January 31, 2007
The Spirit DogcatcherRate this encounter: Elaine, Southwest side of Chicago, Illinois, November 2003
I had recently graduated from college and was still living with my parents at this time. I had a job that required that I work late hours, so I would take my dog, Sheamus (a black lab mix) out for walks when I got home. The neighborhood they live in is very safe and I was never afraid to take the dog out alone at night.
My parents live right next to a set of train tracks and a large cemetery, but as children, my brother and sisters along with our neighbors would sled and play in the cemetery, so I was never frightened to go in there. I just thought it was a peaceful place to be.
On one particular night (it was about 2 a.m.) in late November, it was a very cold and brightly moonlit night. I was taking Sheamus for a walk and had just gotten to the street that I usually walked down (which is right next to the train tracks and cemetery), and somehow I lost grip of his leash. Sheamus always thinks it's funny to be chased, it's like a game for him to run away, so that's just what he did! I was chasing him and he kept running for about a half hour, and I was very frustrated, cold, and tired and was nearly crying at this point because I was afraid I would never catch him. Eventually, he crossed the railroad tracks and ran into the cemetery (through a hole in the fence that has been there ever since I can remember). Although I am not afraid of the cemetery, this frustrated me even further because it meant he could run around freely in the huge cemetery and then I didn't know if I would ever be able to catch him.
At this point, I was crying and calling for him, and I ducked through the hole in the fence, and went into the cemetery. I was walking around calling for my dog but I couldn't see him anywhere. I was getting really worried because I couldn't find him and I was sure he had run to the other side of the cemetery. I was still crying and calling his name.
Suddenly, I could hear him whimpering close by in the hedge near the fence. I was so relieved to have found him and I ran over to where he was. He was sitting there shaking and whimpering a little bit, and his leash was tangled up on a high branch. I was bewildered by this and at the same time that I went to untangle his leash, I began to smell a very strong sent of man's cologne. It was very very distinct, and smelled good. I looked around to see if there was a cologne bottle or something that would cause this smell, but there was nothing, and it was all around me.
I never felt scared, I felt calm and it suddenly occurred to me that a spirit had helped me to catch my dog. I remember instantly thinking that it was probably an old black gentleman (I don't know why I thought that but I did). There is no way that the leash could have flown up into the high branches that it was tangled in, unless someone put it there. I felt calm and stopped crying, I said thank you several times out loud, and took his leash and went home.