Stay…Good Dog: Ghostly Pets and Other Animals

by Tony Harrington

A group of us were sitting around one day talking about ghosts and about seeing family members after they have passed on. The usual stories of grandparents, brothers, sister, and parents paying a final visit or continuing to stick around after they have passed away were shared and the general consensus seemed to be that most people feel the presence of a deceased loved one from time to time.  Some went as far as to say their loved ones remain in the house where they lived, refusing to let go for one reason or another.

One of the gentlemen involved in the conversation announced casually that his dog haunts his house. This drew some chuckles from the group but he insisted that his beloved pet continued its routines after it had passed away. It began the day after the family had lost their beloved pet and as the man and his wife sat on the sofa that evening they heard the familiar sound of the dog waiting at the door leading to the backyard. The man’s wife looked up and saw her deceased pet staring in through the glass as though it had just finished using the bathroom and wanted to be let back inside.

She pointed to the door and the man glanced casually over as the image of his best friend vanished from view.

Other familiar sensations of the dogs presence manifested: from the sound of it pacing the floor and walking in circles before laying down to occasionally the sound of it sniffing the air could be heard.

Most of the people involved in the discussion simply nodded and quickly changed the topic back to human hauntings but the idea that pets and other animals involved in hauntings stuck with me though and I was curious if other people had experienced ghostly animal phenomena. I took to the internet and posted the subject on a forum asking people if they had encountered hauntings that seemed to involve a pet or another deceased animal.  The topic went untouched for weeks and was eventually closed by the moderator as a “dead thread”.

It was literally months later when I received an email from someone who claimed they had seen my original post and didn’t respond on the board simply because she would have thought people would make fun of her. Here is here story, with her name removed per her request:

“I moved into a house in a New Jersey suburb about two years ago. Shortly after moving in I would hear what sounded like a dog whimpering or crying on the back patio. I never made a big deal about the patio because it overlooked a small backyard that was overgrown and in need of much TLC that I simply didn’t have time to give. The patio was covered with rust colored stains and it wasn’t much of a patio anyway, approximately a ten foot by ten foot block of concrete. I should mention that the backyard gave me the serious creeps but the price was right for a full-time college student who worked part-time as a dental assistant.

I was watching a horror movie one night while curled up on the couch and eating a pint of ice cream (don’t judge me please). In hindsight I suppose this was the beginning of the strangeness that I would begin to encounter on a regular basis.  It was during this horror movie that I got a serious chill like a cold wind had passed right through me.  It was winter and the mid-Atlantic windchill in Jersey was brutal. The house, being old, was not the best insulated home in the state and I thought that perhaps the seal on the back door was letting in cold air that would ultimately cause my heating bill to go through the roof.

I got up from the couch and wrapped my blanket around me to keep the chill away and crossed the small room to the creepy glass door that looked out over the even more creepy backyard. I dropped to my knees and ran my hand along the bottom of the door and up the sides feeling for cold air.  I looked ahead through the door and was face-to-face with a what looked like hyena. It barked at me and as I screamed and scampered away on my hands and knees the dog vanished. I was later told the dog I saw was something called a Blue Heeler. Upon learning the name I searched Google images and can say with certainty that this was the breed that I saw on my porch.

Each day from that first encounter I would hear whimpers, crying, scratching all coming from the back door.  I even got brave enough to open the door and investigate my rust-stained porch but whatever I was hearing was either in my head or coming from next door or nearby. Convinced this was the case I met my neighbor coming home from work one day and introduced myself. She was just getting back from the grocery store and was carrying a bag of kibble from the back of her soccer-mom van.  I pointed to the dog food and implied that her dog must have been on my porch last night and she replied and indicated that she meant no offense, but that she nor anyone in the neighborhood would let their pet on my patio after what the previous owner did to his dog.

Against my better judgment I inquired just what she meant and she filled me in. Apparently the previous owner/renter of the house had a dog that he neglected. The dog had been chained to the patio out back where it only had enough lead to make it to the grass to do its business. The dog was not fed or given water for a week at a time, it howled and barked and cried all night. The only time the man paid attention to the dog was to beat it. The poor dog ended up dying after a few months of neglect and torture. The man left the dog’s body tied to the porch for days. It began to disintegrate and the smell alerted the neighbors of the dead animal. They couldn’t see because of the overgrowth of trees and plants, but they knew from the silence that something had become of the once noisy dog.

