Happy Birthday, Barney

Six years ago, on February 7th, my boy Barney was born. He came home to live with us on April 1, 2010. He has been a delight since the day he came into my life.

 

Such a cute little fellow!! Well, I thought so, but not everyone did. My mom came over shortly after I got him. Her first words were something like, “That’s the ugliest little dog I think I have ever seen.” You decide …

You’re a little fellow … will you be staying?

 

Hi Fluffy! Can we be friends?

 

Can I play with you, Cotton?

He may not have been the most adorable puppy, but he had so much personality! He has always made me laugh.

I fretted over a name for my puppy. I leaned toward Magic. It is a name that would have been appropriate in so many ways – he’s been magical for me. But, my husband wasn’t impressed with that name.
Is this a nice “sit?”
Finally, a friend came by and started listing a bunch of name possibilities. When she hit on “Barney,” a light came on. My mind went to Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show … and my gangly, funny little puppy seemed like a perfect match to that name. So, he became Barney.
This dog has been a perfect match to me. He’s a happy soul. If we’re lying on the couch, he’s right there with me, happy just to be near. If we’re going for a walk, he’s ready and excited to go. And, if we walk onto the agility field, my little man is an anxious performer.
Just three weeks after I brought him home, our grandchildren came to live with us for several months. On top of my regular responsibilities, I now had a 10-month old, a 3-year-old, and a 7-year-old to raise … and a little puppy to try to train… When I wasn’t at work… Or cooking. Or cleaning…
He was as happy as could be to have Fluffy the cat, Cotton (his temperamental sister), and the three human children to play with. To this day, he loves it when the children come to visit. But, he didn’t get nearly as much attention and training as he would have or that I planned during his earliest months.
Some dogs might have suffered from that lack of training, but not my Barney. When he was finally able to begin pre-agility classes (after the children returned home), he was a super star.
He is such a stable boy. Rain, thunder and lightning don’t bother him in the least. I can think of little that bothers him, except sharing me with any animal other than his sister.
He was nearly three when I was diagnosed with cancer. We were on a roll in agility when I learned I was sick. This little boy was doing amazing things – he’s always been such a steady little partner. The only question I really had for my oncologist after learning I was sick was whether I could continue running agility with my Barney.
We had to quit agility classes because I was either too sick or too exhausted to go. But, we continued to try to go to trials as we could. And, he never let me down.
Looking back at the spreadsheet where I keep track of our trial experiences, there are only one or two times when I felt like we just didn’t connect as a team. For the most part, he gave his all.
Here are some of his latest runs. I am so proud of where he is. Where we are as a team.

Exercise is said to be good for chemo brain and for fighting cancer. Learning the courses stretches my mind. I love being around all of my friends and their dogs. It brings me great joy. I would be willing to bet that my agility addiction has helped keep me healthy.
But, while agility plays a big part in my life and the lives of my dogs, it isn’t everything! Really! It isn’t!
My heart just swells when my boy lays his head on my legs when we’re sitting on the couch or when he gets on the back of the couch and hangs his leg over so that it touches me or lays on my chest and sleeps with me there.
My favorite memory of all of my boy is the one where he came and laid on my chest for hours soon after I was diagnosed. Of course it is silly, but I felt like I could feel the tumors being pulled right out of me by his body heat. I was so, so sick, but his love and devotion comforted me more than I can say.
Happy birthday, precious boy! May we have many, many more together!

 

 

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