How my psychic dog proved mutts DO have a sixth sense…

18 Feb

I love both cats and dogs – with a marginal preference for moggies. And that’s because they have cleaner habits than poo-ches, whose noses should be avoided at all costs because you know exactly where they have been.

Anything clean and healthy is not to be sniffed at as far as Fido and his pals are concerned. Far better to savour the pungent pong of canine excreta at any opportunity and then lick the residue lovingly into their owner’s face.

Some dogs, however, are extra special. Like Carrie, who was my best friend for 15 years until I found her frozen body on the back doorstep of our home in Manchester one frosty winter morning. But more of that later.

Carrie was a small sandy mongrel with white markings – probably a whippet cross because she hared across the local park so rapidly that I swear she overtook herself half way across!

She was around two years old when we inherited her from our younger daughter’s best friend, who was moving abroad with her family. We already had a couple of cats and whilst initially Carrie and the moggies treated each other with caution, they quickly became great mates and indeed would often snuggle together in a basket at bedtime.

A few years earlier we had invested a large sum in a pedigree Irish setter puppy and inherited nothing but trouble and stress. Our attempts to house train the beautiful but highly-strung creature were a disaster to the point that visitors had difficulty working out which room was the toilet.

With the the red setter in grave danger of becoming a dead setter at the hands of her furious owners, something clearly had to give. And Beauty of Belhaven duly bounded off with her new owners six weeks later as the entire neighbourhood breathed a huge sigh of relief.

With Carrie it was entirely different. Calm and good natured, she was nothing like as excitable as Beauty. And she never had to ask to go out to do her business – she would squeeze her body though the cat-flap, albeit with some difficulty, and then squeeze back in when she had finished.

When we went out, we’d take her with us virtually everywhere and she adored sitting on the back seat looking out of the rear window. What she saw and how it affected her we had no idea – until one night when she demonstrated a sixth sense that was truly uncanny.

Perhaps once a fortnight my other half and I would have a meal at a casino three or four miles from home – and we’d occasionally take Carrie for the ride. We’d leave her in the car under the supervision of the car-park attendant while we dined and had a quick spin on the roulette table.

Carrie had been to the casino no more than three or four times – and always in the car, her eyes focused on the road behind as we headed towards our destination, and then home a couple of hours later.

One night, we went as a family to a restaurant for a meal, leaving the dog at home with the cats. When we got back, Carrie had disappeared but we weren’t overly concerned. Presumably she’d just gone out for a wee and a wander.

Then the phone rang. ‘‘Hello, this is the Salford Albion Casino,’’ said the voice on the other end.

‘‘Do you have a dog called Carrie?’’ Cue panic – and the thought that something dreadful had happened to the dog. ‘‘Yes, we do,’’ I replied nervously. ‘‘Well, she’s here wandering around. The parking attendant recognised her. We got her name and your number off her name tag.’’

I was flabbergasted. She had obviously gone looking for us, but how on earth had she got there? I mean the casino was several miles away, across at least a couple of main roads including the busy A56. And she could not possibly have followed a scent because she had only been there in the back of a car.

As we drove to the casino to collect Carrie, the only explanation we could come up with was that she had somehow remembered the route, even though she had never been there on foot and therefore could not have picked up a trail. Or could she? Who knows what goes on inside a dog’s brain – and how many extra senses they possess?

It’s 15 years or so since Carrie died that fateful December day. Fifteen years old and suffering from a heart complaint, I guess she had squeezed out through the cat flap during the night to do a wee, and suffered a fatal coronary attack as she tried to get back in.

She went to meet St Bernard at the Furry Gates still carrying the secret of her mysterious trek to the casino that remarkable night. Indeed, to this day I have no explanation how she found her way there.

Carrie gambled with her life during that bizarre trek to the casino on highly-dangerous roads that night. And with her courageous if unnecessary mission to find us, she won even more of our love. RIP, little one.

One Response to “How my psychic dog proved mutts DO have a sixth sense…”

  1. Steve February 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    We had a similar experiance a few years ago with our cocker spaniel. We were going on holiday and our friends had agreed to look after her for us. These friends lived across the other side of town approx 4 miles away, with the most direct route being main roads. On the day we were going we took her there in the car, she sat on the floor and didnt see where she was going and she had never been there before. We went away on holiday and on the day of our return my neighbour rang me to tell me the dog was sitting on the door step!! We rang our friends and they didnt even realise she was gone but after a look they found she has slipped the front gate, she was also seen by a friend walking down the path of a main road on her route home. We worked out that she had managed to get home within 30 minutes, amazing, she certainly had a sixth sense.

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