Barney was my parents dog. He was a scrappy little Cairn Terrier and a real joy. Mom always got mad because Barney liked my Christmas presents "best". His favorites were the balls, which he usually managed to "pop" with his teeth in no time flat. Here is Barney's tribute, written by Mom:
First, I must make note that years ago in December of 1986, we lost our little guy, Pepper. He was hit by a small truck right in front of our home and we were devastated! I wrote my thoughts down about him at the time, knowing that as much as we love our pets, the years not only ease the pain but tend to lessen your remembrance of their individual traits that so endeared us to them. This is true because I did not write down much when Babe died on an operating table years later. But, I am getting ahead of myself at this time......
Right after losing Pepper in the early part of December, 1986, we went to the ASPCA to find another pet. We found the cutest grey curley haired terrier and it was love at first sight. She quickly filled the void of losing Pepper. She seemed quite timid when walking her - always wanted to be close rather than nosey-ing around. I told her she was just a big baby. That is how we came up with her name - we called her BABE from then on. But apparently we were not
satisfied with just one dog. A week or so later, Bill discovered an ad in the newspaper about a Cairn Terrier for sale in Elkton,Virginia. We plopped Babe in our car and headed over to Elkton to see this little guy. When we got to the residence, the door was open and at the screen door was this little bundle of energy barking and carrying on like crazy. We were welcomed in by his owners and discussed the possibility of adopting him. They went on to say that they had bought Toto for their son even though they already had a small poodle. Seems like the poodle was scared stiff of Toto and constantly hid under the bed. So they had no alternative but to sell. I admit I was hesitant because he was so wild. But then we brought Babe in to see how they would get along - There was a lot of chaos and confusion for awhile but then Bill said, "Lets get him", so we did! We wrote out a check for $150 for the owners, put Babe and the wild one in the back seat of our car and took off for home. On the way, we stopped for a hamburger at a quick stop in Gordonsville and shared our lunch with the two travelers in the back seat. Needless to say, they hit it off almost immediately!
We had to think of a name for our new addition (No way were we going to call him Toto!) - there were two things that influenced his name that I can remember. A friend I had worked with had a dog named Barney and I just liked that name very much - nothing pretentious about it at all! - Then at that time we enjoyed a TV program, Barnaby Jones. Well, we officially named him Barnaby but always called him Barney or other crazy nicknames we came up with over the years. These were great years that we enjoyed with these two lovable mutts until sometime, about 7 or 8 years later, Babe had developed some internal problems that required surgery. We knew she had a heart murmur but never even thought of the possibility of her heart giving out undergoing her operation. But it did and once again we were devastated by this untimely death. As I mentioned earlier, I never wrote down little tidbits about Babe - why I didn't, I'll never know - and now at the present time I have forgotten many little incidents that I could have put down on paper about this lovable dog.
Getting back to my story, we found ourselves, again, with another terrible loss. Often, I wondered if Barney knew his sister was gone. Sooooo, we started making trips to the ASPCA looking for another replacement. We made many trips and finally I went by myself just checking out to see if I could find a suitable partner for Barney. At long last I latched onto a big black furry creature who constantly put out her paw to you through the wire cage she was in. I went back home and told Bill that I thought she was the one. The timing was bad because we had some terrible weather that made the roads quite slippery and they stayed bad for quite some time. I called the kennel to say we wanted this dog but we would have to wait till the weather permitted us to drive in to get her. It was at this time that I found out she was due to be put down . I think I made two more calls to make sure they were holding her for us - and that we would definitely be there! Well, finally we got in to get her! When we walked into the building in one of the first cages I looked, there was this cutest little grey terrier (reminiscent of Babe) and my heart said, "This is THE ONE!" Now the problem we are facing is very evident! We decided to take two dogs! The black critter was too scared to come out of her cage. To say she was laid back was putting it mildly! They had to carry her outside for us to walk her on a leash and get to know her a little. She balked quite a bit and would not budge off the porch of the building. Finally, after the paperwork, etc., Bill just picked her up and placed her in the back seat of our car along with the frolicking and playful little terrier. When I think back, they did not appear to be a very good match! It was even a harder job to get the black one into our house. We had to cajol and tempt her up the porch steps and finally got her on the porch. From there it was a little easier to get her in the house into the kitchen.. Now Barney comes into the picture cause he was king of the roost till these two came in! But after a few growls, he settled down and realized he had two new sisters. We named the black one Bear and the little terrier Smokey.
