A dog in a ghost costume for Halloween.

Ghost Pets: True Tails of Pets Helping and Haunting their Humans

We wish our pets could stay with us forever, but what if some do?

Much like their human counterparts, canine spirits often stick around to watch over their old haunts! From ghost pets to hellhounds, spectral sightings are documented around the globe.

America’s Most Famous Ghost Pets

Here are some spooky places in the United States that are haunted by furry phantoms.

Morris the Cat – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Cats are popular at hotels across the country, likely due to their ability to keep pesky rodents at bay. Sometimes, these cats keep doing their job even after they’ve clocked out (forever). One of the most famous ghost cats is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. About 50 years ago, honorary guest-greeter Morris (an orange tabby) lived in the hotel lobby of The Crescent Hotel. After Morris had passed, the staff buried him in the hotel’s rose garden. However, guests still report seeing Morris greet guests from his favorite chair or strolling through the rose garden.

Leona the Rat Terrier – Holly, Michigan

It seems that not all dogs go to heaven. Meet Leona, the resident spirit of the Holly Hotel in Holly Michigan. Back in 1989, world-famous parapsychologist Norman Gauthier visited the notoriously haunted hotel and declared the spot “loaded with spirits.” But he wasn’t the only one. The hotel has become a must-visit for many independent ghost-busting groups. Between smelling cigar smoke and floral perfume, seeing ghost girls with meat cleavers (uh, what?), and hearing disembodied voices late at night in the halls, the Holly Hotel has lived up to its reputation as a haunted hotspot.

One of the most notorious, ahem, long-term residents happens to be Leona, a ghostly Rat Terrier. Guests report hearing Leona run down the halls or feeling her brush up against their legs, and even the hotel’s morning chefs report hearing Leona bark for her breakfast. Never expect a terrier to give up, even in the afterlife! Leona is believed to be the spirit of the real-life Leona, pet of the hotel’s former owner.

The Demon Dog of Valle Crucis – Valle Crucis, North Carolina

If you’re going to be haunted by a ghost, it might as well be a dog, right? Eek, maybe not! It looks like ghost dogs aren’t all man’s deceased best friends. Meet the demon ghost dog of Valle Crucis, North Carolina! Rumor has it that this demon dog appears late at night to trespassers who overstay their welcome in the local cemetery, chasing them out and even racing after their cars!

The Black Dog – Hanging Hills, Connecticut

Here’s another potentially sinister spirit. If you find yourself hanging around in Hanging Hills, Connecticut, you might want to avoid any strange black dogs. Legend has it that you only want to meet their renowned ghost, the Black Dog, once. Local legend says that if you keep running into the fabled Black Dog, it’s a death omen! Often seen as a small spaniel, the Black Dog may not sound too scary. Actually, it may not make noise at all. Locals say that even when it looks like the legendary dog is howling, it doesn’t make a sound. Looking to avoid this furry foe? Skip Castle Craig, where the Black Dog frightens oblivious travelers.

Even creepier, since the 1800s, locals blame the pooch’s presence for the demise of those who’ve met the dog three times. If you find yourself face-to-face with the Black Dog, just remember: “If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die.” Spooky!

The Blue Ghost Dog – Port Tobacco, Maryland

One of the oldest ghost pet legends is that of the blue ghost dog of Port Tobacco.

Sometime in the 1700s, a man named Charles Thomas Sims walked into a bar and made three mistakes:

  1. He brought in a ton of gold
  2. He talked too much when he drank
  3. And he talked too much about the aforementioned gold

Any guesses what happened next? Charles found himself in a fight for his life as he was quickly attacked by bandits. Sims’ dog, a loyal Bluetick Coonhound, is said to have battled at his side, protecting his owner until their last breaths.

Although they fought hard, it wasn’t enough. Sims and his dog fell on a rock along the road and perished together. Although the robbers won their gold, they didn’t enjoy it for long. It’s said that after the bandits returned for their buried treasure, a large Bluetick Coonhound ran them off. They all eventually fell ill and perished. To this day, locals report that the faithful hound is still protecting his master’s gold.

Preston the Boxer – Nashville, Tennessee

Have you ever heard of Preston the friendly ghost (dog)? Considered one of our most famous ghost pets, this celebrity pup is said to haunt Nashville’s Belmont Hillsboro neighborhood. This good-hearted Boxer appears every year around Halloween, protecting the young trick-‘r-treaters.

If you stop in the middle of the street, an invisible dog nose may nudge you along so you don’t get hit by a car. Others say that Preston can be heard keeping the peace by barking throughout the night. Some locals pay tribute to Preston every Halloween by leaving out a dog biscuit to thank him for his service protecting the town.

Ask Before You Pet

If you’re hoping to encounter a ghost pet this Halloween season, just remember this: Don’t try to pet the ghosts of animals you don’t know — or at least ask their ghost humans for permission first!