My dog, Polly, is standing in the middle of the den, barking. On and on. At nothing. A couple of months ago, she started barking in various spots in the house. Up until this time, she wasn’t much of a barker, so this struck me as rather odd. It has gotten to the point where she does this little routine every day…several times every day. Sometimes it’s in the living room, sometimes the den, sometimes the dining room, and sometimes the kitchen. It only happens downstairs…once she goes up to bed at night, no more barking.
At first, I thought she had to go outside, so when she started barking, I’d let her out. But I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. She would start barking just a few minutes after coming back inside from a romp in the back yard. Then I thought she was hearing something in the basement, because sometimes she would bark looking down at one of the floor vents. But not long ago, we went into the basement, and there was nothing amiss down there…no monsters, no mice, no homeless person taking up residence…all was quiet down there. Then I thought it might have something to do with something outside the house. Perhaps a cat or dog was out there. But, no, that wasn’t it either.
I’ve tried talking to her about this. I’ve asked her what’s wrong, and asked her to show me. Nothing. She has assured me that Timmy is not in the well, but she won’t say what’s up. I’ve barked back at her. Doesn’t work. I’ve yelled, I’ve pleaded, I’ve almost cried. I’ve tried to get a toy to distract her. Nothing will stop her. It usually lasts 5 minutes or so, and then she gives up. She’s also started laying on the floor once in a while, right after these barking jags, which she’s never done before. She’s a couch and bed dog…no hard, cold floors for her. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the barking, though. And sometimes she’ll come up on the couch and lay down after a barking jag, but keep her eyes open for a while and look around, like she’s looking for something to show up. Then she’ll finally drift off into nap number nine for the day.
So, I did what all good parents do…I Googled dogs barking for no apparent reason to see if I could diagnose her problem. The overwhelming results were dogs seeing ghosts. Now, I’ll admit, I’m totally open to the idea of ghosts, spirits, etc., visiting us here on Earth. And I know animals are in tune with things we humans don’t notice. But I have to wonder, how did these people sharing stories about their spirit-seeing dogs know that their dogs were seeing spirits? Did they see them, too? Did the dogs tell them what they were seeing? Most of these people were absolutely certain that’s what was happening for their pooches. How could they be so sure?
If my Polly is seeing ghosts, I want to know who it is. Is it our Golden Retriever, Jack, that left us a little over a year ago? Is it one of the cats that has gone on to the great litter box in the sky? Or is it some human spirit that I don’t even know about? Or some past resident pet from a previous family? And what is the ghost doing to cause Polly to bark for so long? And what is the key to her stopping after 5 minutes? And do these ghosts not come upstairs? This is one of those times I really wish dogs could talk.