(Excerpt from Rowena Wentworth’s journal)
16 October 2023
I heard it again this morning. It was a bark, just a single bark, but it woke me up from a night’s sleep. I heard it a couple of days ago, too, when it woke me up from my afternoon nap.
It was just one bark, but it sounded like our Monty. He used to stand outside my closed bedroom door and bark when he thought I’d napped enough. Monty was a dog of settled habits. He knew 3 p.m. was time for his afternoon snack and he was determined to have it.
Monty died a year ago, and Jon has never quite got over it. Although Monty followed me around the kitchen three times a day, on the theory that wherever SHE was, food had a habit of falling onto the floor, it was Jon who was Monty’s champion.
Every morning Jon took Monty for a walk and would come back, exulting. “Monty is a rock star! Everyone knows him by name!”
We named Monty after my friend Wendy’s King Charles spaniel, Monty. She had two King Charles spaniels, actually, Monty and Rommy. We met them when we visited her in Dorset, years ago. Whereas Rommy was very shy, the English Monty, named after Field Marshal Montgomery, was as outgoing as our American Monty Beagle.
Jon, Monty, and I used to sit on the sofa after dinner, holding paws while we watched “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.” Sometimes I’d ask, “Who has long, soft, floppy ears? Why, it’s YOU!” Monty would then gaze at me soulfully and demand to have his belly rubbed.
It was when he went in for his yearly teeth cleaning that the worst happened. The vet administered either too much anesthetic, or the wrong sort of anesthetic. Monty did not come out of it well: he was neurologically impaired and soon went blind.
We had to put him to sleep. It was the only the second time I’ve ever seen Jon cry. A week later we took some of Monty’s ashes and scattered them in the woods behind our former house, where he used to romp and bark to his heart’s content. The rest of his ashes, still in their container, repose in our closet in a velvet bag.
23 October 2023
Again, I was awakened by a bark, just a single, deep-throated bark. It’s Monty, all right. Does his spirit hover still in the home where he spent half of his eleven (by human count) years? What does it mean? I’m going to look it up.
31 October 2023
Dreaming that you’ve heard a dog barking can mean a lot of things, apparently. This was just a single bark, though, not prolonged or angry barking. DreamGlossary, at www.dreamglossary.com, says, “When you hear a dog barking in your dream, that is a warning of an upcoming unpleasant surprise.”
I heard the bark again this morning. Is Monty coming for Jon—or for me?
1 November 2023
He came for Jon.
Early this morning Jon followed Monty over the Rainbow Bridge.