Those of you who know me on Facebook know I had to put my dog down just after Christmas because she was suffering from cancer. She was a good dog with some quirks that made her endearing. But as difficult as it was to take her that day, I couldn’t watch her suffer anymore. Little did I know that I wouldn’t have to miss her as much as I thought.
Barrie’s dog, Nik, is a 15 year old Jack Russell. He’s a very calm, sweet, very loveable, and well behaved dog who normally just lays around contentedly unless it’s time to eat or time to go outside. (He does go on an adventure when he can – see “Nik – the Flying Wonder Dog” from October 17, 2010.) But overall, he’s simply been a quiet, trouble free dog. But that seems to have changed.
Can dogs come back from the grave and inhabit another dog? I have to wonder.
While Nik was always the one who stayed in his bed, or under our bed, while Lucky used to follow me everywhere, particularly into the kitchen. She was always hoping I would either give her some small treat or drop something on the floor. (Once something hit the floor it was normally hers. It was the only time she ever got to eat people food.) When I would leave the kitchen she’d stay, nosing around for a few minutes just to make absolutely sure I hadn’t slipped and let something fall unnoticed.
When I was feeding her she would always finish her food before Nik and then wait for him to finish so she could lick his bowl and make sure it was completely clean. I swear if it wasn’t for the germs and saliva I wouldn’t have ever had to wash them.
When we went into the back yard Lucky was all about chasing the birds, squirrels and rabbits out of her yard. It was her yard and she didn’t like sharing it with the wild creatures. She was OK sharing it with Nik but no one else.
Once the feeding was done, she’d been outside and the yard was clear she was content to lay down beside me and stay there for hours. That was just her.
About two weeks or so after Lucky was gone I started to notice new behavior in Nik. He was starting to follow me to the kitchen and wait for me to drop things. I then noticed he would remain in the kitchen checking the floor after I left.
We got a new dog in early January (Barrie said it was because Nik was lonely) and now there were once again two dogs in the house. Nik tolerates Gizmo well, except when Giz gets in Nik’s bed, and there has been no problem between the two. What’s interesting is that Nik has assumed almost all of Lucky’s traits.
As I said – he follows me to the kitchen looking for handouts and dropped items. Gizmo, being younger, always finishes eating before Nik and Nik goes from his bowl to Gizmo’s to lick it clean. Nik has begun to notice the birds and squirrels in the backyard and now, when I let him out, he runs around the yard constantly chasing them away. I sometimes have to call him several times before he’ll stop chasing the squirrels (they bother him the most) and come inside.
Finally, once the feeding and chasing are completed, Nik simply wants to come in and lay beside me for hours without moving. He’s content to just be there where we are and sleep when all is right in his world.
So can the spirit of one dog come back and inhabit another? It was so bizarre one afternoon, Nik was acting so much like Lucky that I looked at him and asked “Lucky – is that you?” almost expecting an answer. I didn’t get much of a chance to miss Lucky after she was gone because she seems to have quietly returned and take up residence in Nik. Nik doesn’t seem to mind. He’s adapted to his new activities well, particularly the laying beside me for hours.
Coincidence, you say? Probably. But it’s an interesting coincidence to say the least. The change in Nik is remarkable but fun. Lucky – if it really is you, welcome back.