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Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 21

Posted on January 6, 2010

Have you read the previous parts of this story? Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 1

My family and I have often had present the human members of our family after they have passed and our animal companions have been no different.

Bandit was a cattle dog / corgi cross – tan with a black eye patch of fur across his face (hence the name Bandit) that my Dad bought when I was three. The only conscious memory I have of my Dad, is the back of his head as he drove the car home the day we bought Bandit.

Bandit was the only constant in my life until he died when I was 18 and in my last year of High School. In his day, not even 6′ wooden fences could stop him escaping with his strong cattle dog shoulders, he’d just jump and power climb the vertical wooden wall until one day an encounter with a bus during one of his escapades, broke his hip and his climbing days were over.

He bit the boy next door I didn’t like, as the boy would come over to play and be mean to me. (Bandit got big hugs and even some yucky lambs fry I sneaked to him from the dinner table as a “reward” for that effort!) Bandit even appeared to bark at our ghost once or twice. Bandit as an older dog had a rather distinctive hoarse bark in his latter years.

Bandit went off his food suddenly one afternoon in 1980 and I sat with him all afternoon watching the sun set at his kennel, recounting all our adventures. I knew instinctively and he popped his head on my lap and seemingly he knew too. He died quietly in his sleep that night.

Only a week later as my Mum and I stood in the kitchen, that distinctive hoarse bark wafted up from our long back yard. “You’d better go feed Bandit,” Mum said on automatic. I gave an instant teenage shrug and turned to the cupboard where the dog food was kept but at the same moment we snapped back to face each other, tears streaming down our faces. Bandit was dead we had to remind ourselves! That happened twice more to my mother and I before the distinctive hoarse bark seemed to fade away forever.

My mum bred Australian Silky Terriers for a few years in the 80′s and I had one called Chippy. Chippy stayed at home with Mum even after I married and moved away in 1986. Chippy had a distinctive black / tan coat a little darker than the other dogs. As I sat in the loungeroom with Mum one day during a visit when I was in the late 90′s, Chippy walked up the hallway quite briskly with a young dog’s gait and entered the kitchen out of sight. I even heard the distinctive clip of his long nails on the polished floorboards. Gone was the arthritic limp of an older dog – because Chippy had died about 2 years before. Mum didn’t hear or see a thing.

Living in a 70 year old house with my kids and two cats, Tigger and Rexie in 2004 – we were shocked when the elderly neighbor came over to say she thought Rexie was laying dead in the vacant block across the road. I walked outside and looked and I could see the smudge of ginger in the long grass and as ‘the mum’ I had to walk over and have a look. It was Rexie and she was indeed dead – not a mark on her. She looked asleep. I suspected she’d gone to chase butterflies and bugs in the vacant lot – it wasn’t a busy road, but it only took one car. With cats being so sensitive to impact, I’d say she mis-timed her bolt across the road – had been clipped by a car – made the long grass of the vacant lot and just lay down and quietly died of internal injuries.

Tigger sat behind the front fence watching me bundle her up and bring her home. Tigger was the sensible cat. He never left the yard and always seemed to watch on disapprovingly of her ‘across the road’ antics. He sniffed her and understood and slunk under the house where he quietly mourned for a few days.

We buried Rexie under a tree in the back yard, as it was the only home she had known. The kids and I would often talk to her if we were in the yard or when I was hanging out clothes, as she’d often pawed at the longer pieces of clothing dangling from the clothes line.

Our house had a cat flap on the back door. Not long after, Tigger emerged from his self imposed period of mourning and he started to present himself for dinner again. This particular evening I watched the bundle of ginger come in the cat flap and head towards where I stood in the kitchen. Both Tigger and Rexie had been ginger cats – Rexie being much smaller. Presuming it was Tigger I turned to comment on his return to form in eating again and there was no cat there. Thinking he had walked past me into the loungeroom, I noted no cat there either. I went to the back door and opened it and noted Tigger was still snoozing on the outdoor furniture!

The same effect of a small ginger cat coming in the cat flap around dinner time, would also happen to my son and daughter but I was just honest with them when they came to me about it. Rexie was still coming home.

Written by Jennifer Mills-Young, Copyright 2010

Have you read the previous parts of this story? Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 1 ~~ Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 20




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Tags: Animal ghosts, Australia, Cat Ghosts, Dog Ghosts, Jennifer Mills-Young, Sydney


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Comments

6 Responses to “Growing up Haunted in Sydney Part 21”
  1. trolldoll1681 says:

    oh geez, make me cry, would ya. i too have had deceased animals. cats and dogs come back to me for a brief visit. i wouldn’t trade the 3 cats and my dog for all the money in the world. they keep me sane when i need them most.

  2. Jennifer Mills - Young says:

    Tigger is with us here in Darwin and he is the most amazing sensitive animal!
    If anyone is sick or upset in the house – he goes straight to them and will sit with them until they are well or have cheered up.
    I also have a cat called Pussy ( we didn’t name her ) who was mistreated as a kitten by teenage boys and was ” saved ” – as a result she doesn’t like men much.
    At first she didnt like anyone and was a little agressive. ( she did think she had to fight for her life! )
    Watching her calm, get happy and relax and enjoy life has been a pleasure.
    She still doesn’t like men much but she now trusts me implicitly and when I go to bed at night – walks up my body and sleeps on my chest!
    Given at one stage she didn’t like people much – this is a huge show of trust!
    She can still lapse into ‘ survival mode ‘ sometimes – but she did go through an awful lot as a kitten!

  3. trolldoll1681 says:

    our girls, sunshine and squirt, also walk up our bodies onto our chests. i guess it’s their way of saying i own you. sunny is donnie’s girl and squirt is mine. a story about squirt is when i moved away and bought my own house, squirt had been missing for 8 months. donnie’s house was on the south side of town and mine the north. i found her about two blocks from my house. i called her by name and she looked at me!! i then took her home and she’s been with us again since!! cats are pretty amazing aren’t they!!

  4. Christina says:

    That was a sweet ‘haunting’ thank you for sharing. Pets can be very special and so loving and loyal. Hmmm, makes ya wonder why people can’t! ;0)

  5. DarStarr says:

    I agree with Trolldoll!! THANKS FOR THE TEARS! LOL
    What a lovely story. It is so heartbreaking to lose an animal, and I am so glad to see you guys love them as much as I do. I have a greyhound that is in the throws of kidney failure and each day scares me that is will be her last. She is the gentlest soul I have ever encountered and it breaks my heart to know that she doesn’t have long. She still eats and has good days and bad, but I know I will have to say goodbye soon. She is my baby and I would be thrilled to have her “come back” to me.

  6. Rylee says:

    I’m very sorry for all your losses.
    My Rabbit, rat and two parakeets died, and I keep finding the undercoat of the main flgith feathers (the down) laying around..Even after it’s been 2 years now.

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