It turns out that the crying and whimpering and the scratching at my door came from a ghost dog. And those rust colored stains on the patio was liquefied dog. So that is my story, it’s not pretty, it’s not eloquent, but it is true.”

So there is one story, a first-hand account of a haunting by the ghost of an animal. Her story made me think of all the stories I have heard and read where people are attacked/scratched by an unseen force where there is growling associated with the attack. We chalk it up as demonic or some other angry spirit like an entity or poltergeist/elemental but what if these types of attacks are actually committed by the ghosts of animals.

Whether it is the whimpering or scampering footsteps of a dog or the gentle mew and purr of a cat or perhaps the squeak of a hamster exercise wheel long since dismantled, our pets may never truly leave us and continue to give us signs that they are still here and that they still love us and think of us as often as we think of them.

Conversely, there is a darker side to animal hauntings. Whereas family pets are devoted and loving, there are those pets and wild animals that are not and in death they can be just as aggressive as they where when they roamed the earth.

Johnny Parker, one of The SPIRIT Seekers own investigators had a strange encounter on an investigation once. He was standing in a room with another investigator listening quietly trying to focus on the environment when he felt something cold brush against his legs. He described it as the sensation of a cat walking around his legs, brushing its body against him.

“It felt exactly like that, you know, when a cat rubs against you. Except this was very cold, but it felt exactly like a cat.”

Have you had any experiences with the ghost of a deceased pet or perhaps with the ghost of an unfriendly animal that has long since left this earth? Share your ideas and stories with us by commenting on this article.

28 thoughts on “Stay…Good Dog: Ghostly Pets and Other Animals

  1. My twin sister called me one day after scratching on her back door would not stop and of course nothing was out there. She knew that I was a member of Spirit Seekers and did not know what to do. She knew that it must have been her daughter’s dog Duke. He had recently passed away and was buried in the back yard. Duke was raised up with a poodle, Maggie. Maggie had been seen on very occasions scratching the dirt around Duke’s grave or just laying beside it. My niece Valerie (Duke’s human mom) experienced the water bowl being lapped like a dog would do and of course no animal was around. I believe that animals can visit us just as human’s do. My own personal experience with what “could have been” an animal was when I saw a black shadow close to the ground as if a cat or dog were running by. I have seen this several times in my boyfriends house. To his knowledge no animal had died in the house…

  2. Hey Karla:

    Thanks for stopping by and responding.

    I am fascinated by stories like yours as it lends some credence to the reports of animal hauntings. It would be easy to dismiss such stories as nonsense but pets who love us unconditionally may find it as difficult to say goodbye to us as it is for us to say goodbye to them.

    Thanks for sharing, I hope more people read this and share their stories and experiences.

  3. I have had several encounters with ghostly animals. My blue Healer “Fred” died of old age at the home I live at now. He was an outside dog and loved his freedom to roam. Every so often he would come in to the house to visit but he would never stay long. He was happy to see everyone but acted nervous to be in the house. One day soon after his death Angie and I heard a scratching at the back door. It was very similar to the one Fred would do when he wanted to be close. We both looked up and saw Fred starting in the door. We actually went to open it but he had vanished before we could let him in. I believe he was just saying good bye.
    I have two more short stories to share. Another one is about three goats. They were pets. Of course they had been purchased to help clear the back 5 acres and were doing a very good job. They all had names but I cannot remember any of them. One of the goats was very special. When it came feeding time they all came running. Sure I got the goats to eat the underbrush but they were treated to a blend of corn and oats. They loved this treat and looked forward to it every day. Anyway, they came running to get their treat. One of them always reared up on me and ate out of my hands. Then it would drop to the ground and sing to me. The song was the bleat of a happy goat but very soft and seemed to be a wild tune to it. She was happy and wanted me to know it. One cold rainy fall day the neighbor’s dog jumped the fence and murdered all of my goats. He ripped their throats out just because he loved the taste of blood. It was a red chow and had my other two dogs scared. I found them hiding so I knew something was wrong. I found my goats and the chow; he was killing the last one as I ran at him. Anyway, after I buried the three goats I was walking back up the hill to the house. I was covered in mud, I was wet, I was cold and a bit depressed. I stood on the hill and looked back to the grave one last time and heard the sound of feet shuffling in the wet leaves and then the sound of the little goat singing to me. It was her happy song.
    Last and definitely not least is the short story of Dusky. Dusky was a 4 pound pom with a 3 pound heart. She loved everybody. Dusky was born with a bad heart and we were told not to get too attached because she would not live for long. She had a squeaky bark and scared herself the first time she barked. She lived about seven years and died of heart failure. We still see her around the house but mostly we hear her. I have a recording of her barking not long after her death.
    There are others but I have told enough stories. We have the ghost of an animal in the house now. I have seen it several times but cannot identify it. I hope it is not one of those mean ones that Tony mentioned could be around. Now, let’s hear your stories.

