It’s freezing out (yesterday Dave and I checked the temperature when we took Paul for a walk, and it registered at 7 degrees) and I have a bad cold, so last night my dreams were populated by the peculiarities of unrest and cold medecine.

The only notable one was this: I am in a tall house, and I look out the window over a grassy yard, where my dad’s dog, Chessie (who recently passed away at the ripe old age of 14.5) is fighting a hippopotamus.

The hippo is small – the kind of small that makes you think, oh, nature specials are a lie, in this dream – but still bigger than Chessie, and so it’s pretty impressive how much she is getting the better of it. I’m not sure, even in the dream, why there is a hippo in the yard, but this strangeness registers only on the level of a stray dog jumping over the backyard fence, or seeing an oriole.

At some point she (Chessie) gets some major piece of the hippo in her mouth, and then the hippo skulks away and I bring Chessie inside to congratulate her. She is strong and spry, and it’s only a few minutes later that I realize this dog is not Chessie, Chessie is gone, this is some other dog who looks very much like her and is not keen to leave my house.