Once upon a time there was the world's most perfect dog. She was intelligent, loyal, playful, sweet, sensitive and loving. She was the best dog I've ever known.
Princess was a mutt and a stray. She just wandered into our yard, lives, and hearts one sunny day and with the shake of a paw and a gleam in those big, expressive brown eyes, she made herself at home and became a member of my family for the rest of her life.
My heart broke the day I packed up my things to move away from home for the last time. I missed my dog horribly. My heart broke again when, several years into my happy marriage, my mother called to chat one day. She broke the news that my Princess was gone. Her health had failed to the point where my parents made the decision to put her to sleep. I cried bitter, angry tears. My mother should have told me ahead of time. I would have driven the 5.5 hours home to be with my puppy in her final moments.
Time passed and I got over most of my hurt and anger.
One weekend, while home for a visit, my parents went out to run some errands and I was left alone in the house for a while. I decided to sit in the family room by the fireplace and read a book.
I was enjoying the quiet and the warmth of the fire. I felt a familiar nudge at my knee and then the pressure of something laying on top of my foot. I smiled and murmured, "Hi Princess...come for a snuggle?" She would always poke you in the knee with her nose and then lay her head on your foot until you would bend down to scratch her ears and pet her. It took a couple minutes for the realization to hit me. How could that be Princess? She was long gone!
My heart skipped a beat and I looked down at my feet. At that moment, I saw what could only be described as a vaguely dog shaped shadow moving away from me. I held my breath while the shadow seemed to pause and look over its shoulder at me and then moved again before fading from view.
I was frozen. I wasn't exactly afraid. It was Princess! I have no doubt of that. The moment I felt that reassuring pressure on my foot, I was filled with a sense of peace and contentment.
I've never really spent much time in self-analysis over what my beliefs are with regards to ghosts. But after that weekend, I no longer had any doubts that sometimes...something is left behind that lingers beyond death.
I didn't say anything to my parents when they got home. I didn't want them to think I was nuts!
Some time later, my mother and I were once again chatting on the phone and we happened to be talking about a TV program that had a supernatural theme. I asked my Mom if she had ever experienced anything...odd...in her house. Without hesitation, she said, "Oh, just Princess. I see her or feel her here sometimes. Do you think I'm crazy?"
Well, yes I do, actually. But not because you've seen a ghost or two, Mom. But that is another story.
This story is the absolute truth, I swear it.
Happy Halloween, everyone. May all your hauntings be as friendly, safe and warm as mine was.