Today is Christmas, and though it is a happy time, it is also a sad time for my family. I planned on an uplifting post, and I suppose this is, to an extent. Probably not.
On 19 Dec 2015, we lost our 13 year old pup, Barkley. He was a great companion with a lot of pain, yet he never complained except at the end, which was his due.
Let me start with a little of his history. When I saw him, I hadn’t known his past, only that he needed a home and he was a beautiful Lab/Akita mix. He came with a pal, but that pal, Rocco, needed a single family home that we couldn’t give him, as we already had another dog, Strat. One day, I’ll tell you all about him, too. For now, here is Barkley’s story.
He had a home, a good home, until his “parent” was sent on business and was left in the care of his roommate. The roommate had stuffed the two dogs into a garage all day and night, rarely allowing them outside to piddle or poop, let alone run around, and would toss food at them. It wasn’t to watch them fight, it was carelessness on the person’s part, but they had water (not that that made it alright). The “parent” came home to find his two pups in horrible conditions and set on trying to right the wrongs that had been committed, but the landlord had demanded the dogs find new homes. That’s how Barkley and Rocco came to live with me and my small family (hubby and Strat).
The first time we fed Barkley, he nearly bit Rocco’s neck off, just because he thought he would have to fight for food. He was a big dog, as was Rocco (Rottweiler), and needed a lot of food. First order of business was to show him that he could have all the food he wanted. We fed them until they puked, cleaned it up, and fed them again, until they realized they would always have food. Barkley was smarter than stunted-Rocco, and caught on quickly. Strat and Barks became best buds. I found a good home for Rocco with a divorcee who wanted a pup that needed attention. From some contact still, Rocco is doing pretty well.
Barkley traveled with us from Japan to Germany to New Mexico. He’s seen the Eiffel Tower, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and many other places in Europe. He’s traveled with us throughout Japan, as well. He even got to travel to San Antonio, TX when we had business there.
Barkley’s last days were filled with pain, and we had to make the horrible decision to put him to sleep. My husband and I spoke of this possibility, and relied on the advice of the veterinarian. Barkley was in so much pain and his quality of life would have suffered even if we had gone ahead and slammed him full of antibiotics and whatever else they could throw his way. Our decision, as difficult as it was, was for the best. Not for us–we wanted to be selfish and keep him with us forever–but for him; he needed peace and to be free of pain.
He had blindness and the inability to walk in his last days; his dignity and peace in life had come to an end. He had been a strong, dignified pup, and this was no way for him to live. We chose the most humane choice given to us, and he is now romping through fields of snow and vibrant green meadows with Strat. He lived a long, full life with us, and I believe (hope) a happy life.
As his last act, so to speak, he gave all of his knowledge to the next in line, Loki, and shared that same knowledge with Sammy.
Barkley was an awesome pup, one that will live on in the memories of our other dogs, in us, and all those lives he touched at one point or another.
Barkley will be missed but to know he is happy and free of pain, that makes his passing easier. And no matter if you believe in Heaven or not, I know he’s up there with his best pal, Strat.
One day, I may even explain why I have such certainty, but that is not now, maybe there will never be a time for such explanations.
This Christmas is dedicated to the best companion anyone could ever have: my baby-Barkley.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.