Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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I'm a skeptical journalist when it comes to the paranormal. However, I had an experience during the weekend that left me convinced that my pooch is telepathic.
I get goose bumps thinking about it, so I'm just going to spit this out.
Buck, my Wilson hound, successfully placed a cell phone call to me while I was dreaming.
Don't misunderstand me. Buck didn't actually place a phone call in the traditional sense - I've never even given him my number. That is to say, I've never consciously shared it with him. I'm beginning to wonder if he has my number anyway.
I should also say that my physical cell phone didn't actually ring at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Instead, the phone rang in the midst of a dream I was having. The familiar "ding-dong" was very annoying, and interrupted an entertaining acoustic guitar jam that I was participating in (in my dream).
I had picked up the phone and was about to flip it open when my conscious mind took over from my subconscious. I awoke groggily at that moment to see the dog's face close to mine as he thumped the bed with his butt and shook his collar to make his tags jangle.
The good news is that I let him out the front door just in time.
It didn't occur to me that my mutt had deliberately tapped into my dreams until about 10 minutes later. I was sitting at the dining room table with a cup of coffee and the Rocky Mountain News (Buck always fetches the morning paper out of the driveway and receives a dog biscuit in return).
I glanced away from the sports section and spied my phone lying on the oak table. It was in the exact same position it had occupied in my dream. And I was sitting in the same chair where I'd been strumming in a dream less than 20 minutes earlier.
The reverie came back to me as if it were real. I turned to my left where Buck sat at attention, staring intently into my eyes and I knew. I just knew.
I'd like to tell you he gave me a sly grin and winked at me, but that would be fiction.
My research confirms I'm not the only person to get the feeling his dog is capable of sophisticated nonverbal communication bordering on the paranormal.
The most common story is one of dogs that seem to know 10 or 15 minutes in advance when a family member is close to returning to the home.
Those stories are often dismissed by experts who suggest that pets are so finely tuned to their owners' mannerisms and movements they can infer what is about to happen next.
Buck can pick the sound of my wife's car out of the stream of vehicles that passes the house well before it approaches the driveway.
Like your dog, ours is definitely in tune with his owners' daily routine, and he is most comfortable when each day starts in a predictable series of events. The alarm goes off in our house at 5 a.m. on weekdays, and my wife leaps out of bed and begins a series of morning rituals that seldom vary. Naturally, Buck bases his routine on hers.
Of course, on weekends, the morning routine goes out the window. Judy often sleeps past 7 a.m., and Buck is left to wonder what the heck is going on.
I've never had a strong feeling that Buck was attempting to perform the Vulcan mind meld with me. However, some of the articles I've read since the canine cell phone call suggest that people are so preoccupied with verbal communication, that they shut out communication with their pets on other levels.
The fact that Buck finally broke through and reached me on a telepathic level while I was dreaming makes sense. My conscious mind was shut down, and my subconscious was sorting things out in a dream when the phone interrupted one very hot guitar jam.
Buck is one of my best friends - no doubt about it. And I've often looked at him and wondered what form thoughts take in his doggie brain. Can he think in English?
He lives to share outdoor adventures with us, and I've often wished we could just tell him to relax - we won't leave him home alone when we go hiking.
Now I'm wondering how often Buck looks at me and thinks, "The poor guy, he isn't even capable of thought-sharing. It's so sad."
Say, I wonder if I could telepathically teach Buck to play rhythm guitar.