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Dream 01_199909

Dream of the Month (September 1999)
  1. Title: Short Dogs' Tails

  2. Date of the Dream: 8/21/1999 (mailed Sunday, 22 August 1999)

  3. Dream: I'm standing in the back yard by the shed holding a medium-sized brown dog in my arms. There is a serrated knife in my right hand and I start using it to amputate the dog's tail. I saw through the dog's tail, which is made of wood like a tree branch. The knife is rather flimsy and should have been unsuitable, but it works just fine. The stump doesn't bleed, nor does the dog yelp. Rather, the dog seems to be enjoying the attention; at one point during the process, it turns and glances at me, panting happily.

    Then I realize I need more dogs to complete my project, which is going to be the solution to a problem, and this problem, whatever it is, flits through my mind in the dream, (but I can't remember it now). I'm going to glue these dogs together by their stumps of tails, and this is going to solve this problem. I visualize the three dogs trying to run away from each other, but they can't, because their short tails are glued together, this effectively keeps all three in the same spot. I find two more tan-colored dogs just like the first, pick one up and look at its stump of a tail; it had apparently been amputated a while ago and the skin and fur had grown back over the stump, which is also made of wood like the first dog's. I realize I can't use it like that. The end of the stump has to be fresh; (maybe the glue wouldn't stick unless it was). I examine the stump and wonder if I could cut another little slice off in order to have a fresh wound on the end, but that would make his tail awfully short and I wasn't sure that would be okay.

    I decide to get a second opinion. I place all three dogs under my right arm and carry all three dogs easily that way and head toward the side door of the house. My middle-aged father exits the door as I approach and I show him the tail that I'm thinking about cutting even shorter. Before I have a chance to ask him his opinion, he looks at it in dismay, and says: "Oh, boy." I realize I did something wrong. Then the dream ends.

  4. Significant life event: Nothing really major, but our pine tree did get pruned without authorization by a teenager now living with us. He's earning his keep by taking care of the yard. He apparently thought the pine tree needed pruning, but I got upset with him about it.

  5. Personal concerns/issues: There's a bit more aggravation in my life right now due to an additional member in our household. The new person (a teenager who is earning his keep by taking care of the yard) isn't deliberately being annoying; it's just the adjustments we all have to make. Then there is the neighbor's German shepherd that keeps getting out of their yard, coming over here and chasing my stray cats and eating their food. Having an animal control officer talk to them hasn't accomplished anything; the dog continues to outsmart his owners to escape from their yard. What makes this even more aggravating is that he's a nice dog and I love him! Also, lately I've been restless and discontented, as if I need a major change in my life. It's also been slow and boring at work lately.

  6. Associations: This one has got me stumped. (Hee hee!) The dream was the last one of the night. My father in the dream was my waking life father who died several years ago as an old man, but in the dream he was middle-aged. Also, in waking life I'm against cropping dogs' ears and tails. I associate dogs with faithfulness and loyalty. There were three dogs in the dream. The knife in the dream is one I own in real life and it is indeed rather flimsy (the blade bends). It's good for cutting meat or bread, but not something like carrots.

  7. Pen Name: Cat Lover

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

Identifying Characteristics: Amputation and surgery represent changes. Dogs typically reflect loyalty to self, and but also can symbolize people in our close circle.

This dream cautions against the seeming kindness of flexible standards and boundaries. It really isn’t a kindness to cut off a dog’s tail an inch at a time, nor is it in anyone’s interest to force connections to grow by trying to graft mutual wounds together. When dreams show us doing outlandish and clearly wrong-headed things in an attempt to resolve a problem, it provides an irreverent signal to take stock. What clever method have you been using to hold things together? As in the dream, be wary of putting too great an emphasis on the “project” of solving a problem right now and instead weigh the priorities and compatibility involved. This doesn’t mean the ingredients are wrong, but it means you’ll feel better if you give up the resolution of sticking with the recipe you’ve adopted. Look for a paradox. This may be one of those times when what seems kind is really cruel, and what seems harsh may be the greatest kindness of all.


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