Several years ago, my then boyfriend and I befriended the neighbors' little black dog, Cindy. They worked long hours and often left her outside when they were working if the weather was nice when they left. Cindy would spend her days happily running around our rural neighborhood's hilly roads and fields, playing with the other neighbors' dogs. She'd run along with some of them to greet us when we arrived home, following our cars up the road.
Cindy would then come in the house and join our three Poodles and two mixed breeds for playtime, food and affection. She'd even play gently with, and tolerate our rambunctious shepherd mix puppy, Lulubelle, for awhile before snipping gently at her, like a mama dog would correct its pup. We'd let her back out after a little while to join her family when they arrived home.
All our dogs loved the gentle-natured Cindy, and in turn she loved and protected them, us and our property. Lulubelle learned how to be a watchdog from her along with the rest of our dogs. Cindy fit right in with our pack, and even spent the night with all of us several times in our king-sized bed. Our home was her second home.
When the weather was going to turn cold and/or rainy when her family was gone, Cindy would jump the gate into our yard and scratch on the door to come in and join us and our dogs in our cozy home. We'd hear a scratch at the door, and our dogs would all start happily barking. My boyfriend or I would open the door, and all the dogs would noisily greet her. Cindy would stay with us until the storm passed and her family got home.
One day my boyfriend arrived home from work to find Cindy lying under a shade tree in the yard. He knew something was wrong because she'd always greet him in the driveway as he got out of the car. He immediately went over to where she lay to find she'd been attacked by a big dog, judging from the bite marks on her abdomen, which was already very swollen up. She raised her head up slightly to look at us and wagged her tail weakly. I ran to get a soft, clean towel, and we carried Cindy home to her house. Her owner knew by looking at her it was too late, and as my boyfriend and I walked back to our house, we heard him put her down.
I cried like I had lost one of my own.
Shortly after that, we were all in the house. I was cooking supper in the kitchen while my boyfriend played with the dogs in the living room. We heard a familiar scratch on the door, and all the dogs started their happy barking. Without thinking, my boyfriend opened the door to find a storm brewing. The dogs all looked around at each other, then at us. They seemed confused, as Cindy was nowhere to be seen. I stood there looking dumbfounded at my boyfriend while he looked back at me. All seven of us had heard Cindy wanting to come in to wait out the storm! The hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I agreed with my boyfriend that, yes, there most definitely was a scratch at the door! Cindy's ghost had come back to our house for the storm.
That happened a couple of years ago, and every now and then we still hear Cindy wanting to come in when the weather turns cold and/or stormy. We're used to it now, and it's quite interesting to explain the visits from our ghost dog Cindy when we have company, who also hears her. She'll come by when we have close friends over that knew her. They are amazed when I relate the story.
I feel safe knowing our Cindy is still watching over us. Lulubelle grew up to be a big, beautiful dog. Cindy helped us train her, from housebreaking to guard dog duty. Rest in peace, sweet Cindy. Thank you for being a part of our lives.