Monday, September 22, 2014

An Excerpt from the Book of Barkley - Ghosts

After the death of Barkley, I received this note from a female friend, a sailor and adventurer with an indomitable spirit:

“When I was 18, and lost my lifelong companion, Sally - with me since birth, a small black and white cocker mix, my best and sometimes only friend, my soul-mate. She loved me, I believe, more perfectly than I could ever have loved her in my inexperience. When she was 18 she died and I grieved and I cried and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of that sweet little soul who gave me so much. So, no, you never get over it, I do not know anyone who has loved a dog and has said goodbye that gets over it. The pain? As you know, it eases, it becomes sweet memory with time, you still get tears in your eyes, but the smiles and laughter at the remembered fun and antics of your 4-legged Pal returns to you.

My mother is part Iroquois, and although a lifelong Catholic, carried with her some of the mythology handed down in her family. She knew my grief was raw and painful and that only time would help heal the wound in my heart. She said to me ‘Sally walks with you, and with time, she will allow you to feel her there beside you. During the first time of grief, you are blind to her, and that is as it should be, so she will know she is no longer in This World, but now walks in the Spirit World. When you are ready, she will help ease your pain by showing you memories, and helping you laugh again when you are ready to see that she is not lost to you, but always remains a part of you. Your tears will then be tears of joy at your good fortune at having known such a one."

Those words brought me much comfort, even as I did not dream of him. Sleep through the night was finally occurring, even as I woke, expecting to feel the touch of cold snoot against my hand: "Get up, Mom; get up, Mom it's time for Dog Food again!"

--From Chapter 49 of the Book of Barkley

The photo above is a bookmark, the color and shape of Barkley's collar.  the piece hand stitched to it is the top of an antique piano key on which the very last photo taken of him was etched on with a laser by a dear friend who is in the robotics field. He is one of the few people that have heard me play in public so the piano key was quite touching. When he and his wife brought it to me, when we were having one of our evenings together as families, I think we all cried.

So many friends have been a part of our journey, reading about Barkley in social media, visiting our home, having us over to theirs.

To those of you who  stopped in here or wrote a note of support with your request for an autographed copy, that means so much, even if I could not reply to each and every one of you individually.  So many memories there, and hopefully here, more stories to share.
LB Johnson


  1. This chapter, and your blog entry back when you received this gift, made me recall my companions that are waiting at the Rainbow Bridge--what a beautiful tribute to Barkley, and your family!

  2. Brigid,

    I finished 'Barkley' while on my 'boat sojourn' over the past couple of weeks. Finding my remembrance of Sally (Ghosts... indeed. Well said.) included in your book brought tears to my eyes... for all you have been through lately, and for what I, too, have been through in the last few years. But also for joy! I am glad that I wrote something that brought you even a small amount of comfort.

    I connect with so much of what you write, thinking, 'Yes, I completely understand what you are saying'. It is a special joy that I take in knowing that you have a small connection to me as well.

    Fair Winds and Following Seas,

    Cap'n Jan
    Just back from the boat.


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab, who we adopted in 2014.

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