On April 7 (2005), our dog Barney was put to rest. My wife and I said our last goodbyes to Barney, and while we’re saddened by our loss, we’re comforted by wonderful memories of good family times we had with him and iknowing that he enriched our lives by being our special pet.
We devoted more time to Barney the last few months doing activities we all enjoyed: long treks on favorite trails through the woods; walks around the Erie Canal; playing in the back yard. We did as much as his stamina allowed, and he loved it. He enjoyed being with us and we cherished his companionship and affection.
Barney was a friend to all. He anticipated the mail carrier’s daily stop and biscuit treat. Like a magnet, he drew the Helping Hands boy to the back of our van when groceries were being loaded. He eagerly welcomed visitors to our house with an extended paw and a good sniffing. The neighborhood kids enjoyed his willingness to be petted, the warmth and tenderness of his thick fur and strong body and the love behind an occasional kiss. People learned not to be afraid of Barney and that his enthusiastic approaches were his way of saying,”C’mon, let’s touch!”
Barney would watch us through the window when we left and welcome us at the door upon our return. He would wait in the car to meet our son and daughter at the airport on their trips home, and bound up the stairs into their bedrooms to see what was new in their bags. He taught them to put away their clothes or risk having their undies dragged through the house.
Barney was a constant companion to my wife, keeping her in sight as she worked her garden, or following her from room to room. At night, he lay at her bedside. He loved being with her in the kitchen where the good treats and special smells were. She would talk and Barney would listen. The carrots, creamed spinach, broccoli and sliced bananas were but a few of his gourmet rewards. My wife was Barney’s exerciser through the walks they took and the backyard games they played.
This summer, we’ll dedicate a concrete square to Barney’s memory. It’ll be added to others in our backyard walkway as a remembrance. It may take its place near our first dog’s marker. And in a few words, the stone will attest to what a wonderful dog Barney was. Or, it may say how he will always be remembered. For me, he was the ‘King of All Dogs.’ I often reminded him of that. And he was the King to the final moment of his precious life.
Barney scrambled in and out of our arms as a furry, energetic 6 week old puppy when we adopted him 11 years ago. And he’ll be in our hearts for a lifetime. We love you, Barney. You were a great family dog.
Written 5/1/2005 and published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, “My Life, My Words”
I dedicate this story to all pet lovers and especially those who have experienced the sadness of losing one of their own special ‘friends’.