Thank you for that wonderful story and I'm impressed you've read back so far through the posts. I'm sure my dog and cats dream. I've heard the dog whine and bark while alseep and move her paws as if she's running.
If you don't mind, I'd like to share some of my observations of the animals I share my property with
We live in the country against many acres of woods. Observing the animals and learning their individual personalities is fascinating. Even the little fish in my koi pond have one. More interesting is how even insects show personality. Last year I observed a dragonfly that decided it "owned" the koi pond. It was there every day swooping in to chase away on any other that came near then go back to patroling back and forth across the yard over the pond. It kept this up most of the day every day.
The deer, birds, squirrels, turkey....all of them if one pays attention is unique. I especially enjoy watching the bird feeders hung right outside our living room window. Two of my favorites were a pair of wrens who had the cutest personalities and were fearless. Always first to start singing in the morning, often before dawn, they were almost always together and very vocal. Early January this year we had a fairly big snow storm and I noticed they weren't feeding with the other birds. Didn't give it much thought at the time, but a few days later my husband went to the outbuilding and told me there were 2 dead birds laying side by side. I knew immediately it was them, checked, and it was. Guessing they entered while we had the building open preparing for the snow and got closed in when we locked it back up. The wrens were very, curious and would find their way into our screened in porch through very, small spaces between the log siding. Sometimes only one, but often both same time. So naturally they saw the door open and flew in together to investigate only to get locked in with no water or food
What I remember most of this sad situation was they were laying dead side by side. When one finally passed from at least 3 days stuck in there, the other went to it's side and died at some point along with it.
So yes, animals are aware and care for one another in many cases. Just hard for me to understand how they can do so with people although I believe it's often the case.