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Dreams and writing can help you know your pet better

What your pet can teach you...asleep and awake

Bunny dreams

When my daughter moved away, she left her pet bunny with me “for a couple of weeks” while she looked for an apartment. Nine years later, I have become the keeper and companion of an adorable, overfed, dwarf bunny.

I often dream of Honey Bunny (my daughter named her). I dream that she’s on the loose, or I’m chasing her through the house, or reconstructing her cage. I once dreamed another animal had come to steal her water.

When we dream of pets we are sometimes dreaming of parts of ourselves that are instinctual or those wild parts of ourselves that have been tamed. A dream of a pet can also point to a desire for affection.

Rabbits, in particular, are said to represent luck, fertility, taking chances, and more.

Pets that appear in our dreams (like everything in dreams, according to Carl Jung) have something unique to tell us. Perhaps the best way to find what message they want to deliver is to ask them directly through active imagination or journaling. You can use this technique on your pet as she appears in a dream, or just as a creative exercise with or without a corresponding dream.

Recently I spent a few moments exploring what Honey Bunny might have come to show me in my dream. This is what a quick writing exercise revealed:

This Bunny

The color of lavender before it blushes

With glassy eyes that track changing light and sleepy shadows

Dreaming awake of a world without bite.

With the voice of no voice

She tells me:

Be gentle

Trust

Wait.

–Tzivia Gover

Write a dream-poem about your pet

Imagine you are the animal.

Z Enter into an imaginary dialogue with your pet. You can focus on your pet as it appears in your dreams, or as it exists in waking life.

Z On the page, imaginatively interview your pet. Ask what it loves most, what its purpose is, what it fears most, what it desires most, and what it has come to tell you.

Z Arrange the answers to these questions into a short poem. Edit out any unnecessary words and what you are left with might just carry the essence of your pet’s nature, and the hidden gifts it has to offer you.

You can do this exercise whether or not you have dreamed of your pet. All animals have something to teach us about our selves and our place in the world.

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