  4. Are you still looking for stories?

    We had a cat for many years, but when our German Shepherd/wolf came to our house, the cat decided (on its own) to move in with a neighbor down the street. We felt bad about that, and even worse when the neighbors dropped it off on our porch several months later with a note saying they couldn’t take care of it. It had been neglected and the vet could not help it, and we had to let him go. To this day I ask that cat for forgiveness. Anyway, a few weeks after it passed, we looked out the window and saw the cat in our front yard just staring at us. (It really did look a little mad.) It was a white Persian, and there are no white Persians anywhere near here. I actually have a picture of it, and the photo looks as though the cat were in a cloud. Pretty amazing. I am almost embarrassed to tell you its name was “Elvis.”

    Tomorrow we have to say goodbye to our beloved wolfdog, Winston. He can no longer walk and is in so much pain. When he finally goes to sleep tomorrow at the vets, I will tell him it’s time to go home to our house now. Of course, now he will be able to answer that ‘call of the wild’ whenever he wants to, vacation with us, and never be sad or hurt again. Maybe he’ll finally make friends with Elvis.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your pet. I recently lost my adopted Greyhound, he dropped dead unexpectedly of a heart defect. He was approximately 12 years old which is the typical lifespan of the breed, but to go so suddenly and without warning was a heartbreaking thing to endure. Here one minute, gone the next.

      But, there is comfort in knowing that the love your pet has for you goes on and you will continue to feel that love emanating from a place of peace and for all eternity. I still, to this day, feel my black Labrador Retriever “Ebony” around me, and she died in 1993. I have since moved to a different state and I feel her presence around me no matter where I am, watching over me and guarding me. She was the sweetest and most gentle dog in life and wherever she is now I still feel that energy.

      Just know that Winston will be with you for all time and though his absence will leave a void in your home and heart, he will continue to love you from beyond, in that land where animals go to await the day when we will once again be joined. I am not sure what it is or where that place is, but I am a firm believer that such sentient beings must have a soul, that humans are not the only ones.

      As for Elvis, we here at The Spirit Seekers have had many encounters with ghost cats. It seems they stick around a lot more than dogs, perhaps due to sheer stubborn behavior or the fact that they love us more than they can convey in the natural world and choose to stay behind long after they have shuffled off their mortal coil. Or, maybe it is simply because that have a lot more things left on this plane to tear up. Who knows, but we believe you when you say that Elvis has not left the building.

  5. When I was around 12 our family dog of 11 years died. The day it died its breaths were real raspy sounding.

    We buried the dog the next day. Me, my mom, and my sister were sitting in the family room feeling depressed and I could hear the sound of the dog breathing for a couple minutes and then nothing. Wierd thing is my mom couldn’t hear it.

    It was freaky.

  6. I have only recently become interested the paranormal and wonder if my pets that are buried in our yard (there’s quite a few of them – two guinea pigs, a rabbit, a duckling, and a few goldfish and even some pet minnows) have moved on or remained in the house as spirits.
    Is there anyway I can tell?

      1. Maura,

        Thank you for taking the time to read our article and respond.

        It is always difficult to tell what may be hanging around in your house, but if you have had pets that were a big part of your life and they are buried on your property, it is not uncommon to have visits from them. Although, I am not sure minnows and goldfish would stick around or how you would even know.

