Only in dreams: lumberjacks and headless dogs

The Sleepers
Dreamers [detail], Albert Moore, 1882
Last night I dreamed I had just bought a new house. It was large and luxurious, with huge windows and richly brocaded curtains. I was running about with a camera taking photos so I could share them with my friends and family, who didn’t know I’d bought it. I was thrilled that I’d been able to afford such an obviously expensive house. As I explored, I kept finding new staircases and little secret rooms.

Time jumped, and my mother visited, sleeping downstairs in the basement with my two dogs. In the morning she let them out through the childproof security gate on the basement stairs. One came running into me in the bathroom, jumping with excitement. I was trying to calm her when suddenly her head came off.

I was initially alarmed, but then I saw that she came apart like a plastic doll with a screw-in head, and the old head was worn and simply needed replacing. So I tucked her head back on – it wasn’t functional and she couldn’t see through the eyes –  and carried her out to the car.

Outside was a man in a lumberjack shirt and boots who’d come to do the garden. His car had broken down in my driveway and he was tinkering under the bonnet. He wanted to hold my dog, and I warned him that she was blind because she’d lost her head that morning. He was fine with that and cuddled her happily for a bit in his enormous grease-blackened hands. He was very large and she was very small, and she nestled into his neck beside his big black lumberjack beard.

New houses and lumberjack dreams are surprisingly common (although not necessarily in combination), but you’d think that a dream about a headless dog would be, well, unique. Not so. Pop ‘headless dog dream’ into google, and you’ll get 442,000 hits. I only found a few that involved dogs with replaceable heads, but it turns out there are many possible – and contradictory – interpretations for dreams involving dogs, and headless bodies, and even headless dogs. They are, for the most part, negative. A few favourites:

  • Dream dogs are harbingers of fever and headless dogs are an omen of death.
  • A dream dog represents a ‘vile and insolent’ woman belonging to a group of persistent evildoers.
  • Dream dogs are the incarnation of meanness, lowliness, villainy and humiliation with everlasting affection for their masters, their masters’ money and their master’s children.

Clearly, I’m doomed.


Other dream-related posts:
To snore; perchance to dream?
Dreams are weird: now with added Tom Baker and Tori Amos

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