I’m at my parents house, and I’m supposed to be watching two tan-colored dogs, identical in appearance. Though I’m uncertain who they belonged to, I’m fairly certain that they didn’t belong to me. At some point I noticed that I hadn’t seen them around in some time, though initially I dismissed it as me being paranoid and put it out of my mind. Eventually, though, I felt justified in my worry and began asking people if they had seen either of them, and when it became clear that no one had, I began my search in earnest. As I began looking around inside the house, I saw my parents’ collie laying on his side below the kitchen table and immediately suspected he was dead, but chose to ignore it, figuring I was merely being paranoid.
I looked everywhere for the missing dogs. Each time I even thought of my own little, black cat (which I do not, in actuality, own), it would show up nearby, as if summoned, but I could not find the twin dogs anywhere. Ultimately I went outside to look, and eventually went into a little fenced in area with a large wooden box-like structure with a door, an area that turned out to house all these cats. They all seemed to really like me, especially one fluffy one in particular, which looked at me curiously. I kept looking. In the yard, by the driveway, I see my parent’s dog again, and someone’s lifting him. He’s clearly dead and stiff as a board. When I finally went back into the house, my youngest sister comes back inside as well. Her face is red and, with tears in her eyes, she tells me, sobbing, that the dogs are barking — at least, that’s what I think she says. I take her to mean not the two dogs I had been looking for, but rather the neighbor’s dogs, specifically the neighbors who used to have the vicious rottweiler I had affectionately named Cujo.
After that, I finally woke up and got out of bed.
Though I’m not entirely certain at what points in the dream that it happened, I actually awoke once or twice in the midst of it and decided to go back to sleep and enter back into the dream because I wanted to find those two dogs before I got out of bed. I never did, but I find the fact that I was capable of entering back into the dream damned intriguing in retrospect. I think I’ve been able to do that in the past on relatively rare occasions, but it has been some time. Indeed, it has been a long time since I’ve had any degree of dream recall at all.
In the past, I’ve had recurring dreams in which I suddenly recalled that I owned pets that I had forgotten about and had failed to provide food and water for, often finding them dead or near death. Though this dream doesn’t exactly fit that pattern, I suspect that it references and reflects the same underlying issues.
In general, animals may symbolize instinctive drives and emotions. Humans are animals, after all, it is only that we are self-domesticated, so other animals in dreams may be associated with the biological drives we dissociate ourselves from, the aspects of our identity that we tend to repress — in essence, the Jungian Shadow. My recurring dreams of having amnesia regarding owning pets and not having given them food or water suggests a failure of responsibility towards aspects of myself dependent on me for health and survival, and so perhaps my instincts themselves. This more recent dream, however, features two dogs that were temporarily dependent upon me and for whom I was responsible. In losing them, I not only let the animals down but whoever had entrusted me to care for them.
In addition, there was again a dog that belonged to someone else, namely my parents, and he was dead. To call this dog a friendly dog is to make a molehill out of Olympus Mons, as he is the biggest, most adorable attention whore I’ve ever encountered. He constantly wants to be petted, always tries to step up on your lap or stick his nose in his face and always follows you around, often waking you up out of sleep with a cold nose or sloppy lick to the face. Though he can get irritating, I adore the dog, as I do with respect to most animals, and spend a lot of time when I visit my parents feeding him the attention he craves.
So lost dogs, dead dogs: the dogs got lost due to my lack of attention, and the dog that craves attention more than anything has died. Like the recurring dreams of animals, it again suggests not investing attention and properly nurturing someone or something, perhaps buried and instinctive drives. And dogs I strongly associate as an animal that is loyal but incredibly dependent on the owner. My characterization of cats is much different.
Cats are typically independent creatures. Rather than followers, they are, at best, partners with their own, strong sense of self. A little internet searching regarding dream interpretations reveals that they are also seen to represent the Jungian Anima, or the feminine aspect of the male psyche that he projects onto the women in his life, and also his intuition. Of potential relevance is the fact that twice in the dream I dismissed my intuition as paranoia only to later discover that I had, in fact, been right: first, assuming the two dogs had run off; second, assuming my parent’s dog was dead. Typically, dogs are considered to be more obedient; cats, more independent, but the circumstances in the dream seem to imply the reverse. I couldn’t find the two dogs, but every time I so much as wondered where my cat was it seemed to suddenly just be there.
Blacks cats in particular are additionally associated with the unknown, the mysterious, and with the occult and magick. To some they also represent bad luck, but that’s never been an association of mine, at least consciously. Everything else associated with cats offered above, however, also resonates remarkably well with the qualities I find alluring about women I’ve been close to in my life.