Just Checking In To Say “Hi!” (Artwork by Rémi Jouandet [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons)
Early into our vacation, like a day or so, something really
Note: I’m going to respect my folks’ privacy and only tell the minimum of specific names and such.
While my dad was watching TV and his dog, Boomer (name has been changed for privacy), was lying on the floor by his side, I was in the kitchen, doing something that most probably involved food, when I heard a bark—then my dad calling me over.
When I get into the living room, my dad tells me that Boomer was just lying quietly on the floor, when he all of a sudden went upright…and stared at this painting that was on the living-room wall. Barked at it. When I came in, Boomer was no-kidding-up-on-the-couch with his forepaws, back straight as an arrow, nose angled directly into the painting. He was very agitated, did those doggy “whiny sounds,” and may have again barked. But, both my dad and I looked to each other (definitely amused…highly curious)…and to Boomer…and the painting.
What the hell?
Preserving the privacy of this artwork, all I’m going to say is that in the painting (that had been up on the wall for a while, maybe towards a year?), two dogs are depicted: Boomer, and another, Rin Tin (again, not its real name).
Rin Tin is deceased.
Boomer remained agitated and brought his nose right up to the painting, less than an inch away from it, again, his whole body straight as an arrow. I put one hand to the painting’s frame, while holding the other nearby Boomer’s face, in case he decided to lunge and/or bite at the frame or painting. Dad and I are chuckling and wondering what the heck was going on, when Boomer did the weirdest thing:
He stuck his nose directly to the depiction of Rin Tin, sniffed it for a second or two…then abruptly departed.
That was it.
He jumped off of the couch and came to us as if nothing had happened.
Dad and I are laughing and looking to ourselves, totally baffled (well, truth be told, I had an idea). For the rest of our near week and a half there, Boomer never paid anymore attention to Rin Tin’s painted image.
Okay, you know I’m about to get kinda weird, here, but here’s what I believe happened:
Rin Tin was my folks’ previous dog and had to be put to sleep (turns out we were there, visiting, my wife and I, and one of my brothers, Chris). I love animals, and am particularly fond of dogs. I miss Rin Tin, and the day we arrived on the current vacation two weeks ago, I was actually wondering if Rin Tin might make, well, an appearance, now that I was here. Rin Tin’s cremains are in an “urn” my dad made (which was what I’d seen that first day and got me to thinking about all this), and I made a point to go to it a couple times while there, and “reach out” to Rin Tin. After all, I reasoned, I had a really cool experience with my last dog, Mac, and wondered if I would have a similar experience with Rin Tin.
I really believe that Rin Tin had reached out to us to let us know she was there…and was just saying “Hi.” I had lots of fun with her. I just have a way with dogs…and dogs generally like (okay, love) me. And I couldn’t be there when she was actually put down. I feel this was her way of saying “hello” one more time to dad and me…meeting the “new fur”…letting us know that she’s still “around.” The only ones in the area were my dad, Boomer, and me.
That painting had been up on the wall for a long time, and Boomer had never reacted to it at all. What the heck else could it have been? What the heck could have possibly caused a dog to behave that way? He went right to Rin Tin’s image, not his own.
I was right there, with Boomer, at the painting when it happened, saw exactly where Boomer’s nose went—it was directly and unhesitatingly to Rin Tin’s image, not concerned with his own image at all. I’ve seen dogs bark at the TV, but never a static image like that, especially when the image had been around in the dog’s presence for a while, with no prior reaction to it.
It truly ranks as one of the weirdest things I’ve ever witnessed!