My dog Scooby walked into the bathroom while I was in the shower one morning about three weeks ago. Rosemary mint conditioner on my hair and patchouli soap lathered on my skin. Did I hear another set of footprints?
“Well, hello, Jill”
I heard a voice I wasn’t sure I recognized . I peeked my head outside the shower curtain. No one was there. Scooby looked at me with ears perked, eyes bright. I didn’t see anyone else.
“Hello?” I asked and my voice echoed across the tiles, glass window and mirrors on the wall. No answer. No sound at all. Scooby just looked at me waiting for a reply.
There was no one in the house and no reason to be scared despite being in the shower and hearing a human voice. Except it wasn’t human. It was Scooby vocalizing his intentional good morning greeting.
He’s not the first dog I’ve had speak to me in plain human English. I had a dog Bob who spoke to me during the last few years of his life. Deedee talked out loud, too. She was a German Shepherd whose owner had been abusive and she came to us, Sam and I, as a rescue dog from the Triple D Ranch in Odessa; a roadhouse. Geesh, I’ve never known such a grateful and obedient dog.
One March morning she stood up and shook herself fully awake and then nudged my foot hanging off the bed. I felt it, but didn’t stir. Not yet.
“You gotta get up, Jill,” Deedee said. I heard it plain as day. So did Sam. His right arm flung off the blankets. He turned his head on the pillow and looked at me with smiling eyes.
“You gotta get up, Jill, you heard her.”
My feet hit the floor. Bare skin on hardwood. Warm and smooth. I grabbed the teapot and filled it quickly under the tap with water and set it on the stove while I put on some clothes, socks, and found some shoes. Then Deedee and the other dogs were out the door to face the onset of another day on the farm.
We never talked about the incident again. Sam spoke many animal languages and I spoke only mine. When we transcended those translation problems it didn’t spook me. Instead I learned from him to open my heart more than my ears.
What I heard from Scooby while in the shower the other day was a good sign. At least he’s talking to me. And I can hear it.
He doesn’t mention the nail clipping, or the extra long walk through the forest, or the fresh beef bones, either. And Lucy, our other darling Dalmatian, speaks only in the the nose rubbing category for demonstration of affection. Lots of it.
I mistook Scoob’s dog talk for ghost talk. I’ve been getting plenty of that as the March winds blow. Here in the woods the trees enunciate all the lamentations of my world. The moans, and cries, whimpers of limbs, whispers of wishes, the ghosts of all that walk my way seem captured in the soundscape of life in the pines.
Howling, wailing, exhaling, wheezing, breathing,
This afternoon the winds picked up and rain came from the south. The basement walk-out door blew open, sending dry oak and maple leaves across the cement floor. I sensed Sam coming in from the storm and searched the laundry room and guest bedroom and bath thinking his ghost might be right around the corner. Nothing. Silence and darkness. Outside the winds still moan through the spruce, elm and pines down the trail. I shut the door and close it tight.