Three dogs are almost one too many, but I don'y think we would have done it differently if we had to do it all over again. We were a happy family of five!
The years rolled by with the girls maturing and Barney beginning to show signs of his age. I must elaborate on Barney because of the three, he had the most expressive face and demeanor. We love all our dogs, but Barney was really
special. He had a way of ātalkingā when someone came to the door or we were ready to take him out. He would grumble and grumble in such a way that you would swear he was trying to tell you something. He was alwlays happy to see someone come to visit although not all visitors were happy to see him. Here we have the problem of some humans do not understand the friendliness of animals and do not respond in kind. One of Barney's favorite things was to go down to the dock-ly and go swimming. Bill would take a long rope and tie him to the porch but give him plenty of room to do his thing in the water. He loved to mosey along the shoreline and paw at the roots of plants he found there. He would get so muddy - just like a kid playing in a mudpile! Then when one of us went in for a swim, he would start to swim out to meet us until the rope would let him go no further. At other times, we had a little plastic Kodak raft and he would get in that with us and go for a ride. He loved all kinds of excitement. We will never know if he enjoyed the outboard boat rides or not. He carried on barking so much, we had to eliminate that as one of his "fun" times.. He
preferred to do his own thing - a very stubborn but loving dog and that was an endearing trait for us. He was a ravenous eater and loved his food. Bear retains her timidity to this day and we still feed her on the porch away from the other two so they won't get to her food. If they did, she would politely let them have it!
Barney also loved to escape! If he had the slightest chance of getting out that front door when it was opened, out he would fly! One of his favorite spots was to run across to our neighbor's home and down into the woods. He usually
would wind up down at the shoreline in the water. We can't count the numerous times Bill had to go out and chase him down fearing he would get lost in the woods or wander off. Calling him never worked because he would just ignore us. One of us would go in the car looking up and down our side streets until finally he would be resurrected and brought home. Seems like he NEVER came home by himself. He probably would have eventually, but we were always too worried that he would get lost. The one time that things were different was a story that we will never forget. It was winter time with snow and ice covering all the area. Barney got loose around dusk and all our hunting for him was to no avail. It became dark out and I truthfully was besides myself with worry and finally almost hysterical feeling that we had seen the last of our little guy. Bill never lost faith that he would return but I had completely given up on him. He had been out for hours in the cold wintry weather. We left all the outside lights on and constantly checked to see if he was around. I don't remember the time exactly, but after much checking he appeared at the bottom of our steps, the most forlorn looking exhausted little dog you would ever see! He was covered with mud and ice - one sorry looking puppy - and I don't believe he could make the steps. Bill carried him into the house and we worked on him to get him cleaned up. That was the one and only time he came back by himself!
One of Barney's favorite things to do when we were relaxing in the evening was to jump up on your lap and sleep. We have so many pictures of him doing just that. He didn't realize that he was a hefty over 30 lbs of weight on us. We never minded that though cause he was our baby. Smokey did the same on occasion, but was always a little restless and would jump down after a few minutes. Christmas was always a fun time for Barney. We would put a Santa hat on him and he would pose for pictures. When it came time to open our presents, he knew when it was time to get his - loved laying with his toys and getting all the good yummies to eat. Speaking of eating, I guess I was the one who spoiled our dogs by giving them a tidbid from our dinnertable. Once I started doing this, they expected it all the time. When walking the dogs, Barney always led the way - I think he knew he was in charge. No one could put anything over on Barna - both Bear and Smokey gave him room. Also Barney loved sleeping at night on the bed with us. He always had first dibs over the others and was first up the stairs when it came time to go to bed. Bear and Smokey slept in baskets out in the hall.
