Sunday, December 13, 2009

Socks And The Ghost

I'm experimenting with various looks for my blog. I'll try out different backgrounds and colours to see which I prefer and finally settle on some combination. Until then who knows what it will look like when you come back next time!

To give you something to read while I experiment, here is a story about a gorgeous Kelpie I used to own. His name was Socks. I got him as a fully trained working dog who needed a new farm to work. The problem was he was trained to obey whistle commands and I can't whistle. It took us a while to work out our language problems before he became the best working dog I've ever owned. Sadly he would only work for me, which caused Graeme a lot of frustrating hours trying to get Socks to bring the goats in (we owned Angora goats back then) from our very steep, hilly property (we lived on top of a mountain at the time). Socks would just look at Graeme when issued with a command, turn his head sideways as if to say, "Who? Me?" and trot off in the general direction of the goats while making no promise to bring them in. Once out there he'd fain deafness and just wander around the goats, passing the time of day with them and generally ignoring an increasingly irate Graeme. In the interest of Graeme's sanity and Socks' reputation as an outstanding Kelpie, I'd eventually convince Graeme to let me tell Socks what to do, but Graeme always had to try first.

After a few years of living on the mountain I entered university as a mature age student. I was away from home for most of the day most days of the week. The pets all adjusted and found things to amuse themselves while I was gone. When I came home one day I found Socks throwing himself at the glass door, hackles raised and a low threatening growl rumbling away deep in his chest. I pulled him away from the door, but he returned as soon as I let go. Starting to feel a bit scared, I tried the door. It was locked. I moved around to the back door, checking the windows as I went. They were all locked too. This was in the days before mobile phones and I had no near neighbours so the only thing to do was what every stupid heroine in a horror movie does. I opened the door and took a few trepid steps into the house. I nearly fainted when I was almost knocked over from behind.

Socks wasn't allowed inside and had never tried to flout the rule before. He was always content to sit on the veranda and smile at us through the glass door. Today rules were thrown to the wind as Socks almost bowled me over in his effort got get inside and get at whatever it was that had tripped his doggy radar. I took a few calming breaths and tried to follow Socks as best I could. He tore into the lounge room with all the hackles raised on his back growling very low. I was just about ready to make a run for it at this stage, but now that I had access to a phone I held tightly to Socks' collar (he was eager to get to the end of the house for some reason) and phoned my unimaginative husband to tell him all bout Socks and his vendetta against an unseen threat. Graeme's take on this eerie happening? He thought Socks was just being"silly". My description of Sock's killer attitude and raised hackles failed to impress him so I realised defending the house against intruders or ghosts was up to Socks and me.

Very slowly, and I must admit, very reluctantly I gave Socks his head and followed him on his inspection of every room, armed only with my university books in my backpack. Socks stalked past all the doors in the hall, giving a perfunctory sniff just inside each room until he came to our bedroom at the end of the hall. If it was possible for him to raise his hackles higher he did, he stalked into the room and headed for our dressing area where our full length cupboards faced each other. He then threw himself at my mirrored cupboard doors and growled and barked a challenge to whoever or whatever was in there to come out and fight like a dog! I thought he might have been lunging at the dog in the mirror so I opened the side at which he was lunging so the dog disappeared. Socks ignored the closed mirrored part of the cupboard (and the dogs in Graeme's mirrored cupboards opposite mine and dived into the open part of my cupboard. There he proceeded to threaten my clothes and shoes. I could hear him inspecting everything thoroughly, sniffing here and snuffling there, but even after he'd had time to thoroughly go over all my belongings he wouldn't come out of the cupboard. I wrestled him out only to find that he sat down and refused to leave the house voluntarily. Needless to say I was more than happy for him to stay as long as he wanted. By this stage I was a nervous wreck and would gladly have made Socks a bed inside my cupboard if that meant he'd stop spooking me with every growl and suspicious look.

We never did find out what it was about. Socks eventually calmed down enough to be persuaded to leave the house and after a few hours seemed to forget all about whatever it was that had started the whole drama. It took me a bit longer to stop jumping at small noises and seeing things in dark corners. All the windows and doors were locked just the way I had left them and nothing was disturbed anywhere (apart from me!). As for my four cats - they had rushed out of the house the minute Socks rushed in, so they weren't around to tell me their side of the story either.

So I believe one of two things happened. 1. We had a ghost visit who'd said something insulting to Socks as he/she passed through the locked door, or 2. We had a burglar who managed to get by Socks in the first place, came into the house, didn't steal anything and locked up after wards. Maybe he just tried on my clothes before he left - that would explain Socks focusing on my cupboard.