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The Porcelain Dogs

The Porcelain Dogs

porcelain dogs

By Liz Reed

A son’s mom recently passed away, leaving a major, sad hole in the family. His father could not care for himself, so his son and his sisters made the decision to put him in memory care as they prepared to clean out their house. All of the “kids” and their families took what they wanted from their parents’ possessions, but it seemed nobody wanted one item: a set of vintage porcelain dogs. 

The son explained that while he had no idea how long the dogs had been in the family, by tradition they were always passed down to the youngest daughter. His great aunt had them, but having no daughter or granddaughter, she passed them on near the end of her life to her youngest niece, his mother. They should have gone to the younger of his sisters or her daughter to maintain the old tradition, but both refused. The dogs are eyeless, a little cracked and faded, and, frankly, a little creepy but the son’s wife convinced him to set them aside for them to have. 

The couple lovingly and jokingly referred to them as “the devil dogs” due to their creepy appearances. They’ve sat for so long in his parents’ china cabinet that his wife couldn’t bear to see them thrown out or given away. They had only recently put them on display in their home when some strange occurrences started happening.

When they unpacked the dogs, they still looked creepy, not having any eyes, but their familiar shapes were comforting, and they felt that his mother would be pleased that her dogs were still with family. Shortly after they placed them in their china cabinet, they began to notice odd phenomena around their apartment.

At first, they began experiencing electrical problems. Lights would flicker, they regularly lost Wi-Fi access at certain times (always the same time) of the day, and, in one single day, they had to replace three lightbulbs in their kitchen practically all at once: refrigerator, stove hood, and one bulb in the overhead fixture. They just blew off these anomalies as “rough luck” and never gave them a second thought.

Next, they noticed cold spots in various places in their apartment and one closet in their bedroom, located along the south wall, seemed to be the coldest of all. Granted, they do keep their bedroom ceiling fan running all the time, but it seemed odd that this closet would be so cold when they usually keep the door shut. Again, they thought it remarkable but easily put it out of our minds.

One morning, they heard a knock on the front door but, when they opened it, there was no one there, no packages or notes left or anything like that. Plus, they didn’t hear any evidence of anyone walking around or going up or down the stairs as they usually can. After a half an hour or so, they again heard knocking and, again, nobody was there. This occurred off and on that day.

On another morning, his wife was putting away dishes in the cabinet and she happened to glance at the dogs. She noticed one of the dogs had a bit of red down its front. Both dogs have red-painted mouths, but this was unusual, and she didn’t know where it came from. It looked as though red paint had been dripped on it. As she stared at the dog, she smelled a disgusting odor for the briefest moment.  She looked around, and when she looked back at the dog, the odor was gone and the red disappeared.

 They began to experience sleeping issues. They use a white-noise Kindle app that helps them sleep and since they displayed the dogs, they would hear whispering but could never fully hear any words.  One night, the wife was awakened by someone lightly pulling her hair. That same night, she felt something brush her forehead and stroke her hair when she was facing away from the fan current.  Sometimes, in the middle of the night, they would smell strong cigarette or cheap cigar smoke as if it were blown in their faces. Another time, they smelled something like rotting food in an oil fryer as if the fryer were right next to their faces. At times, they would smell a strong, almost sickly sweet smell of flowers. The wife felt a sense of deep sadness whenever she experienced that particular odor, for some reason, but all of these odors were enough to wake her up and make her gag.

She did smell an odor during this time that was a little more pleasant; it reminded her of her late father who used to smoke a pipe when she was young. He enjoyed very fragrant, fancy tobacco and she felt a sense of warmth in that moment. At the same time, she was beginning to question her sanity because her husband didn’t always experience the same things.

Their cats began behaving oddly. They would (and still do on occasion) wake them up at all hours of the night, nudging and meowing at them. They usually curl up with them to sleep and rarely disturb them. One night, they were jolted awake by one of the cats growling and hissing. She had been sleeping by the wife’s knees but they found her standing on the end of the bed with her fur on end, swollen tail, arched back, and her ears laid back. She was looking towards the upper part of the bedroom door frame. The husband reached out to calm her, but she snapped and swiped at him. Their other cat had been on the floor but, in the dark, they were able to see her in the same position, looking towards the door. She was growling and hissing as well and also making “sing-song” yowls as if to warn whoever was there (nobody was there) that she was about to strike. All of a sudden, both cats bolted from the room. The husband jumped out of bed and followed them. He found them pacing by the bolted and chained front door, still growling a little. When they noticed him, they demanded treats and came back to bed as though nothing had happened.

They were awakened the next night with an almost-faithful performance of the night before, except that this time, one cat was standing in the hallway outside the bedroom door, looking in. Her gaze was directed upwards as though looking at someone very tall. Both cats were making “sing-song” warning yowls this time. As they did the previous night, they suddenly raced to the living room where, this time, they were found pacing back and forth by the glass sliding door to the balcony. Again, they received treats, but they both chose to stay in the hallway outside their door as if on guard after that.

They still experience occasional oddities but nothing as frightening as the two nights with their cats.  Could the dogs be a gateway, perhaps meant for his mother to pass through to watch over them (and occasionally make her presence known with flickering lights, knocking, etc.), but also as a way for a threatening spirit to enter their home? What if they didn’t have their cats to protect them and chase away anyone who would do harm to them?

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