My parents got our dog Tilley a few months after I was born, and we grew up together. As a child I was super sick. I had papilloma that had to be surgically removed every two months or they would block off my Airways. These also didn’t allow me to speak louder than a whisper as they obstructed my larynx. All this leading up to say that I was plagued with nightmares as a child. I would wake up in a cold sweat from the recurring nightmare of drowning or being strangled. Nightmares I was aware were dreams but felt real and despite recognising they wre dreams I couldnt wake up, and when i did, due to my illness I couldn’t make the sounds to scream or shout for help. Often too scared to leave my bed to seek out my parents. This is where my loyal dog Tilley came in. She slept at the foot of my bed. A large lack collie mix. A mongrel, but a sweetheart. Often I’d be in the grips of a terrible nightmare when she’d wake me up by barking loudly and nudging me. This would also inform my parents of the distress and they’d come comfort me. This went on for a few years. One night I had a horrifying dream of being strangled by a snake around my neck when I awoke. Strangely, I didn’t wake due to Tilley’s barking this time. I woke up with my face in my pillow and with sleep paralysis. I had my face down and couldn’t breath properly. But couldn’t move to right myself. It felt like i was being held down by the shoulders. Then just as I was losing all hope I hear not a bark, but a low and honestly blood curdling snarl from Tilley at my feet. She growled and snarled and pounced on my back before rolling off and onto the floor snarling all the while. After mere seconds of ger hitting the ground I felt a pop in my head like your ears on a plane but way more painful. After that i could move freely and moved basically panting for air. I ran to my parents room and honestly I don’t remember having those suffocating nightmares again after that. She was a good girl. Rest in peace.

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