Stories of dogs that know when their owners are coming home, and other animals with uncanny abilities, are quite common. Here we feature a selection of stories from Rupert Sheldrake's database: names have been changed to ensure privacy.
I am a stay home parent, and my wife and children leave for work/school in the morning. The animals go about their business until everyone arrives, even if they arrive on different times each day. They run to the window in anticipation. This is absolutely mind blowing! Some will say they have adapted to the time of day – hence they are aware when they come home. Then how does one explain when the kids come home late?...or my wife is stuck in traffic and they only approach the large sliding glass door window when the “sense” they are close? I know you have seen this in other studies on your own, but my dogs and cats are very in tune to my family and I can only re-enforce what you already know. Nice to know someone out there is finally trying to make people realize that life is bigger than we tend to believe.
I had three girls and my son Robert. He spent most of his time with Pip, a golden Labrador crossed with a red setter, a beautiful gentle animal. They went everywhere together, so much so when the school took the cross-country picture of the team Pip was on the front.
Rob did lots of things after school so on different days he came in at several different times BUT Pip was always sitting on the wall outside the front of the house waiting for him - from about 15 minutes before he arrived - which was the time he would be leaving school with the intention of coming home.
Rob ran cross country for the school and Pip 'trained' with them. They had a circuit round the nearby wood. Pip went right round when he was young, when he got older he cut up through the wood, and waited at the top for them to catch up.
The younger girls came in at earlier times, and he would often sit on the wall at the times they were due, but not regularly.
One Christmas my daughter left the window open behind the curtain in the dining room and a burglar got in. Pip was in the kitchen and tried hard to get at him through the hatchway. I called to him to shut up barking, thinking he could see a cat through the glass kitchen door. But he knew who the burglar was, and the following day we were out for a walk, and a group of teenagers were sitting at the side of the road, and Pip went and stood in front of one of them, looking at me - the boy was petrified. He said "My God, the dog." His footwear was trainers of the size of the footprint on the cushions on the settee in the dining room under the window where the burglar had climbed in. The dog was pointing him out to me and looking as if to say, this is the one.
He lived with us for 16 years and I know he could read our thoughts. He sat with the girls in the bedroom when they were unhappy - sat quietly beside me when I was unwell with the pregnancies.
I assume my dog Cocoa knows when we are coming home but I don't know for sure since no one is in the house with her. I absolutely know, however, that she can detect my daughter's imminent departure from any building. I often take our dog along to pick up my daughter from her activities, and it never fails, a couple of minutes before my daughter emerges from her school building or wherever she is, Cocoa will become so excited that she can't sit or stand still and she whines. Once Cocoa sees my daughter she'll stop whining but the tail waging is incessant.
I had a pet dog called Susie - she was a mutt, a mix of breeds. My uncle found her on the street and took her in, then she went to another family member, before being landed with our family.
She would stay in the back yard all the time, except when it was time for my sister and me to go to school she would be on the front porch. And when we came home from school she would be there waiting for us. She knew to go round to the front at the right times. And it paid off, because we were always happy to see her and gave her plenty of pats.
When our girls were approximately 9 and 11 years old, they arrived home from school one day with a stray dog that they said followed them home from school - but later they admitted that they carried him home. Happy, as the dog was named, was black and white, mixed breed. Orders at first were that Happy was to be an outdoor dog, but that didn’t take long to change.
We have a little back hall on our house, and when it would be about time for the girls to be dismissed from school, Happy would go to the back door, shake his head which would cause his collar to rattle and I would know that Happy wanted out to go to school and meet the girls. Later when they rode a school bus to high school he adjusted his schedule and met the school bus.
When the girls went to school in St. Louis and they were only home on Friday evenings and then when the girls were about 5 miles from home and he would lie in the garage and wait for them to come home.
My wife and I recently heard your interview on WHYY's "Radio Times". We had previously noted that our 2-year-old Blue Point Siamese cat, TC, always becomes excited about 20 minutes before our 9-year-old son Zac arrives home from school. We just assumed that it was the same time every day, so TC was just used to the routine. (TC also always greets us when we come in from being out shopping or such, but that, we assumed, was due to the noise we made upon entering our home.) Since hearing your interview on the radio, we decided to take a little more notice. Recently Zac had a half-day at school, and, right on schedule, TC became excited about 20 to 30 minutes before he arrived home. We have noticed, though, that when Zac is out with either my wife or me, TC doesn't show the same excitement upon his return. It's only when he's out alone that this behavior surfaces.