Good morning. I am happy to assist you. I see that you have waited a bit for an answer, but I am hopeful that I can assist!
I would like to share some information that has been suggested in dream information. I think it is important to know these facts when interpreting dreams, but also just interesting tidbits...."Some researchers believe that dreams help you to tackle stress. Dreaming is a necessity and helps to recharge the mind and revitalize the body. In dreams, negative emotions tend to occur twice as often as pleasant feelings. Fear and anxiety are the most commonly expressed emotions in dreams, followed by anger and sadness." In your dream you experience different emotions: definitely fear, anxiety, terror, and then refuge with children, no less. I tend to like the approach taken by Carl Jung. His research suggests that "Since dreams are a way of communicating with the unconscious, Jung believed that dream images reveal something about yourself, your relationships with others, and situations in your waking life. Dreams guide your personal growth and help in achieving your full potential. Jung also believes that the dream's manifest content is just as significant and revealing as the latent content. By simply discussing what is currently going on in your life, it can help you interpret and unlock the cryptic images of your dreams. Jung's method of dream interpretation is placed more confidently on the dreamer. He believes that you all possess the necessary tools to interpret your own dreams. There is no one correct way to interpret a dream. The meaning of your dreams is a personal judgment and is up to you on how to interpret them. Whatever interpretation feels right to you is most significant and more important than what someone else thinks or believes." Jung views the ego as your sense of self and how you portray yourself to the world. Part of Jung's theory is that all things can be viewed as paired opposites: good/evil, male/female, or love/hate. So working in opposition to the ego, is the "counterego" or what he refers to as the shadow. The shadow represents the rejected aspects of yourself that you do not wish to acknowledge. The shadow is more primitive, somewhat uncultured, and a little awkward. I believe in your dream you are processing aspects of yourself called the persona and the shadow. Here is a definition of each:
"The Persona is the image you present to the world in your waking life. It is your public mask. In the dream world, the persona is represented by the Self. The Self may or may not resemble you physically or may or may not behave as your would. For example, the persona can appear as a scarecrow or a beggar in your dream. However, you still know that this "person" in your dream is you.
The Shadow is the rejected and repressed aspects of yourself. It is the part of yourself that you do not want the world to see because it is ugly or unappealing. It symbolizes weakness, fear, or anger. In dreams, this figure is represented by a stalker, murderer, a bully, or pursuer. It can be a frightening figure or even a close friend or relative. Their appearance often makes you angry or leaves you scared. They force you to confront things that you don't want to see or hear. You must learn to accept the shadow aspect of yourself for its messages are often for your own good, even though it may not be immediately apparent."
So, let's look at the dream's symbolism and see what you may be experiencing at this time. Often witnessing a murder in a dream, suggests that there may be deeply seated anger or aggression that you have yet to release. Dreams of murder often occur during times of depression. If you are processing any transitions in your life at this time that can also be anxiety provoking and lead you to feel that "everything is up in the air." You also may have had a recent breakup which may lead to feelings of anger or depression (often both) during the grief cycle. I think that even the dream about the puppy, is indicative, of how something that once brought happiness, or playfulness into your life, also has led to hurt or pain, even helplessness....
The large knife in the dream, may be a pun for having been "stabbed in the back" or stabbed in the heart. Knifes can also represent anger, aggression and/or separation. There may be something in your life that you need to cut out and get rid of. Perhaps you need to cut ties or sever some relationship. Be more divisive. Alternatively, a knife refers to some sexual tension or sexual confrontation. To dream that you are wounded by a knife is symbolic of masculine or animalistic aggression. To see someone holding a knife in your dream suggests that you lack control or power in a situation or relationship. Alternatively, the person holding a knife in your dream may be symbolic of a dominant male figure in your waking life. (per resource, dreammoods.com).
Finding refuge with small children may represent longing for a time when things were more simple, or you felt that you were more innocent. The naiveté of being a child can be a wonderful and safe experience because we no longer have the heavy burdens or responsibilities as adults. Children in the dream may be highlighting your innocence, purity, simplicity, and a previous carefree attitude.
Overall, it sounds like you are pretty stressed at this time and would really like to decompress or just have a sense of peace about an unsteady situation. I truly hope you find some real refuge. Please let me know what you think of the interpretation.
I would love to hear your feedback! Thank you, Jules