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Our Dog Barley

We were very saddened when our boy Barley passed away on June 8 after a two year fight with cancer. This date marked four years since we adopted him after his two previous families were unable to deal with his in-your-face nature. In September he would have turned six, much too young to be taken by this dreadful disease.

We remember fondly the first time we met him. We had just spent some time with several dogs looking for a family and could not make up our minds when in strutted this confident dog. We were immediately attracted to him. After a few minutes we told the folks at GBGRR that we wanted to give Barley a home. “You want Barley?” came the incredulous reply. We learned that people found it difficult to control him and they had just sent him for three weeks of training. Years later his trainer told us that she remembered him as the “badest” dog she ever had to train.

But all Barley really needed was a loving home and parents who would be patient and teach him what he was allowed to do and what he wasn’t. He became a very well-behaved dog.

Barley absolutely loved life and loved to be in the center of everything. He was first to the door at the sound of the doorbell, his tail wagging and his nose to the ready. Everybody thought him adorable and reached down to pet him, not realizing that he would give them the head fake and steal their water bottle (or his oncologist’s stethoscope). He was quite a clown.

He loved to eat, always reminding us as the breakfast or dinner hour approached. He loved to chase rabbits and lizards and, thankfully, rarely achieved his goal. When you looked in those deep brown eyes you saw intelligence and perception. He was acutely aware of everything that went on in our home or backyard. If something was out of place, he wanted to find out what was going on. (When we put up a new pod colony for birds, he barked in protest, until it became a permanent part of “his” home).

Like so many of his breed, Barley was felled in the prime of his life. We will miss him dearly. But when the hurt is diminished, we’d love to help find some way to rid these lovely dogs of this curse of cancer. There must be a path forward and we hope we can help to find it.

Debra Cates and Bryan Thomas

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