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The Haunted Clinic

When I was seventeen, I decided to get a job at the veterinarian’s office that was next door to my house. I figured it was a good way to earn some extra money, though it was a rather stressful job at times. It was the perfect location, because all I had to do was walk down the street and I was at work. I had no idea that the place was haunted, or supposedly haunted, anyway.

An adult version of the type of puppy I saw in the vet's office that night.
Black Dog

The first few weeks on the job were fairly normal. I cleaned the boarding kennel every morning, assisted vets in the exam rooms, and saw a few surgeries. Mostly I was mopping floors and scrubbing blood off the walls (whenever a dog came in with a cut ear they inevitably shook their heads and it got everywhere). During the day it was rather busy.

Things changed when I was given the evening shift. Unless there was an emergency, it was a lot quieter. There were a few last minute appointments, but it was mostly cleaning up and getting the overnighters ready for bed. That’s when I noticed things weren’t quite what I thought they were during the day.

It all started one spring evening when I was cleaning out the boarding kennels. I had locked the dogs in their rooms for the night and was scrubbing down the main runs, a routine I did every night. Tonight, however, strange things occurred.

I’d just completed run number two and was working on number three when suddenly the light at the end of the corridor went out. It was followed by the second light, and the third, and then the fourth. Suddenly the heater shut down, leaving me in both darkness and utter silence.

I wondered if we were having some sort of power failure. However, when I looked, I saw that the lights were still on in the rest of the vet’s office. Whatever was going on was isolated to the kennel. I would’ve thought someone was playing a prank on me, except that the light switches were in my sight the whole time and they were all on. That was the weird part, the switches being on.

A creepy feeling came over me as the silence and darkness continued. Then suddenly the lights came back on, one by one, and the heater kicked back on. It was as if nothing strange ever happened in the first place. Shrugging, I finished my mop up routine.

I asked one of the vets if they’d ever seen anything like that happen in the dog run. He told me that sometimes when they ran the x-ray machine, the power in the old building did strange things. However, when I asked him if anyone had run the machine in the last hour, he told me no one had done an x-ray since that afternoon. It certainly wasn’t the cause of the strange blackout.

Later that evening, I moved on to cleaning the grooming area. As I was humming to myself and mopping the floor, my attention was drawn to the open doorway that led into the main exam area. A little black Labrador puppy darted past the door and trotted into the hall. Assuming one of the patients got loose, I ran into the hall to catch the dog, but I found the area deserted.

I went to get my boss to inform her that we had a loose patient. She didn’t seem particularly concerned, telling me that all the patients in her ward were accounted for. I described the puppy I’d seen running in the hall and her puzzled reaction morphed into one of understanding.

“A black puppy?” she asked, with a knowing expression. “Don’t worry about it.”

I decided it was best not to ask her anything else, so I went back to work. However, it has always driven me nuts as to the reason for her reaction. Was this a common phenomenon in the evenings at the vet’s office? It seemed like it was.

A month later, I quit my job and didn’t hear anything further about the mysterious black puppy or the power failures in the kennel area. I can only dismiss the latter as the result of an old electrical system in an aging building doing eccentric things.

The black puppy, on the other hand, remains a mystery. Had other people at the vet’s office seen it? Was it an optical illusion, such as a shadow with a logical cause? Or was it the echo of a patient from the past? Perhaps a long lost puppy who never went home?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions. A few years later, I moved away, and many years after that the building was torn down and replaced, erasing all evidence of whatever was going on. I often wonder if a black Labrador puppy wanders the new building or if it disappeared with the old one. Whatever was going on, I can only file this under the long list of strange and unexplained experiences in my life.

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