        The idea that animals can visit us in a ghostly form would depend on whether or not you believe animals have souls. If they do and they are around, their presence would be identified by actions (Sounds, scents, sensations) by which you could identify them when they were alive.

        So if you had a dog who would pace at all hours of the night and you heard the clacking of their nails on the floor then perhaps you would experience such a thing in their absence as a way of them letting you know they are still there.

        Hope that helps answer your question.

        The Spirit Seekers

  7. My cat just passed a couple days ago, and at times it seems she may still be here with us. My dog looks at places she used to sit like he can see her, and my husband and I have both heard meowing. We’ve been looking at moving for quite some time, but even though I’m absolutely fed up with the place we’re at I don’t want to if it means leaving her behind. If her spirit is still here, would she move with us?

  8. I live in a house with my family and 8 dogs and earlier today I was sitting in the living room and heard a dog pacing around outside the door, I just thought that my brothers dog had figured out how to open his bedroom door, so I walked out expecting to get jumped all over by a crazy Collie puppy, but there was nothing there, I just thought that maybe he was scratching against the door as he might have needed out and went back into my living room, but then I heard it again, a small dogs footsteps, then the collie pup started scratching against the door and I could clearly tell it was something different, walked out again and nothing there again. I said to my mum and she said that she had heard the same thing, and that my auntie’s little 15 y/o Jack Russell had sadly been hit by a car and he had passed away a couple of days before, and we think that it is him walking around our house. I like the idea of him still being around but I may just be hearing something more explainable, but this may help someone figure it out if they are experiencing the same thing

    1. Sam,

      Thank you for sharing your story. We are sorry for the loss of your four legged family member.

      I am a firm believer that we all go on after we shed our mortal coil. And I refuse to believe that a creature who loves a human unconditionally and brings us so much joy, doesn’t have a soul.

      I am sure your dig is still with you, as faithful and loyal as he was in life.

      Thank you for your story and for stopping by.

  9. I was laying in bed one night and heard a dog barking. Steadily ruffff rufff ruffff same spacing apart about every 10 seconds rufff. It was a light bark almost sounding like it was coming from a neighbors house outside in the distance. I was trying to sleep and thought it was coming from outside so I got up and shut the window. I Layed bak down and realized I could still hear the dogs bark the same as when the window was open ruffff rufff ruffff. I then thought to myself am I crazy is this coming from inside my head am I imagining things. At that point I put the pillow over my head and it was the same rufff rufff rufff. I then covered my ears with my hands. I realized I couldn’t hear it when I covered my ears so it wasn’t me being crazy or in my head. It kept barking for about ten minutes same equal spacing between barks. I was starting to panic and felt confused all at the same time I thought I had gone nuts. I could not do anything to stop the barking and was getting fustrated. All of the sudden the barking got louder and louder I realized it was in the same room I was in. I pulled the covers over my head and was getting scared. Then it sounded like 1000 dogs were all around me barkin at the same time rufff rufff ruff rufff rufff like echos all around me. It lasted for only about five to ten seconds at that intense rate of barking and it was gone. I have always thought about that night and don’t know if it was a demon or my old dog from when I was young. It brings tears to my eyes even writing this it was definately the most scared I’ve ever been and I didn’t even see and ghost or anything just those echos of the dogs all around me.

    1. Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your story.

      While I have never encountered a devil dog personally, I know people who have. These so called hellhounds typically manifest in s visible form.

      If you were not harmed and no physical manifestation appeared, and you have ruled out you going mad, then it could very well be your dog reaching out to you.

      Was the bark a friendly typical dog bark or was there any snarling or other anger based sounds?

