When my husband and I were first married, we had an English springer spaniel named Tiffany. In October of 1992, when Tiffany turned thirteen, she was diagnosed with tumors of the sinus cavity. Her last months of life were agony for me, and towards the end I knew it was time to let her go. It was a cold, raw afternoon on December 6, when we took Tiffany to the vet’s office. For the next couple of months, I mourned Tiffany, wondering if I had done the right thing.
In February 1993, Charlie and Erin left to go to New York to the Westminster dog show. After they left, I called my mother and mentioned that this was the first time in ten years that I had been left alone without Tiffany to protect me. At that moment I heard the sound of a dog running up the basement stairs. I told my mom that one of the dogs must have gotten out of the kennel room downstairs, and I would call her back. I opened the door to the basement and went downstairs. All the dogs were in their runs, and nothing was out of place. Later that night, I heard the click, click, click of toenails on the hardwood stairs which lead to the upstairs bedrooms. I jumped out of bed and called out Tiffany’s name, but there was only the sound of silence. This happened a number of times, and even my friend Cathy who often house sat for me heard the sound of a dog climbing the stairs.
A few weeks later, Erin was coming up from the kennel room, and as she reached the top of the stairs, she asked me if we were keeping Cathy’s springer, Jordan. I told her no and asked why. She told me that she had seen a liver and white dog sitting in the crate that had belonged to Tiffany. However, when she went back downstairs and looked again, the dog was gone.
On another occasion, Erin decided to sleep downstairs on the living room sofa with the new 10-week-old puppy that we had just gotten. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, I heard the puppy yelping in terror! I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs. The puppy was trembling and I asked Erin what had happened. She groggily replied that it must have been the black dog that had frightened him. I asked her to explain, and she said when she heard the puppy scream, she opened her eyes and thought she saw the dark, shadowy figure of a dog looming over him. This was exactly what Tiffany used to do to show her dominance to any new dogs we brought into the house! After calming Erin, I went back to bed. About ten minutes later, every dog in the kennel room began this eerie moaning and howling that lasted for about five minutes.
As time went by, I began to realize that I had done the right thing to put Tiffany down so she would not suffer. One warm summer day, about two years after her death, I went to the backyard where Tiffany was buried. Leaning on the rail, I told her how much I had loved her, and how I missed her. I also told her that I was at peace now with her death, and that I did not want her to stay around here because of me. After that day, there were no more footsteps or sightings of Tiffany. Since I had finally found peace, she could rest in peace too.