Remembering Barney my dog

remembering barneyRemembering Barney my dog. This is an ode to a very special friend that I lost earlier today at 10:30 in the morning.

If you know me, you know I appreciate dogs and have had quite a few.

They are true friends to us humans and ask for nothing in return except a hug and acknowledgement – oh, and a lot of snacks and food.

Back in June 2008 I heard someone advertising a litter of “hybrid” pups for the taking.

I thought I’d go and check them out because I was in the market for a K-9 at the time and it was already a nice warm summer day. Perfect for checking out potential pups for friendship.

I found the address easy and there was the mother and father dog in their pen with their tails wagging and all happy to see company.

The owners came out to meet me and I asked where the pups were and soon enough, here comes a single file “train” of black & white (and some with caramel brown coloring) little dogs across the lawn towards us.

As we chatted, the “train” of pups meandered towards the pen where mom and dad were and then they scampered towards the house and formed another single file line, walking along the basement of the house and out of sight.

I continued talking with the owners about the weather, the  parents and how old they were and what they liked to eat, when the mother dog had the pups and so forth. Small talk.

Lo & behold, here comes the train of pups again, and one breaks ranks coming towards me to smell my shoes….I told the owners I guess I’ll take this one….I didn’t pick him, he picked me.

I look at it as a form of kismet.

When I began walking towards the car with the pup, I noticed their older daughter run into the house and the mom said she had her eyes on the one I took if no one chose him.

The daughter did get a box for me to put him in and gave me a teddy bear he liked to sleep with.

What began as an impromptu visit and a dog choosing me to be his owner turned into a nearly ten year friendship.

I have actually snuck that dog into many of my cartoons because of his good nature.

Barney enjoyed a variety of food

I named him Barney and the name seemed to fit him perfectly. He loved eating bananas, cookies, McDonald’s french fries, ice cream and even cabbage leaves….not to mention Ol’ Roy Soft & Moist (beef & cheese flavor) brand dog food at supper time.

Preferably mixed with Purina Mighty Dog canned dog food….he was a bit fussy about that.

Tell-tale signs of dog diabetes

It was up until 10 days ago and maybe more, I noticed Barney had some weight loss in his back side. When I’d pick him up to put him in the car, I could feel his hip bones but thought maybe it was just “old age”.

Later I noticed his sides were a bit more sunk in and one day I was petting him and could actually feel his shoulder blades. He was losing weight, although eating normally and his appetite was about the same as usual.

What was the most notable is urinating in the house. Barney would never do that, he always let me know when it was time to go out.

I thought it was time to bring him in to actually find out if there was a problem. Prior to bringing him in, the veterinarian asked if I could bring in a sample of his urine. I held a paper coffee cup (yes, I washed it out) while he lifted his leg, not knowing I was behind him, catching some in the cup.

I brought him in and they ran the urine test but wanted to keep him that day for blood tests and see if it was diabetes.

The end of that afternoon came and I went in to confer with the vets and they confirmed he did have diabetes and a heart murmur. His kidneys were functioning good and other vitals were OK. It was just that problem of acquired diabetes.

They also wanted to rule out Cushing’s Disease which also shows the same symptoms as diabetes (excessive thirst and urinating, including weight loss).

They gave me the proper training on how to fill his syringe with insulin and give each dosage….very simple by pinching up a flap of skin over his shoulders, which he didn’t seem to mind.

I went about one week, administering two insulin shots each day – one in the morning and one at night. Always just after a meal. I was preparing to take one more urine sample into the veterinarian’s office to have that one shipped out to MSU to test additionally for Cushing’s disease.

Barney wasn’t quite ten years old. Just a few weeks shy of his tenth birthday but he was a loving and devoted dog….unbelievable, because you could sense it. When people say dog’s have unconditional love, it is so true.

This morning when I gave Barney his insulin shot after breakfast, he went outside and did his duty and came in to lay on his couch. He showed no signs of illness other than being underweight which I hoped he would eventually regain.

As I was drawing this morning, he jumped off the couch towards me and began to wobble and lost his balance. I thought it was insulin shock as they told me it could happen. I had a container of honey I tried rubbing on his gums but noticed he was very limp and I tried rubbing more on the other side of his gums.

It was then I noticed it was futile. His tongue was actually hanging out of his mouth….I realized he was gone but I held him in my arms and asked why this had to happen now? I don’t need to tell you about the river of tears.

I will surely miss that little dog, he was such a good, devoted friend who I will always say a prayer for.