Dogs are the world’s oldest domestic animals. Aside from keeping them as pets since 30,000 BC, man has been using them for several purposes like pest control, transportation, hunting, guiding and rescuing. But sometimes dogs need a man to rescue them too. Such is the case of this strange dog phenomenon that is happening in Scotland.
Over the years, a total of 600 dogs have mysteriously jumped over this 50-foot structure called ‘dog suicide bridge’ leaving 50 dead and no one can explain why. Even experts are baffled as to why dogs jump over this bridge for no apparent reason.
Some people say that it is due to over-excitement and curiosity. Others claim that there are ghosts haunting the vicinity located near a Gothic castle known as Overtoun House.
Local residents of West Dunbartonshire even say that the ghost might be ‘The White Lady of Overtoun’, a spirit who is allegedly being seen in the castle for more than 100 years.
Her spirit is what allegedly causes these animals to plunge to their death.
Residents claim that the ghost was photographed in the century-old castle near the haunted bridge.
Due to these incidents, a sign has been posted near the bridge to warn dog owners.
One of the victims of this dog suicide bridge is Cassie, a springer spaniel. Her dog owner Alice Trevorrow and her son Thomas were walking with Cassie when all of a sudden the 3-year-old dog jumped over. Luckily, Cassie survived the drop.
According to Alice, “We had just got out the car and Cassie immediately made her way to the bridge… she turned her head, looked up and did this massive leap.I will never forget the awful whine she made as she leaped.My son looked down and all he could see was a dot. She managed to get herself up and met my son, collapsing when she saw him. How she survived that, I’ll never know.”
Happily reunited after the fall, Alice and Cassie are lucky to have avoided such tragedy.
Cassie was fortunate to have survived, sadly other dogs did not make it. Ben, a collie, passed away after jumping over a parapet on the bridge. The owner Donna Cooper was caught unaware. “His paw was broken, his jaw was broken and his back was broken and badly twisted”, she said. The dog was taken to the vet after the incident but they sadly decided to put him down.
According to Jackie Baillie, the area’s MSP: “I have heard many heartbreaking stories about dog owners who have lost their pets due to this unexplained phenomenon.”
Apparently, this haunted bridge has caused harm to humans as well.
Mr. Paul Owens, a teacher of Religion and Philosophy said:”I was standing there two years ago when I felt a firm, hard prod that felt like a finger.Something or someone was trying to push me over the bridge too, just like the dogs.”
Another victim was a baby boy who fell to his death after his father Kevin Moy threw him over and attempted to commit suicide on the same spot in 1994.
A scientific theory has been made stating that the cause of this phenomenon is the strong scent of minks below the bridge. The scent is so powerful that it attracts dogs, especially those with long snouts.
Animal expert Dr. David Sands, in an investigation for Animal Planet, gave another interesting explanation: “Just me as a person, all of your sense are on fire, you can sense and smell the waterfall. I can smell the undergrowth and I can see the Gothic part of the bridge.I’ve looked at pictures but coming to the place for the first time, it has a kind of strange feeling.It’s perfectly natural for people to want to look down and I’m wondering if it’s the same for dogs.I think it’s highly likely at all of the cases that it was curiosity that killed the dog.”
Here’s the scientific theory why dogs commit suicide at the Overtoun bridge.
One can only wonder when and how this phenomenon will end. Scientists, local politicians, animal behaviorists and dog owners must work together to avoid this massive and senseless tragedy.
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” – Karen Davison