The bird has learned the bark of the dog

John Wesley by George Romney
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Reverend John Wesley was an influential Anglican cleric and theologian of the 18th century who, along with his brother Charles, founded the Methodist movement. Much of his life was spent on horseback as he travelled the country, covering thousands of miles each year on his quest to preach to as many people as he could find. His extensive journals, which he began in 1835, not only documented his religious work but also offered insights into the people and places he encountered—and sometimes the animals. This entry came on 5th April 1790, a day on which he stumbled upon a heartwarming and unlikely friendship.

The Diary Entry


[In Altrincham] I met with one of the most extraordinary phenomena that I ever saw, or heard of: Mr. Sellers has in his yard a large Newfoundland dog, and an old raven. These have fallen deeply in love with each other, and never desire to be apart. The bird has learned the bark of the dog, so that few can distinguish them. She is inconsolable when he goes out; and, if he stays out a day or two, she will get up all the bones and scraps she can, and hoard them up for him till he comes back.

Further Reading

John Wesley’s journals have been published in various forms and editions over the years, including an eight-volume series in the 1930s that would require bravery and devotion to tackle. Instead I’d recommend grabbing a single-volume edition, such as this one. Alternatively, there are many out-of-print editions at the Internet Archive.

One response to “The bird has learned the bark of the dog”

  1. Nguyen Cong Kien Avatar
    Nguyen Cong Kien

    Aww, so adorable

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