  10. In 2009, when I was 14 I found an abandoned puppy next to the road in Romania. I took it to our vacation home and looked after it the time we were there. But then I had to leave it behind, because I couldn’t take it with me. But a friend of mine who lived in Romania promised me to take care of Zorina. In the winter of 2010, Zorina was hit by a truck and died instantly. In 2011(I had no clue that she passed away) me and my brother kept looking for her. We called her name, and then suddenly we saw her running through the cornfield towards us, before she suddenly disappeared (Zorina used this exact route through the field in the summer of 2010 to reach our fence and crawl underneath it). So me and my brother waited for Zorina to arrive at the fence and then come to us. But no dog came. So I ran to the spot in the cornfield where we had seen Zorina. But there was no dog. Also no signs that a dog had run through it. I was totally confused. On my way back home I passed my friend’s house, so I thought that I could drop by and ask her how Zorina was doing. When she saw me, the first thing that she told me was that Zorina had been run over by a truck in the winter. When she said that, I was shocked. Then I felt the upcoming tears. But I managed it to hold them back because I didn’t want to cry in front of my friend…Sad, I went back home. But I couldn’t stop thinking about seeing that dog in the cornfield who looked exactly like Zorina. As far as I’m concerned there was no other dog at that time who resembled Zorina just a little bit. And I knew every single dog in that village since I wandered around a lot. I’m just wondering…was it Zorina saying goodbye? She looked pretty happy running through the field towards our house.

    Since then I found more abandoned dogs in Romania, to whom I always had a strong bond. There was especially one puppy, called Susi, and I was very attached to her. The day of my departure she got hit by a bus in front of my eyes. I never cried and yelled that much as then when I saw how she was tossed through the air and banged motionless on the ground. But then she turned her head towards me, as if she was saying: “Please don’t leave me here alone…” Because, honestly, first I was so afraid that she was dead that I just wanted to run away and leave her there on the road, to be run over again by a car…I was such a coward…
    But the hardest part for me was to leave her severely injured…I also got traumatized…took me a long time not to panic anymore when I saw cars driving towars people or animals…I was just 16…Well, about 2 weeks, I was already in Germany, I dreamed about Susi. She was vivid, happy and could walk again. She wasn’t injured at all and that left me wondering in the dream, because I knew in which state she had been when I “abandoned” her.
    This dream is as clear as the day I had it and I remember every detail. And after the death of two of my family members, of whom I had a clear dream too, in which they appeared in their best years, I realized that Susi was gone because the dream I had with her was in the same style like the dream of my relatives. I guess she came to say goodybe and tried telling me not to feel so guilty because I had to leave her in so bad conditions…that it hadn’t been my fault. But still, today, I feel very guilty that I couldn’t do more…I hate this feeling…

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Whenever we lose a loved one, be it a human or a pet, we always feel like we could have done more.

      I believe that these visitations are a way that those whom have gone before us can let us know that they are safe and happy and that they want you to release yourself from the guilt.

      I hope that you will be able to do that.

      Thank you again for sharing your experience with us here at The Spirit Seekers.

      1. I try but it’s hard. After I realised that “dead” people come into my dreams if they want to, I started believing in an afterlife. I read a lot about near death experiences, and they also described contacts with passed ones, who always were in their best years. I once saw a pic from a german soldier who had fallen in the world war II. No one knew the way he died. As I was staring on his picture, I wondered what his name was. A few days later, I still thought about that soldier, especially what his name was. I just wanted to know it, I don’t know why. So at one moment, I got very calm and tried to use my intuition. After a while I came to the conclusion that the soldiers name was “Karl”. So I took the opportunity and asked “Karls” grandnephew what the name of the soldier in the picture had been. “Karl” , he told me.
        This thing was so extraordinary, that I was just wondering if psychic mediums are doing spiritual communications by intuition too?

      2. I would say yes. I have a video of me doing a “psychic” reading and I describe it almost identical to how you did. It is almost like intuition, like you have these memories that don’t mean anything to you.

        To me, it is not like it is on TV or in the movies. I never see or audibly hear anything, unless it is in that weird stage between asleep and awake, sometimes I will hear things or have “dreams” of people and places, or animals, then…who I assume are people who have crossed over.

        But, for the most part, it is just a feeling. A Random name or trait pops into my head and I just blurt it out whether it means something to me or not.

        You very well may be psychic. There is another article on this blog somewhere, you can use the search feature at the top of the page to look for “psychic” and you read more about how it works with me and see if it is similar to your experiences.

