When Pets Visit Dreams

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots; source livlily.blogspot.com, 2001 character design, Living Lines Library

A woman walked along a dirt road in her dream. She noticed her cat beside the road. The cat called out to her, “Hello.” She thought she had misheard a noise he made, and kept walking.

Farther along, she came to a fork in the road. Beside the junction stood her cat on his hind legs, leaning against a signpost. The cat greeted her again, “Hello,” calling her by name. She was so surprised, certain she had heard him speak, that she answered, “Cats don’t talk.” The cat replied, “Got your attention, though, didn’t I?”

The woman admitted that he had, and listened to his message about a decision she was contemplating. It was the uncharacteristic appearance and manner of her own cat that made it clear to her she was making a decision that would set her life course for years to come.

Books, cartoons and other media expose us to animals behaving in ways that are uncharacteristic of their natural behavior: the bear wearing a tutu, dancing on a tightrope while holding an umbrella, for example. We’ve heard the words of a spider conducting a marketing campaign from her web. We’ve grown accustomed to talking animals and opinionated trees.

In dreams, the rules (if there are any) are different. Things often look and behave differently than they do in waking life, even though we still cling to a sense of structure and what we like to think is normal. When one element of a dream stands out as bizarre it grabs our attention. What happens when a waking life animal turns up in our dreams? What if their behavior is uncharacteristic? Or they’re behaving in a way that’s familiar and you know it’s really them?

Our companion animals are in our lives to provide support on many levels. Yours may bring you a message that you’re missing – or that needs to be reinforced – by paying a visit in your dream in a way that’s sure to grab your attention. The key is to recognize that this is a message from a guide who has gone to great lengths to make sure you get it.

Deceased Pets Reappearing

About a year after my dog Buki transitioned into spirit, I had a dream in which she appeared with another dog. The other dog was shepherd-looking, white. Buki herself looked happy and full of life. “You need dog energy,” she said. This dream let me know that Buki wanted us to have another dog in our lives. And thus began the process of opening our hearts to another dog.

Others have told me of dream visits from their deceased pets. Often the visit is a picture of their pet, looking alive, well and happy. It’s as though their pet is dropping by with a message that they are okay.

One woman told of being in that place between sleep and waking when she felt her cat jump up on the bed with that characteristic thump, and then take a few steps before curling up beside her. “I smiled,” she said. Only after becoming fully awake did she remember that her cat had died the week before.

When a pet goes missing one of the hard parts is not knowing what happened. A man wrote of his concern when his dog went missing, and the gnawing feeling that the dog was dead. He then had a dream in which his dog came to him, surrounded by a ball of golden light, and he knew his dog had died. He could then grieve for his dog without feeling he was being disloyal by giving up hope.

Living pets in dreams

My cat, Tyson, a wise master teacher, has visited many of my dreams and meditations both while he was alive and since he transitioned. He helped with my books. I didn’t remember all the comments dream-time Tyson said, but woke with a knowing of how to fix something or get through a sticky place. Tyson told me the name of “his” book, Hand in Paw. He also named my other two books, Animals on Reiki and Leaves in My Hair. He doesn’t appear often, just when he feels I need his help with something.

A friend’s dog shows up in her dreams as a guide, or rather a guide shows itself as her dog so she knows she can trust where he leads her.

A woman who had to give up her cats when she moved worried and wondered about them, and if they were well and happy. She was greatly relieved to see them in a dream, curled on a rug in a spot of sunlight and purring. She felt they had heard her concern, and let her know they were okay.

What is the Message?

There’s another aspect of our companion animals appearing in our dreams. In dream work, renowned dream teacher Jeremy Taylor says: “All dreams come in service of the dreamer.”

Thus, an animal who comes in a dream may be alerting you to something that needs your attention, and that animal may be both the one you remember and the archetypal version of itself. [Archetypal animals are a subject for a different essay.]

Our animals communicate with us all the time. Often, when we’re awake, our minds are too busy to receive a message that can be very subtle, or we just don’t understand the message. When we’re asleep, our logical minds are at rest and we are less likely to dismiss the words, images, or feelings that can come with a communication. Our dream source will figure out a way to capture our attention. So, when your animal, living or in spirit, pays a visit in dream time, pay attention. There’s a message there, even though it may take an out-of-the-box approach to sort it out. Let your feelings guide you.

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"Your words of wisdom and advice make the grieving process a little easier. Thank you for taking your time to organize such a helpful support system for those who are in mourning."
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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
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