DEAR DR. FOX: Having just read your column about a deceased dog seeming to have left traces of fur on a cleaned and paper-covered carpet where he used to regularly sleep, I thought you might be interested in two cases where our dead dogs came back to visit us.
Woodrow was a black husky mix with a sweet and loving personality. As he reached the age of 13, he found it difficult to get up because of arthritis. We had to gently pull him from the front to help him get to standing position.
Our oldest daughter and her husband kept him for us while we went away for a few days. Our son-in-law (who doesn't like dogs in general) was impatient with Woodrow, who was under the dining room table while they were eating. He couldn't get out on his own, and my son-in-law became impatient with him, even though the dog wasn't begging for food. Consequently, the dog was yelled at and pushed and shoved at his backside, where he was in pain. The dog bit our son-in-law severely. Given an ultimatum by our son-in-law, we had to put Woodrow down.
Two days after Woodrow's death, his smiling face (head only) showed up to another daughter of ours and me while we were half asleep. It was like he was letting us who loved him know that he was happy and OK.
For years, I thought maybe we both were just dreaming, until our next dog, a Sheltie named Alex, came back to visit. At about 15 years old, Alex, who also had the most loving personality -- and arthritis -- died while being boarded while we were on vacation. I'd had a premonition about it happening, but still wasn't prepared for it when it happened. Three days later we came back and picked up his ashes and a paw-print mold that the vet had ready for us. The next night, I heard his slow footsteps walk into the kitchen and then something drinking water from the bowl we had for our other dog. Alex's chain was clanking against the bowl the whole time he drank. At first I thought it was our remaining dog, but he was sleeping on the sofa, curled up against my wife. Then I heard Alex walking back into the room where the rest of us were.
The same thing happened the next night. I felt that he was showing his love for us in his former life, so I told him how much we loved him and what a wonderful dog he was. Then I explained that in death, he was supposed to be able to run and play and be without pain or any limitation -- so if he saw that he was able to do that if he didn't remain with us, he should know that we still loved him greatly, and that he didn't have to stay with us. My wife also heard all of this.
We never heard from him again. -- R.C., Glenn Dale, Maryland
DEAR R.C.: Your accounts of after-life manifestations do parallel many that I have received from others, which I have published in my book "Animals and Nature First."
So many similar accounts do help confirm the metaphysical veracity of these phenomena to which we may be privy when we have open hearts and minds. Thank you for adding to this documentation. I have received several other accounts from readers who feel the familiar touch or hear the jingling tags of a deceased animal companion, as you did, sometimes by two people at the same time or by another animal in the home responding at the same instant. These new accounts are posted on my website DrFoxVet.net, under "New Evidence of Life After Life."
DEAR DR. FOX: We have a 2-year-old Lab mix. She is crate trained, but we are working on leaving her out more often.
The problem we have is that sometimes we come home, and she has gotten into our trash. At this time, we cannot afford a "pet-proof" can, nor do we have a cupboard we can keep it in. I've read many remedies, including hot pepper spray, vinegar, citrus spray or ammonia. Are any of these truly effective? Do you have any other ideas? -- C.F., Myersville, Maryland
DEAR C.F.: Dogs are scavengers by nature, and those alone all day get bored, which is another reason to invade the trash container. I would buy a cheap tin bucket with a lid and wire handle that flips up and locks the can lid securely -- not expensive. Alternatively, leave your trash container in the bathroom and close the door before you leave.
Safe chew toys for the dog and a hollow rubber Kong filled with peanut butter or cream cheese will occupy your dog for some time after you leave. Leave a radio or TV on and tuned to a talk show to provide him with entertainment.
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