Gina Rodin saw her first ghost dog when she was walking home from a bar in Brooklyn late one night.
The cocker spaniel followed her down the street and as she tried to pet his head her hand went right through him. She wondered how drunk she was.
Tell me about your first ghost dog experience.
So there was this lady who lived in my building named Gloria and she died. She was this lovely woman, and she was the matriarch of the place. About three weeks after she died her dog was also hit by a car and died. Her son had taken the dog to Long Island but he was always escaping and trying to make his way back to Brooklyn and that's how he got killed.
The whole things was so sad. Everyone in the building knew Gloria whether they wanted to or not. She'd leave her door open to hear what was going on, to watch over people. Her son was the super for a long time.
After Gloria died people's apartment doors kept being left open. They swung open for no reason, sometimes even when they were supposed to be locked. No one was breaking in, nothing was stolen. Everyone was confused about what was happening. Then I realized, it was Gloria's ghost, she wanted to know what was going on, she wanted to hear everything, to know that everyone was safe.
Then when I was walking home and I saw Baby Darling, that was her cocker spaniel, and it all made sense. They were looking for each other, as ghosts. They needed each other.
What did you do?
I went out at night whenever I could. I had to find Baby Darling. I looked many nights for him. One night, I found him. I helped Baby Darling come into the apartment building so he could be close to Gloria's ghost. I set up a little space for him in the supplies closet, which is where Gloria would sometimes hang out.
Did that work?
The other tenants in the building weren't too happy with it. People are complaining about the ghost dog barking at night. But it's working overall. I think they're happy together. I see Gloria and Baby Darling walking down the hallways together. Not as many doors are opening now. Just the one to Gloria's apartment.
The ghost dogs come out after midnight?
Yes, usually. The ideal time for a ghost dog is between midnight and five am. That's their prime activity time.
You know a lot about ghost dogs now?
I know more than I did. I spend a lot of time helping out with ghost dogs, trying to reunite ghost dogs with their owners. Even ghost dogs need some love and support.
Does ghost dogs eat?
No, they don't eat, but they still like the smell of food and they like to play.
How many ghost dogs are there in the city?
We usually get a few sightings a night.
What do you do?
We have to find out about who owned them, since that will help with reuniting them with their owner. It's a really great feeling when you do that.
What do you say to people who say this is all nonsense?
I mean, someday you'll see a ghost dog and you'll believe. I didn't believe before I saw one. Or who knows, maybe one day you'll die and when that happens wouldn't you like to be reunited with your animal?
What are you working on now?
There's this German Shepherd named Mitzie and we're trying to find the owner. She's super sweet and she always goes for a walk with her leash in her mouth in Prospect Park around midnight. We're trying to find out who owned her. We're putting up signs. We'll find them.