All Dogs Go to Heaven

Barley died on March 25th. I have struggled to write this.


I lost one of my best friends today.

Barley the WonderDog is gone.

Barley had to have surgery in November for a weird thing on his ear.. and he hadn’t been completely right ever since.

Barley.. first visit to the vet... Nov 9/99

He stopped eating. And this week, couldn’t walk anymore.  He fell down the stairs.  He stopped wanting to walk very far a few weeks ago.. we just thought he was arthritic. We bought him special food.. it didn’t work.

January 4, 1999 I had to take my cat Spooky to be put down. He was nearly 15 .. very sick.. and it was time.

I’m a pet person. Honestly.. I don’t trust people who do not like animals.

I’ve had fish, cats and dogs.. the son has also had some rodents (not my fave..)

But I digress.

Barley Warren was the best dog ever.

After Spooky died, I wanted another pet.  Honestly.. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals. (I’m repeating myself I know…)  I think everyone should have some kind of pet at one point.

And so I got Barley.

November 5th. 1999. Josh and Katy had a PD day.

I had been looking  in the classifieds for a dog. Specifically.. a border collie. Jamie (the ex husband) loved border collies. I wanted a dog. You get the picture….

The kids and I went to a farm in Listowel.. thinking we were getting a girl dog named Daisy.   But.. we got there and the owner said they had decided to keep her.. but they had a boy dog available…

The dog jumped on Katy.  They fell immediately in love.

His name was Bill. He cost $35. Bill is not a good dog name.. in my opinion.. so I named him Barley.

He stunk. A lot.  It was a pig farm.

So we paid for “Bill” and left the farm. And drove straight to PetSmart for some grooming.

On the way, little Joshie in his car seat kept feeding our new addition… The dog had never been in a car before. so we brought some treats.. and Josh gave him MANY.. so many that the dog puked and crapped all over the van.

Once we got to PetSmart, the dog escaped us and crawled under the van.. apparently he knew what was coming…

We finally got him out from under the van and into the store to be bathed and groomed.. we didn’t want to take him home stinky. After all,  I hadn’t actually TOLD the husband (at the time) that I was getting a dog that day……..

Went home.. cleaned the van.. and went back to get our new, good smelling puppy.. and get him a collar, leash and nametag.. and we took him home.

The husband was not thrilled.. but that quickly changed. He quickly grew to love Barley.. as we all did.

But… Katy was Barley’s girl. She says she was actually HIS pet. And he was her “baby boy”.

Barley.. being the border collie that he was.. liked to herd things.. Specifically, children.  Many times kids would ride by on bikes and he’d freak because they wouldn’t obey him.. Then there were the times that the kids would go tobogganing down the big hill behind our house and Barley would alternate between grabbing their snowsuits with his teeth and throwing himself in front of the toboggan. It was clearly for their own safety.

He had a very distinct personality.  When you’d get up in the morning he’d great you with a “ROWR-rowr-ROWR”.. It’s tough to type it phonetically…. but I think you get where I’m going here. The “talking” could mean anything from “feed me” to “I need to go out” .. to “hey, how was your day?”

Barley was one of those dogs who’d push his head under your hand to pet him.. He was a fairly large dog.. (he was about three quarters Border collie and one part collie so was a bit stockier..)  An imposing looking dog.. walking him, people would often stop to comment about how pretty he was. But he was a very gentle dog. A big baby. His bark was far worse…

I always called him a “pig in a dog suit”.. he’d eat anything and everything.. except vegetables. He rarely got “people food” but I can recall one time letting him eat the remains of one of the kids dinners.. and he did.. and spit out the broccoli.

You couldn’t leave ANYTHING out on the counter or he’d eat it.  At one point I had to put a large pot on the top of the garbage can in the kitchen.  Barley had figured out that if he stepped on the pedal,  the lid would open and FOOD GALORE! (Most of which may have been stuff he shouldn’t have eaten in the first place…and led to some cleaning up. But you don’t want to hear that…)

Barley hated baths ever since he was first bathed at PetSmart.  He’d lay down if you pretended if you were going to pick him up (he was big and heavy and most couldn’t but we’d pretend at his expense..)

He would get paranoid that you’d leave him alone.. he loved the car. (Oddly enough).. If he saw people packing, at the first opportunity, he’d jump in the car.. and whilst on the trip would NOT get out to pee.. fearing he’d get left behind.. or maybe he was just comfy.

One time not that long ago, Katy and I took the dogs for a walk and Barley picked up an extremely large stick..

He’d walk with it.. it would get heavy… Katy would tell him to put it down.. he would.. for a milli second. But HE HAD TO HAVE THE STICK.

