In November of 2017 I submitted a story to YGS regarding my departed Schnauzer, Mr. Riggs. He had returned from death to visit his home and family. Last heard from Halloween night of 2017, I thought him gone for good. Apparently I was wrong. There are indications that he has returned.
This story is about that return;and, I think, more.
I want to tell you about this experience because what happened is absolutely real, and real encounters are what YGS is about. Still, I don't quite know how to explain what took place. I can manipulate words well enough to tell the story. I just don't know how the story I am sharing with you is possible.
There was more death. That is the best place to start. The last of my 3 Schnauzers passed on October 19, 2018. Known as "The Rascal," or simply "Rascal," his death was expected due to illness. Still, his passing was ugly, and came sooner than we anticipated. Once again we experienced grief, sorrow and tears at the loss of a beloved pet.
But Rascal's death is only a small part of the story. There are more interesting things to share with you.
Here is some information that will help you understand what took place before Rascal passed. Rascal had a morning routine that I had to be attentive to, in part because he was blind and needed help. The routine included, feeding, watering, medication and being put outside. After all those things were done I would head to the shower to start my day.
About 3 weeks before Rascal passed, I heard clicking canine toenails in the hallway outside my bathroom door. This meant Rascal was making his way down the hallway to be let out into the backyard. Our home has laminated flooring and the sound of a walking dog can be heard quite clearly. I opened the bathroom door and saw nothing. Rascal was nowhere to be seen. It didn't occur to me at the time, but I had just heard the same sounds I had described in the story "Mr. Riggs Walks." To be honest, Riggs never crossed my mind. I thought him long gone and only a memory. The clicking sounds in the hallway repeated 2 or 3 times during that week.
Two weeks before Rascal's departure the clicking in the hallway seemed to gain momentum. It continued at an increased rate. It always happened when I went to shower. Rascal was seldom the reason for the sounds as he was nearing his death and his behavior was changing. During this second week of toenail tapping the occurrences had more or less doubled.
The week before Rascal died the sounds of tapping toenails grew still more frequent. The day before Rascal passed it happened 5 times in 40 or 45 minutes. I checked on Rascal each time and he had not left his bed. It appeared he had not even moved. His routine had been abandoned and he refused to eat or drink. I knew Rascal was in trouble and we were nearing the end.
I didn't know what to make of the noises in the hallway. I was annoyed at having my showers interrupted. Failure to get Rascal outside would mean cleaning up a mess. And because he was blind we were very attentive to his needs. Rascal was the priority and the clicking a nuisance. My previous experience with Mr. Riggs was never considered. I wondered if our cats were doing something that created those sounds. Even as I write this I question my own behavior. All I can say is my concern was for my dog and a hot shower to start my morning. Then, finally, a cup of coffee.
We took Rascal to our vet after he took a turn for the worse. His doctor had been treating him for months and was very familiar him and his condition. Rascal's doctor was joined by another veterinarian and together they examined him, then said it was time. After all our efforts to provide and care for him, it appeared Rascal had developed cancer of the liver or spleen. In Rascal's best interest his life was gently brought to a close. Our hearts were broken yet again. You see, he was not just a dog, he was the last of our family. Our home took on the feel of a tomb. It was as though sorrow hung in the still air. All 5 of our friends were now gone.
There were times when I was alone that I cried out in anguish, as though my soul was emptying itself of grief and torment. It was involuntary, and when it happened I did not recognize my own voice. I heard and met a new me, an unfamiliar self. This the result of realizing my family dead.
Yes, I know. Not very manly of me. After all, they were only dogs, those 5 who had been a large part of my family since 1974. They had shared my life, even my bed, for more than 40 years. They were only dogs, but we had bonded in an inexplicable way. We were pals and more. We shared a lot of love, those pals and I. Now they are gone.
After Rascal died everything fell into place, though it took a little time to put it together.
I think Mr. Riggs returned and walked the hall. He was, I suspect, warning me of Rascal's coming departure. More importantly, I think Mr. Riggs was coming for Rascal, to accompany him, or perhaps, to lead his friend to what comes next. They had lived their lives together and were like brothers. I think they loved one another, and that their love continues beyond the grave.
But this is not the end of the story. There is more.
During the nights of 21, 22 and 23 November, 2018 I was visited in my bedroom by the spirit of a dog. Call it a ghost if you like. Whether I awoke in order to experience this, or was awakened by it, I do not know. The first night I heard 3 irregular and slow footsteps on our bedroom floor, which is also laminated flooring. It was as though the dog was unsure of himself. The second night there were also 3 footsteps, more certain this time, though slow, like the dog was searching for something. The surprise came when I heard the dog sniff several times, then snort as though clearing his nose. The third night I heard 3 quick, steady footsteps which seemed to say "I'm out of here!," then silence. Yes, I heard the toenails clicking against the floor. Each visitation was between 3:00AM and 4:00AM, with 3:15 and 3:35 being two specific times that I recall. The sounds came from the foot of our bed, near the side I sleep on. Rascal's bed is still located near the foot of our bed.
I think the late night caller was Rascal. Perhaps I was given the farewell we could not share at his passing, as he had been anesthetized to control his pain.
There is little else to tell. I have no substantive knowledge about ghosts or hauntings, and very little experience with the dead. I can offer you no real explanation as to the how or why this happened, only speculation. What I can say with certainty is this did, in fact, happen to me.
Our new Schnauzer, Gunner, has made himself at home, and we are moving on with life.
The love we feel for our earlier dogs remains, our focus is on caring for our new family member.
Thank you all for your kindness. It was a difficult time.