The Dog That Followed Me Home

A dog followed my neighbor and me home from school when I was in sixth grade. We walked to and from school together, and I remember this dog just suddenly showing up. We figured it came from someone’s yard and just decided to follow us that morning. It was friendly enough, so we let it go. When we got out of school, the dog was waiting for us. It sat there in the front of the school building, staring at the doors, waiting for us to get out so it could walk us home.

It had matted gray fur, no collar, and blue eyes. I remember looking at the dog’s eyes and thinking how odd it seemed that a dog had blue eyes – surely it happened and I remembered my grandmother’s dog having a single blue eye after it got old and started to go blind, but this seemed different. These eyes were almost like a Navy blue and when the dog looked at you, it almost felt like it was looking through you.

This went on for about a week before my friend decided to ask his mom if he could just keep the dog. It would hang out around our neighborhood when we were home, sit across the street when we played in the yard, and followed us every morning to and from school.

His mom made us post FOUND DOG posters around the neighborhood, but let us give him table scraps after dinner, and said that if nobody claimed the dog in a week, he could stay at my friend’s house.

A second week passed, and nobody answered our posters. My neighbor’s mom was a little dissatisfied with this because I think her logic behind us putting up posters was that such a well-trained dog surely had owners looking for it – but a deal’s a deal, and my friend got to keep the dog.

We set it up a bed in the corner of his bedroom and bought it a metal food and water dish with our lawn-mowing money.
The next morning, I went to pick my friend up for school. He was usually the one to pick me up, as I was seldom ready before he was, but it happened occasionally.

I remember knocking on the door and hearing the hollow sound of my fist against the wood and waiting to hear the movement on the other side, but I was met with nothing but silence.

I knocked again, louder this time, but again nobody answered.

Finally, I opened the door.

I announced myself loudly and again nothing replied except the deafening silence inside the bowels of the house.

I remember feeling the hair on the back of my neck stand on end as I took a step forward and put my backpack down next to the door.  

I went up the stairs and into the kitchen, were I thought surely I’d find my friend’s mother, but the room was empty.

The kitchen table was still covered in dinner dished from the night before. Half-eaten slabs of meatloaf sat cold on plates as if everyone in the family suddenly forgot about dinner and didn’t even bother to clean it up.

I went down the stairs to where my friend’s room was. The door was ajar and I noticed a strange smell which grew stronger as I approached.

I pushed the door open, not sure what to expect, and recoiled as I saw what lie behind the door.

I ran out of the house, forgetting my backpack, and called my mother. We called the police and they came quickly with their sirens and lights and a team entered the house. Five minutes later, they left and knocked on my door.

My mother answered it with me next to her, and the police officer asked me if I was sure of what I saw. I told him I was.

He asked me to tell him again.

I told him I opened the bedroom door and saw the remains of the dog that had been following us around. The fur was matted and bloody and I could smell the sour blood, but what scared me most wasn’t that. What really bothered me and made me run home screaming and crying was the fact that the dog’s stomach was void of any vital organs whatsoever and the skin looked like it had been peeled back – like something had crawled OUT of the dog.

The police officer told me they went into the house and found nothing out of place. No leftover dinner, no dog, nothing. He asked me and my mother to keep an eye out for my neighbors, then pulled my mother aside. I’m sure he told her something about me having an over-active imagination and the severity of fraudulent 9-1-1 calls.

I never saw my neighbors again, and a couple years later, the house went back up for sale, having been repossessed by the bank due to missed payments. I never spoke to anyone about that dog again and honestly, I was really beginning to think I’d imagined the whole thing and that perhaps my neighbor’s dad had fled with the family to Mexico for tax evasion or whatever. I lived the next decade of my life working to believe that what I’d seen in my friend’s basement wasn’t real.

I only write this now, admitting my childhood trauma to the world, because this afternoon my daughter came home from school and told me about this dog with the “prettiest blue eyes” who had been following her and her friend around for the past few days.

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