June 29th 2012 6:40 am
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My beloved black lab mix Barnes, was diagnosed with acute luekemia( cancer), on 06/20/12. He had lost alot of weight and was very weak by the time he was diagnosed. Dogs like young children can't tell you when they are sick. Barnes was almost 10 years old, but still looked like a pup, except for the little graying on his muzzle.
Barnes passed at home with me at his side, in the morning on 06/28/12.
I started writing this when Barnes was still with me, he was lying on his dog bed in the living room with his favorite sqeaky ball, resting comfortably, he was so weak and tired but he still had that twinkle in his eye and still wagged his tail. I knew that his spirit was still fighting what his body could not. Its was a only few days prior, the past weekend when he was so happy and vibrant in the back yard playing ball with me and Braden for hours in the late afternoon. Thats when I took my last photo of him sitting in the yard looking at me.
Barnes came into my life as a puppy with his twin brother Noble ,my ex-wife got them from a pet rescue online and they were already named. Having lost my first dog ( Jack 15 yrs.) several years earlier, I was not to keen on getting a dog again.Then I saw the pics online, it was like love at first sight. Yes, I heard it a hundreds of times over the years, "Barnes and Noble" really. Barnes and Noble quickly became daddy's boys. Barnes was little less friendly to other dogs and people he did not know. He was a trusted friend and companion to me and his brother Noble. Barnes was a very active healthy dog most of his life, he was built like a greyhound and he loved to run,run and run. Most people guessed Barnes to be years younger that his brother Noble.He and Noble went to many a park /woods and they both loved to chase squirrels, rabbits, and especially chipmunks "munks". Barnes also loved his tennis balls, chasing them, chewing them and just playing with them period. Barnes although not as outgoing and gregarious as Noble, was a gentle loving dog who enjoyed a good butt scratch and ear tickle, ( he had such soft little ears for a lab). Barnes was a swimmer and he loved the water.
Barnes and Noble did not get along all they time and at home they did their own thing. As I look back at pictures from when they were pups, I remebered they were inseperable always sleeping and lying together. But like many siblings that mature as they got older the less close they got. In the last few year there were several fights and Barnes always seemed to be the one that got hurt. Noble did think himself the alpha and I guess this was cause of some of this, regardless Barnes did his own thing and Noble his and they were happy. They always worked as a team when it became hunt for the critter time, especially those pesky backyard rabbit and squirrels. Barnes was shy and skittish around strangers, while Noble will smooch to anyone. Barnes was very territorial and the protector of the yard and house. I never worried about burglars when I wasn't home, Barnes would have taken care of business. Yet he was the sweetest, caring and lovable pup to those that knew him well. Noble was bigger and friendly, Barnes was shy but intelligent. Those eyes, I will never forget the look of his eyes, alway watching me, he had a special twinkle in his eyes,he and Noble could just look into my soul and bring a smile to my face.
I guess you need to be a true dog lover to understand what dogs bring into our lives. I always looked forward to coming home from work and being greeted by 2 happy faithful dogs. My son does brings me alot of my joy in life, but Barnes and Noble also played a major part in my dealing with life's stresses. I depended on both dogs for companionship and support. I spent alot of time talking to them, they lended me an unjudgmental ear, they were my confidant, and gave me unconditional love during times of loneliness. Barnes was part of my family and I will miss him dearly. I still have my Noby to give me his slobberring kisses, but things will never be the same without my Barney, god I loved that dog. I sat up with him the entire night before he passed, giving what comfort I could provide and I watched as he dreamed about better days chasing the rabbit, his legs would twitch and he woofed softly in his sleep as I had seen him do many times before. I loved taking my boys to the park and watch them have fun. There was and is always a special satsifiying feeling about seeing you healthy pups get a good workout.
To my Barnes, now that you are free from the pain and illness, run, run,run, and chase those balls, I will be with you again someday to stroke those soft ears and itch your butt. Your daddy loves you and will never forget all the happy memories you gave. Noby and Braden will keep me company for now. Nobes and you may have not seen eye to eye all the time and I think he was little confused after you left us. You know he always slept with daddy, while you slept on your spot on the couch. Last night, our first without you, he never came to bed, he slept on your spot on the couch all night. In the morning he got up, but did not run to the back door and charge out like you guys did every time you went out. He walked out slowly looking back to the door waiting, I know he was waiting for you. He looks so sad now, he knows Barnes, Nobes loves you and misses you too.
It's hard to descibe to love and feeling one has for a pet. I guess its because you spend so much time with your pets and that you essentially take care of them, very similar to a child. They depend on you for everything and no matter what they always love you. Barnes didn't have alot of people or animal friends in his life his last few years, just me and Noble. Several times in the past year I did worry about how much time I had left with my boys. They were getting older, I always thought, I'll get 3 to 5 more years from them, they were in such good shape. I would then put that worry away. You can't prepare yourself for it and my heart broke when I found out about Barnes. Dogs, love them while you have them, thier precious lives are so short, give them many hugs and tell them you love them. Barnes you won't be mourned by many, but there will always be a place for you in daddys heart forever.
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