But then the time came when Barney no longer was leading the way. He started falling behind on walks. His age was starting to show like it eventually must. His legs were starting to give him trouble and we began giving him
medication for his arthritis. It helped considerably for quite some time. But, no longer could he jump up on our laps nor jump up on the bed. Even the stairs were giving him difficulty. For many nights, we had to watch him as he
cautiously came up the stairs one step at a time till he finally made it to the top. Then came the time we had to help him on each step, but when he finally made it to the top we would praise him for his efforts. We came to a decision to have the three of them ALL sleep downstairs as we knew how hard it was for Barney It worked for awhile, but then started something that continued more or less every night - he would howl and cry so mournfully that we had to go down to pacify him to go back to sleep. When he saw one of us come down, he would get up, wag his tail to greet us, follow us till we sat down, then eventually go back to seep somewhere near us. It was like he was scared or wanted to be sure we were around. This went on for sometime and both Bill and I were not getting enough sleep. Every night we anticipated this happening. Finally Bill decided to carry Barney upstairs every night. We put his basket in our
bedroom and for the first week or so, his crying stopped - maybe just one occurrence during the night which was not so bad. But we were not only coping with this problem, but the other matter was the fact that his dementia was worsening. His response to us was not what it should be. His hearing was very poor along with poor eyesight - all in all, this was our Barney getting to be a very old doggie and our not being able to do anything to help him. We took him to Doctor Atkinson once more and had some tests done. We received new medication which should have helped his condition but apparently did not. His howling at night increased again and walking him became a very difficult job. He no longer was able to walk up the road past one or two houses and he now confined doing his duty right near the front of our house. I truthfully do not think he could have been a very happy dog with all of these problems even though he had good periods of rest and sleeping during the day.
Then on the morning of January 22, 2001 I had been sleeping in due to Barney's restlessness during the night - Bill woke me up to tell me that it was time. He made the arrangements and a good friend came over, drove Bill's car and Bill took Barney for his last ride. Bill had the courage to do this. I did not and was forced to stay home to do my grieving. It was such a hard day for both of us but we know in our hearts that we did the right thing. Barney was such a happy, fun loving dog - I can't say that we put him out of his misery because that may not be so, but I feel that if he could talk he would have agreed with our decision. We will always miss this little fellow - he was the love of our
life---but then, I can't help but think that he has been resurrected to a new life with his sister, Babe.....who knows, maybe they have even met up with Pepper and Brownie .......
Written on January 23, 2001
TWO POINTS OF LIGHT
Just before Christmas, l985, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing our beloved friend and companion, our Cairn Terrier, Pepper run over by a truck in the front of our house.
He had been a sickly puppy when purchased, but through our care and the help of the Lord, he became a healthy little boy. We had him for eleven years. He had his own particular charm and my wife and I spent many happy hours with this feisty but most lovable terrier. He is not nor will ever be forgotten. Losing our little pet was a great loss to my wife and me in our first six months in Virginia. We would surely miss his unbounded energy and vital place in our family.
Saddened and dismayed, a day or two later we visited the SPCA and found a female poodle-terrier mix that we liked right away. She especially appealed to my wife when they went on a walk together. After the adoption we named this lassie Babe. A few days later, reading the paper, I spotted an ad for a Cairn Terrier for sale. We had long desired to have two dogs in our home but never found it feasible till now. So the three of us journeyed to Elkton, Va. to assess the possibility of this canine becoming a fourth member of our family.
We learned from the couple who had the dog for sale that he was very frisky. He was just too much for them to handle. They had another, older dog, who seemed to be intimidated by the Cairn and this dog was their original pet. Babe's initial encounter with this stranger appeared to be love at first sight. My wife had reservations about having these two in our home, but we liked the little guy so much that we decided to make him one of us. As there was no hesitancy from Babe concerning her new brother, we soon embarked for the return trip home.
It has been six years since that day in Elkton and the "two guys", as we refer to them, have become very close to us and caring of one another. Babe and her brother Barney have embellished our lives in our rural environment in Central Virginia.
