Lassie was a beautiful Alsatian dog who lived with a family in a large and well kept apartment block. One day she sat outside the door of a neighbour’s apartment and started howling like a wolf. The neighbour, let’s call her Mary, came out and said: “What’s wrong Lassie, why are you howling?”. Lassie’s owner came out and took her in the flat. This went on for a couple of days or so. Lassie would sit outside the neighbour’s door and howl for no reason.

On the third or fourth day there was a fire in Mary's kitchen and she was badly, but not seriously, burnt. She was taken to hospital.

A few days later Lassie’s owner decided to go to the hospital with her friend to visit Mary. As the two women walked down the street they noticed that Lassie was following them. They stopped and told her to go back home. She stopped for a second or so then followed them again. The two women were in a hurry to catch the bus to the hospital and had no time to go back and lock Lassie in the flat. They ignored her and she followed them to the bus stop.

As soon as the bus arrived Lassie quickly jumped in and hid under a seat. The two women got on and tried to persuade her out of the bus. It was impossible. Lassie stubbornly hid under the seat and would not shift. The bus driver had to move on. The conductor insisted that the two women pay extra for the dog.

When the bus reached the hospital Lassie ran out like a shot and entered the hospital. The two women chased after her. They heard a commotion with nurses saying: “Whose dog is this? Dogs aren’t allowed in hospital”.

The two women arrived to find Lassie sprawled across a bed with Mary patting her on the head, pleased to see her. They got Lassie out of the hospital and she waited in the street whilst the two women spent a few minutes visiting Mary.   

When the visit was over Lassie returned with the two women back home on the bus.

This true story which happened some fifty years ago makes us ask a few questions:

Did Lassie sense that something bad was going to happen to Mary?

Is that why she howled outside her flat?

How did she know that her owner was going to visit Mary in hospital?

How did she know where to find Mary? Admittedly, it was not a big hospital like nowadays – but she found her all the same.

Do dogs sense when danger is about to happen?

Do they try to warn us but we don’t always understand them?


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