I’m sure it didn’t help that Katy and I were laughing our asses off…

Barley was also very protective.. you’d have to be careful play fighting or tickling as he would get upset and try to protect the smaller of the two participants.. he actually bit one of Katy’s former boyfriends (not hard…)

He was also an extremely good judge of character. If he didn’t “like” one of the kids’ friends, he wouldn’t be mean, he just wouldn’t let them pet him.. He knew.  Barley was not very fond of several of Katy’s boyfriends. And he was entirely correct in his opinion….

I’ll miss waking up with Barley on the bed. Or beside the bed (even though I’m slightly allergic and wake up puffy….)

I’ll miss your “talking”.. I miss your nudging when you need to be petted.  I miss how excited you’d get when I’d put on my “stripey pants”.. which meant we were going for a walk. I miss you at the door when we come in the house.  I miss how you’d sometimes lick my face in the mornings.. (and I HATE having my face licked)..  I miss everything about you.

We finally took him to see the vet.. he got really bad quickly the last week. We were prepared. We were doing the “right thing”.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever cried so much. And I’m still crying now.  He knew it was time. He was sicker than we thought. It took longer than we thought as a result.

But he knew. He was okay with it. We petted him..kissed him… cried and told him how much we loved him.

He was a good boy.

Barley was everyone’s favourite dog.  Not just mine (no offense to Mocha) .. But my family’s.  He was gentle, loyal, loving and a big baby.

And much loved.  Even Mocha loved him. When we came home, she was confused and looked everywhere for him. Katy accidentally jingled his collar.. Mocha raced to find him.. saw the collar.. sniffed it.. uttered a huge sigh and lay down. She knew.

Barley.. I missed you before you left.  You are most assuredly in heaven.

Life: it goes on. Every time I walk in the door I expect him to be there.
Love: Love that dog.
Pants: Barley loved the stripey pants.

10 responses to “All Dogs Go to Heaven

  1. I hated reading this. I went through a similar ending with Harley The Wonderdog Caplan, almost 15 yrs old. I hope you are ok or will be soon. What a sack of suckiness. –Jeff

  2. “A dog is the only thing that will love you more than he loves himself…”

    I miss Barely too.


  3. Beautiful tribute. Made me tear up as well. Although no other pet can replace a pet that had such a profound effect on your life like Barley did, what I do know for certain is that a pet like Barley gave your heart more room to let another one in. That is the gift that pets give us. They pay love forward for others to follow.
    You were very lucky to have Barley. and he you.

  4. OMG Beth…this brought me to tears..We had to have our Millie euthanized January 19th 2010..she was 12..and acted more like a person than a dog..Allan said your blog sounds like something I would have written about Millie..

    lol re:Katy was Barley’s pet..our Katie was Millies.

    I still hear Millie cry wanting in .

    The vet was fantasic he was so kind and caring ..Millie was on her blanky in the living room,one of her favorite spots..surrounded by the family that love her..Ryan and Katie always loved her ears and they rubbed them for the whole process..tears streaming down their faces . I noticed the vet even had a tear…

    We knew we were doing the right thing when the vet walked in when Millie got up wagging her tail and went to him..Even knowing it was the right thing was heart breaking…

    Millie is buried in the back yard in one of her favorite spots..with her favorite toys,tennis balls,her bed and blankets.

    We are getting a pup tomorrow…not to take Millies place because that will never happen..Jackis a designer dog..yorkie,bisho,poo ..hope he is not yappy..Millie only barked when ppl arrived..

    Ryan wrote his feeling about our loss..he always called her Mah dog Millie…he loved her and vice versa…she was his best friend during a dark time in his life and he wrote Millie loved me even when I was unlovable..

    I could go on and on ..Beth it sure is a void in our lives..

    My little blurp is titled “To many Millie was just a dog but to us she is family”.

    “A house is not a home with out a dog”

  5. I am so sorry for your loss Beth, I have gone through it myself and it is not easy.

  6. So beautifully written Beth. I’m crying with you, for you, for all the pet people who must go through this and will again.

  7. It’s been 5 years and I still miss Cheyenne. It never goes away. I’ve just learned to live with the pain.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss Beth. My cat, Joshua, is one of my oldest friends (he’s 20 this year.) I got him as a 2 yr-old from the Kingston Humane Society in 92 (back when I we were still shooting the Top 10 Country video show 😉 Reading about Barley… well I’m bawling knowing that this end is inevitable …even for the best of friends and family. It’s heartbreaking and I wouldn’t trust anyone who couldn’t understand that attachment and profound love either.

  9. I read some of it but did not want to cry any more so I stopped. Very heartwarming Beth.

  10. Hey Beth, sorry to hear about your loss. Poor guy is running free in heaven with my dog Dallas. Dallas grew up with my son and were best friend’s . He was almost 14 when we believe he had a heart attack in his favourite spot in the back yard. We had him cremated and he’s with us everyday.
    Take Care Beth and family… days get better


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