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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Did you ever notice how dogs seem to be able to see things people can't? It is very disconcerting to me when Jackie stares off into a corner of the room, growling very low and deep in her throat while I don't see one thing. I have been told that dogs can hear sounds not audible to the human ear, though for the life of me I do not know how anyone can determine that. Do you suppose they can see things not visible to the human eye?

One of my friends who lives in a very old house, a lovely place she has restored to its original state, has a unique story to tell. On almost all dark and stormy nights (it goes without saying it has to be a dark and stormy night) she can count on being awakened by the click, click, clicking of tiny toenails on the highly polished floors in one particular upstairs bedroom. Did I mention she does not have a dog? Never has had a do. She is a cat person. Perhaps the doggie ghost does not approve of the restoration efforts nor of the abundance of feline companion animals now found in the home.

My sister spent the night with her daughter's family in an old house in Fort Smith, Ark., several years ago, and in the night she woke up to the sensation of a cat walking on the foot of her bed. No mistaking it, she said, it was a cat walking on the foot of her bed. Next morning she asked when they got a cat and Robin replied, "We don't have a cat. You must have felt the little ghost walking on your bed. That happens a lot, especially when we have company. We just say, 'Get away from here, Spook,' and she leaves. We named her Spook for obvious reasons. She may not bother you tonight."

She didn't because my sister packed up and left before dark, and I don't blame her one bit.

Though vowing never to do it, I have become a gutless lowlife and now sleep with my dog. I use the feeble excuse that in order to conserve gas I turned the heat down at bedtime and I fear Jackie will get cold, which is true, but I must confess that it was her little moaning entreaties that got me.

The other night in the middle of a wild thunder storm she woke me with a low rumbling deep in her throat similar to the protective growl she employs when guarding a bone from the neighborhood dog. The dark ridge of hair down her back appeared to be standing up about three inches. Hunkered down on her hunches at the foot of the bed, that narrow little nose was pointed straight at the closet door, and she looked like she might spring into action at any moment.

Well, the situation has to be checked out, I thought. We had been taught as children that one must confront one's fears, and I must confess I was a bit fearful of what appeared to be lurking in my closet. I am a gutless lowlife in some areas, but I am not a coward. Besides, I remembered the story of a little "Greyfriars Bobby," the Sky terrier who long ago became famous when for 14 years he refused to stray far from his master's grave. They even erected a statute of him.

As I got out of bed I thought, "If whatever is hiding in the closet attacks, Jackie will in all probability try his best to protect me and we will both become famous. I'll be dead, without doubt, but Jackie can lie on my grave like little Bobby did, and perhaps someone will put a statue of her in the cemetery with a plaque describing her loyalty."

No way. My faithful companion dived under the covers and stayed there.