The next decade was a mix of the same behaviors that had occurred during the first five years. Barney continued to bark, dig, bite, break his run, get the neighbors to hate us (each night I looked for the crowd with torches approaching our house), wet and poop in the house if allowed to run at night and in general be a
|How Barney looked after every misadventure|
|Pick the dancers or the laptops, trust me.|
The day he almost died - Barney was about 12 and I had taken him to the vet on a Friday afternoon. After his normal check up (he was fine, dammit), our vet casually mentioned that she would be out of town
|How he looked headed to the vets|
|How he should have looked at the vets|
|How he did look at the vets|
The day he did die - After the accident, Barney slowed down a lot. He did indeed walk swayback and arthritis set in fairly quickly. He stopped digging holes and running after cars, but never did stop barking. As the years went by he got slower and slower and would take several minutes just walking down the 3-4 steps from our deck, and of course he did it sideways now. It was the morning of Molly's wisdom teeth surgery that his condition worsened considerably. His back legs stopped working altogether and he was dragging his hind end around. After Molly was home and recovering, I ran Barney into the vet and this time the diagnosis was permanent nerve damage and he recommended putting Barney down. Both Char and I knew that we couldn't do this with Molly still doped up, she would never have forgiven us, so we made an appointment for Monday and brought Barney home with us for a last weekend with the family. All the kids were able to spend some time with Barney and Molly slept next to him for the majority of that weekend. We all took turns carrying him out to do his business. Monday came and even Molly had come around to understand that this was the humane thing to do, so she and I went together and were with him when he passed. We had him cremated and chose to spread his ashes along the run where he so enjoyed chasing things, digging and barking.
Barney was a major pain in the ass, but he taught us all many lessons in the years we had him. We all learned the benefit of researching these kind of decisions prior to committing to them. We learned that sometimes it is impossible to change bad behaviors after they are learned, so it's better to teach good behaviors early and repeat often. We learned about loving unconditionally. The last lesson Barney taught us was that the physical disabilities that come with age by no means detract from one's ability to provide positive interactions with others. I hope the kids learned something about taking care of someone who is aging and in failing health, that is, shower them with love and affection, but allow them their dignity when it is time for them to go. I'll close this blog with a paraphrased quote from Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan (cuz great wisdom comes from Star Trek). As Kirk eulogizes Spock he says....
" He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."
I feel the same about Barney.
|We miss you Barney|