Babe, the larger of the pair, stands about eighteen inches high and weighs about 38 pounds. She has gray curly hair and black markings around her eyes. This makes her almost comically resemble a raccoon. With her loving disposition and playfulness she loves to frolic a lot of the time with Barney and is at times successful in engaging him in a good brawl. Babe is also very gentle. When being hand- fed, she carefully lifts the tidbit from your finger. She is usually the last one in her "bedroom" (the upstairs hall, where each dog has his and her own basket). She seems to like to have everyone accounted for before she leaves for bed.
When our bedroom door is opened in the morning she is anxious to come in, hop on our bed and greet us lovingly as the new day begins. A scratch or more on her belly is always welcomed by this damsel. Of the two dogs, Babe is more concerned about food, reminding us it is her dinnertime with her pestiness. When we are eating at the kitchen table Babe is usually right there and welcomes any snack that might be offered. She usually rests with one eye open and is a constant companion, especially to my wife.
Barney (officially Barnaby) is a full blooded Cairn Terrier and the lovable "bad guy" of the pair. He is more independent, spoiled and stubborn than Babe. His handouts are grabbed as opposed to the light touch of Babe. Barney is about 14 inches high and weighs some twenty-seven pounds, very heavy for this breed. His color is wheaten (reddish tannish blonde). He has enormous brown eyes, which are his leading physical attribute. Barney was born in June l985, about the time we retired and settled in Virginia.
For the sake of argument we say that Babe is the same age - the Vet thought this to be plausible upon his initial examination of the dogs. This way we can have a birthday party for both on the same day, which we never actually do.
Barney is not a "kisser" as is his sister Babe, but has his own special ways of showing affection such as jumping up on our laps to rest, sleep or to just be together. Although he often goes off on his own, he spends ample time at our feet or on our laps. He usually follows me around while Babe is inclined to track my wife. On walks he loves to grab his leash and have me "pull up" for short periods of play. It is somewhat comical to see him walk and/or stand under Babe when they are sniffing alonside the road. If, at these times, Babe should decide to relieve herself, it calls for prompt action on my part.
Barney, as well as Babe, will sit for long periods on our porch or at a window and watch for squirrels or other wild animals on or within the perimeter of our home. Babe always comes to greet us when we have been out but Barney does it selectively. He would rather take it easy on our upstairs bed and come only when there is something worthwhile or exciting going on. All of our mealtimes are spent with the two lying on the floor in close proximity with each other waiting for a move on our part which might mean an additional morsel.
Babe's bark is sharp and loud. Barney barks in a steady crescendo. At other times, especially when he knows that we are going for a walk or run, he will sing or yodel to indicate his excitement or pleasure. Both dogs are good watchdogs, and although they have never bitten anyone, they are quite yappy when a visitor comes to the door. In a matter of seconds they will usually calm down, especially if the visitor acknowledges their presence verbally or with a light pat on the head. When both my wife and I leave the house for a few hours, all indications are that they head for the foot of our bed.
On my walks with them, Babe was originally the follower but soon after she became the leader of the pack with her long slender legs, fast gait and adventurous enthusiasm. When my pace quickens, Babe will simply walk fast whereas Barney follows up in number three position with a trot on his short stumpy legs.
About the only time they fight or show displeasure with one another is when another animal or animals appear on their scene and they may fight briefly for the right to challenge the intruder. Of course, on all outings they are well leashed and under control. Babe takes some delight in heading Barney off as they walk along. Barney sometimes jumps up to catch Babe by the ear. These are forms of play that they have developed over the years. Inside the house they love to wrestle and hold each other down by the neck. Many times Babe will nudge Barney which is a signal for him to lick her ears which she enjoys to no end.
Without these wonderful canine creatures our lives would not be nearly as full. Having two dogs instead of one has proven to be an enriching experience. We have a houseful! Many of our friends do not have pets because of disadvantages involved. We cherish our dogs too much to be put off by any inconveniences. The joy of living is exemplified and heightened by the presence of our Two Points of Light.
- Bill Keating 2/3/92
We all love ya, Barney!
We all miss ya, little fella! See ya at the Rainbow Bridge!