By Shambhavi Saxena:
Before we get down to answering the question at hand, allow me to first write this paean to the incredible abilities that our furry companions possess. Besides being absolute goofballs, warm pillows and persistent table-scrap connoisseurs, dogs’ sensory organs put ours to shame. Depending on the breed, a dog can have up to 300,000,000 scent glands, and have 60 times the odour analyzing capacity as us. Their sense of smell allows them to sniff out cancer in human patients, and many institutions actually employ medical detection dogs for diagnosis! That’s not all.
In low light, dogs’ vision is way better than ours, the result of their large pupils, larger number of retina rods and tapetum (the reflective thing in your dog’s eyes that ruins all your family photos). Their ear musculature is designed to pick up and channel sounds that are imperceptible to us. Additionally, dogs can tell sadness from other human emotions and respond proactively. They can also sense the frequencies produced by earthquakes and you’ll often see a pet dog wig out before a quake hits. With this amazing in-built sensory apparatus, the theory that dogs can see, or at the very least sense ghosts, spirit matter and other friendly or gruesome apparitions seems very likely.
Popular superstitions seem to believe that a very tangible link between dogs and the supernatural exist, like the one that says: “When a dog is staring intently, at nothing, for no apparent reason, look between the dog’s ears and you’ll see a ghost“, or the one suggesting “a home where a well cared for, happy greyhound lives will never be haunted by malicious spirits.”
In 2009, Peggy Schmidt published her book ‘Tails Of The Afterlife‘ which documented instances of pets continuing to interact with owners who had passed on. Popular website ‘True Ghost Tales‘ also offers up some accounts of dogs’ prescience of death and their subsequent behaviour following the death of a loved one. Now you can say what you want about these testimonies, but they’ve got to be coming from somewhere right? People have repeatedly reported ghost sightings – so much so that businesses have grown out of ghost spotting and ghostbusting – so is it really impossible to think Tiger, Snowy or Tommy are perceiving the departed?
All religions have their say about ghosts and what happens to people’s souls, but did you ever think good old Einstein’s law of the conservation of energy could be used to explain the existence of ghosts in our world? Think about it. Energy can never be freshly fabricated, nor can it be destroyed (since it only moves from one form to another). When we die, to use smash-hit anime Bleach’s terminology, our spirit energy, freed from its corporeal bounds, probably floats around until someone screams “ghost!” Though there is no conclusive evidence to show that this is indeed the scientific process of ghost-formation, the idea that human spirits or souls wander the earth after the body dies has captivated human imagination since the time we learned about the inevitability of death itself. That being said, the theory that dogs, who are basically all little snuffling Bill Murrays, can pick up on these wandering clouds of energy, sounds very extremely, like, almost totally plausible.