Up until a few years ago, I had not heard of animal spirit guides. I was not aware of a constant animal presence that is with everyone until after having a dream and reflecting on some strange past experiences.
One morning, when I was about 4 years old, I woke up in my bed and stretched my arms over my head and behind my bed, where there was a wall. As I did this, I felt a hand grab mine. I didn't feel scared when I leaned over to take a look, just curious. But there was really nothing there, nor could anyone fit in that 6 inch space.
This happened again when I was 10. After stretching, a hand squeezed mine, I looked, and again nothing.
A few years later, still sleeping at the bottom end of my pillow to avoid the "hands", I had just awaken and was looking at my ceiling and felt a hand pull at my hair. As with the last two times, I felt compelled to check, but wasn't nervous about the whole deal. I knew that these weren't those "awake" dreams. I was awake. I knew I was. I would not have something happen to me in a dream and then wake up and pick up awake where I left off in the dream. This was real.
And again, a few years ago, I had my last (for now) experience. I had just awaken, saw the sun shining in, and was laying down just for a few moments before getting up, when I felt claws run through and pull my hair. Claws! Now this creeped me out totally. The "hand" never had claws before. For a few nights after that, I slept toward the middle of my bed.
A while after that, I learned about the animal spirit guides. I thought that was a cool concept, and wondered if I had one. A few nights later, I met it.
I had a dream that I was in the front hallway in my house, crying uncontrollably, for what reason I don't know. As I was crying, a large panther came up the front porch stairs, and into the hallway. I was startled by it, but after looking into it's big, green, knowing eyes, I was not at all scared, but curious.
"Are you my spirit guide?" I asked. Now apparently, spirit animals can't really communicate with you through talking, some sort of "rule" I guess, and it looked at me lovingly and nodded, curled up next to me, and the dream ended.
After that dream, the "hand", claws and all, made sense. It was my panther. I believe that "he" was warning me of oncoming troubles, though I can't remember now, what they were. I belive that the hand grabbed mine before my grandfather died, and before other life changing events. Now, instead of grabbing my hand, (this may sound strange) I see cats when stuff is going to happen. They always appear outside, usually when I'm driving, and I know that they are not strays, because there are just so many. If a cat looks at me, things are good. If I see many running, or avoiding my glance, bad things happen.
One night, at the beach, after seeing cats for the past couple of days, I saw a cat in my rear view mirror walking in the sand. I turned to look at him, and he was gone. The next day, I found out a friend had died.
After talking with my dad and grandmother, they both feel that felines have been messengers to them as well.
I just moved out of the house I grew up in (where all the "hand" experiences occurred, but nothing else unusual) and into a new apartment with my husband. I haven't felt the hand for about 5 years. If I do, I know that the outcome will not be good, but at least I know that there is another form of support to get me through life.