Last evening I was sitting at one end of our sofa, with China our rough collie asleep at the other end and Graham in his usual position on the floor, watching TV.
From upstairs came a very familiar 'thud' sound. The sound of a dog dropping off the spare bed and onto the floor. There was a pause and no further sounds, although having heard the 'thud', I was wondering how long it would take the dog to get downstairs and into the living room.
Right on cue, the living room door creaked open. I was watching and instinctively leant forward to see the dog as it entered the room.
Of course, there was nothing to see.
But here we are, heading swiftly towards Samhain/Halloween, the time when spirits return to visit those they love. Plus it is now three months gone since Maeve died, and I've found that when a loved one dies you often get a brief visit just after death and/or then hear nothing until after three months have passed.
If you have read my book 'Journeys to the Summerland' you will know that I usually encounter the dead in dreams or astral journeys to their realms, but I have also had experiences in this world too. Immediately after my dad died, I heard his voice comforting me, as any parent would, 'Don't cry, it's alright.'
And our Yorkshire Terrier, Snag, settled himself in front of the fire and snored.
Snag was quite an active member of the household for a while, one visitor reporting that when they tried to put their elbow on the sofa arm, they were warned off with a growl - that was Snag's favourite perch.
I know that many bereaved people long for some sort of contact or message from their loved ones, and they may feel disappointed or bereft when there is no instant connection.
From personal experience I would say: 'Give it time.'
As you might imagine, when someone dies, the spirit has a lot of adjustments to make, including getting used to the idea that they are dead, and in many cases coming to terms with the fact that even without a body, life goes on.
This is a generalisation, but something I have noticed time and again in my own and other people's experiences: it usually takes 3-6 months for the spirit to get through its own acclimatisation, enough for them to decide to pop back and see how their loved ones are faring.
So coming up to Samhain I am expecting that we will get other visitations from various friends, relatives and pets.
And I am looking forward to them all.
'Journeys to the Summerland' by Chris Sempers £4.50 plus p&p available from Raven