        SpiritSeekers Blog Editor-In-Chief

  11. I work at a house that has individuals that for one reason or another cant do anything for themselves. When I started I worked purely nights. We had a dog that lived at the house as well and one night I was watching tv and the dog started growling and barking. She did this to me a few times. After one of my individuals passed the dog went to another home and since then there has been a presence that reminds me of a big dog. I have always lived with big dogs so it’s habit that if I feels it’s presence I try not to walk into the dog. One time I was in the recliner with my feet up and I thought to myself that i must not wake the dog laying under me it didn’t seem weird until I straddled the foot rest and started to walk around that I remembered that there were no dogs big or otherwise in the house. A couple of other times I would have very few lights on and I would feel and see a dark shadow of a dog so I would naturally skirt around the dog until again I realize there is no dog so I would turn on the lights and nothing is there. I have also had some of my staff say that they would hear a dog walking or barking around the house at night. I have also heard a dogs nails clipping on the hard wood floor at random times. Before I worked at this house I always believed in ghosts but only human. Now i think I have a friendly dog that just wants some company but doesn’t want to be seen. I don’t feel threatened by the dog just surprised when I realize that there’s nothing there. I do on the other hand feel very uncomfortable in the spare rooms of the house which was the last place my client was alive. She died on her way to the hospital and received CPR in that room by another staff. I have also had pretty scary dreams about checking on my one individual and there is something standing over her bed something not nice or comforting. This individual also will look past my shoulder at times and seems afraid or she starts laughing hysterically. Gives me the creeps. I hope that the dog presence that I feel and see is protecting my clients and my staff during the nights.

    1. Lori:

      Thank you for stopping by and for contributing your experiences to the collective here at Spirits Seekers.

      Humans are intricately attached to animals, especially dogs for some reason. It makes sense that should they stick around long after their passing that we would continue to feel their presence in a manner as if they were very much alive.

      If there is a spirit dog in your residence, it is my sincere hope that it is acting as a sentry, standing guard against anything else that could mean the residents harm.

  12. My dog Max (a black lab) passed away 7-11-16 at the age of 18. I have felt him laying against my legs at night. It feels like somethings lightly pushing down on the blanket and it’s cold in that area. I have also caught him barking on recorders . I also see him when I meditate. Max was a good dog and my best friend. I know he is with me until I see him again when I cross over.

    1. Hi Brady,

      Sorry to hear about max’s passing. Dogs truly are our best friends and it is almost cruel that their time on this earth is so sorry compared to our stay here.

      I am glad Max is letting you know he is still around, still with you, and still your best friend.

      Thank you for sharing with us.

      Tony Harrington
      Editor, Spirit Seekers Blog

  13. My dog died not too long ago and I was very depressed about it. A night after his death I heard his bark, at first I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me but it happened again. And I was very shocked about it I don’t know whether I should feel happy or scared about it. I Opened up to my mother about it and as it turns out I’m not the only one. You see our dog barks when someone was inside the restroom asking for water. While my mom was taking a bath she also hear our dog’s bark I’m sure that we cannot be wrong for he has a very distinct bark. And just a moment ago while I was taking a bath I heard him whimpering outside the door. I believe that even if he passed on his spirit is still with us.

    1. Aianna:

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. My black lab, Ebony, died in 1993 on my high school graduation day. For a long time after, I could still feel her all around. I could hear her pacing and I could feel her on my bed,

      It was comforting but also sad because I couldn’t see her. I kept wondering if she was upset that I wasn’t petting her or playing with her.

      I was lost without my girl, she was the sweetest and kindest creature I had ever known.

      Over time as I came to grips with her passing her presence diminished until eventually all I was left with was happy memories.

      Maybe our 4-legged companions stick around long enough to help us through our grief, and when they sense that we’re no longer in emotional pain, they take their leave.

      Isn’t it just like a dog to want their humans to be happy?

      I am sorry that your dog has left your physical side. I am sure that your furry companion is reaching out to help you move on.

      Thank you again for sharing your experience and for stopping by our site

      Kindest Regards,

      Tony Harrington
      Editor, The Spirit Seekers Blog

  14. I’m replying to the story that the lady wrote regards to the dog that was chained up not fed or given water and there was a lady next door that knew of this have these people had no heart or feeling why didn’t someone call to get the dog help why would you just owe ya there was a dog that was given no water or food for days at a time and then one day we didn’t hear it any longer where is this man at today that left the dog to die why was he not prosecuted I hope one day when he’s old he’s not given no food or water left to die just a thought.. I just lost my baby 15 years is not long enough shame on that soccer mom for not getting that dog help

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