Duke, our Brittany Spaniel, was getting old, 17 years old, in fact. He was born on our property in 1988, when my parents raised Brittany Spaniels. He lived in our basement, and my brother took him outside for exercise daily. When Duke became unable to walk up and down the basement stairs, my brother carried him. My brother and I took turns feeding and watering him, and I fed him doggy treats. Duke barked when I started the washer and dryer. “I don’t like laundry either, boy,” I said. Although Duke had battled heart failure and kidney disease, our veterinarian had always been successful in treating him.
It was the summer of 2005, and my mother, brother, and I were discussing euthanizing Duke. Suddenly, Duke began to whimper. “He hears us,” said my mother. When we changed the topic of conversation, the whimpering stopped. Mother said, “I will not have Duke put to sleep. He wants to live.”
Shortly after that, my brother and sister-in-law went on vacation. We boarded Duke at the veterinarian’s office. Duke died. “His heart just gave out,” said the veterinarian. Almost immediately, my mother and I began to hear barking coming from the basement. It is not possible, I thought. Surely, the barking must be coming from outside. I went outside to check and found that it was quiet outside. The barking was coming from inside the house.
The barking continued for about two months. Mother and I both heard the barking. It occurred anytime of day or night. Sometimes the barking woke me from a sound sleep. I found the barking very eerie. Duke was a ghost.
One night, Duke was barking intensely. He seemed to be in pain or fighting with some unknown force. I realized I had to take action. I walked downstairs and pulled a doggy treat from the package. “Duke, do you want a doggy treat?” I asked. The barking turned happy. “Duke, you cannot have a doggy treat because you are dead.” The barking continued. “Duke, do you see the light?” I asked. “Move towards the light, Duke, and go to Heaven. My dad is there waiting for you.” The barking stopped. I said the Lord’s Prayer, and then felt a rush of wind pass by me and go out a window that was open just a crack. Duke must have gotten to where he needed to go, and Mother and I have never again heard the barking.