All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Wildcat dogs’

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Avatar Dogs on a Davidson Dreamscape


I dreamed about Oscar this morning, and by the time I lay there half an hour figuring out what it might have meant, I was about to make myself late for an early meeting with my boss, which Would Not Do, so permit me now—properly breakfasted, boss-met, and caffeinated—to muse for a moment in real time as I settle into this gray winter Friday with a forecast of snow on Main Street, Davidson, USA. First, here’s Oscar:

The late, great, big, yellow Oscar the Wild (left) in his mature years, with l'il buddy Gabriel Newton on the front porch of Julia Johnston House College Communication offices, April 2004.

In the dream, good ol’ Oscar came back to life, slowly at first, then with more of his habitual élan vital. This is a dog who could wag not just his whole body but the entire lamp post he was hitched to. Oscar was open and strong and gentle and enthusiastic and mellow and always smiling, always by my side, from long walks in my MaMaw’s Mississippi woods to a hilarious expedition through the Paris Métro, even to the time he picked up a baby skunk in his mouth on the lawn of the President’s House in 2002. Thank God for pickup trucks and Lake Norman. I threw him in both that night. P.U.

Anyway, part of last night’s dream happened at the office: It started to snow, and my officemates Kelly Beggs ’09 and Bill Giduz ’74 and I, as is our workaday custom in real life, became happily excited at the prospect. Then, as Oscar and I stepped out into the fluffy pristine snowfall, his full earthly life forces returned to his dream body and he wagged his whole self, just like always. I was happy, then I awoke and I was sad, then I settled into the possibilities of both happy and sad at the same time, which is to say, life as it actually happens to us.

What the dream means can’t be seen without looking at Dodger, the Carolina fooldog pointer mutt I have now. Where Oscar was open and strong and gentle and enthusiastic and mellow and always smiling, always by my side, Dodger is intense and athletic and mercurial and boundlessly energetic and also always smiling but only by my side when he’s not in mid-air, or way out front, or both. When I got him two years ago, I used to take him down to the little bridge near Erwin Lodge on back campus where Oscar’s ashes are scattered and pray O Dear Lord God Almighty in Heaven Above, please, please, please let some of the spirit of the first dog get into the spirit of this one. I think He heard me but is taking His sweet time in getting around to it, and expecting me and Dodger to do a good bit of the footwork, which I guess stands to reason, since we’re the ones down here with our foots on the world, and all.

All of which is to say one dog is not better or worse than the other, just different. And that, finally, what the dream means to me, from the Jungian perspective that all our dream entities represent aspects of the Self, is that all those characteristics represented in our dogs are in us, too, and that I need all the stuff I see reflected in both Oscar and Dodger in order to dance fully and properly in the snow on Main Street.


And that I need to haul Dodger’s rowdy self to Camp Wagging Tails on the days when I oversleep and we don’t have time for our full morning romp in the meadow before work.

Dodger is in there somewhere. Click the image for a camera map; Dodger's a scrappy 49.2 lbs. of springy sinew and usually runs with the big dogs in the top play area of the map, near the bone pool. All dogs go inside for nap and snack from 11-1. Kinda makes you want to be a dog, doesn't it?