice?!

She leaned dangerously close to me, like she was trying to goad me into biting her. “Then just go away. I don’t deal with you…you…abominations!” The first part of the sentence was whispered, but as she went on she got even louder until she screamed the last word in my face.

Another cashier took that moment to call to me. I glared at the woman in front of me, hesitating to break eye contact because – in my mind – that would make me the loser of the argument. “I will be speaking to your manager.” For the record, the cashier that called to me addressed me as “ma’am,” the same as you would a human.

The specist cashier glared at me as I tucked my $5 back into my bag and picked up my milk again, walking over to the other, much nicer cashier. The mean one was nice and polite to the humans in the line behind me – but for the most part they all refused to talk to her. They all looked pretty angry, too – no one had liked the way she treated me.

The nice cashier offered to call the manager for me, and I thanked them and asked them to do so as I paid for the gallon of milk. She threw in a free cloth bag so I’d be able to carry it easily, and I took my milk over to where she’d indicated to wait for the manager.

The manager took me into a back room and I filed an official complaint about the cashier. He said that wasn’t the first time the cashier had received a complaint about being rude to non-humans, however since there are as yet no discrimination laws in place for non-humans other than basic animal rights laws, until she reached ten complaints he couldn’t legally fire her. In fact, mine was the ninth complaint – and with the way the people in the line behind me had reacted, he was fairly sure they’d be getting the tenth today as well.

I said that made me feel better, but I was sorry that eight other people had to have been treated that way before something could be done. The manager agreed with me and said he’d be “voting for the non-human discrimination act” on the next ballot.  I thanked him, and he got me a $200 store gift card in apology for the whole situation. I was shocked, but happy, and slipped it into my wallet before thanking him again and picking up my milk to leave.

As I left the store, I heard the cashier who’d helped me out paging the manager again, and I sincerely hoped that he was being summoned to take that tenth complaint. The dream ended as I put the milk in the car and got into the heavily modified driver’s seat in order to drive home.

I wish I remembered more about what the driver’s seat looked like. It was a really neat design for a quadropedal creature to be able to drive, with a bench  seat that slanted up so your head was high enough to look over the dashboard, your forepaws manuvered the steering wheel which looked more like a ship’s wheel with handles than a standard steering wheel, and the brake and accelerator were pedals where your hind feet could reach. You essentially laid on your tummy in order to drive, and it was fairly comfortable. I don’t remember where the gearshift was or how to operate that, though.

*puts on sunglasses*All in all, a couple of very interesting dreams. The second one felt a bit like a metaphor – I deal with discrimination regularly. Both for being overweight and for being with a woman. Maybe this was an example of the way it might be if therianthropy became mainstream and everyone could tell what you were by how you looked or something. Bigotry is a natural feeling – it happens. If therianthropy and otherkinism were mainstream, I have no doubt situations like that might occur at least as frequently as they do with the GLBT community, not to mention racism.

What are your thoughts on the dreams? Any input?

Or was I just – *puts on sunglasses* – barking up the wrong tree?

[image credits: google, Tonamel, Tersigni, ollesvensson, dailyinvention]