Hi to all of you who met him:

We have reached the end of the road and had to go home. When he came to me almost 3 1/2 years ago, little Barney had trouble getting up the two steps into the living room. For a month he dogged my steps to make sure I wouldn't disappear. Then he decided to move outside for good. The next two summers were truly golden. The Gluc. and SAMe seemed to put some spring into his little step, even though when running - which he certainly still did in bursts - he would use that inimitable three point support system: front legs independent, back legs acting as one. 

Wherever the two big kids or I were, he was somewhere close by, discreetly hidden along the sidelines. He was my Peachblossom, my Sunshine Boy, my Pumpkin, but above all: he was Zen. He learned to accept petting, but never pushed for it. He never demanded anything, just happily found a spot of sunshine, if it was spring or fall, or a cool spot in the shade during summer. I wish I could have his mindset towards life.
He decided to stay outside that first winter to my great dismay. So a plastic tarp tried to keep the worst of the wind away from the front porch, his chosen spot. A heat lamp was attached to the low railing and a heating pad served where a doormat would normally be. Besides that, I supported the doormat industry to the hilt. Where ever he had picked a spot, he got another mat. He loved rolling in the grass or in the snow. He looked gorgeous the one time I managed to get him to the groomer. 
Came the raccoon incident of fall 2008. He was outside with the big kids and against his normal tendency was wading right into the middle of the barkfest under that tree. Even though I chased as fast as slippered feet and long nighty would let me up that hill and through the brush, just as I got there Chinook charged - big time. Twice I had to wrestle him off the little guy and as we finally departed Tiva got her lick in, too. Now he was living downstairs with Astra in the big family room

and the large pen. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As temperatures that winter plummeted to minus 20 I simply blocked the doggie door so He couldn't decide to lie out there on the cold cement. I let them out twice a night and when it warmed up he had discovered that this wasn't half bad: always dry, temps around 40, a nice rug to sleep on, and never hot in summer. 

We tried a few little walks last summer, but just a short ways outside the gate his hind legs would start buckling. So he now lived in his nursing home. Lying at the bottom of the steps he could see me go by often. He took to sleeping a lot. there was always company - at first Astra and later Luke at least at night.  His eyes got cloudier, but around feeding time he would still let go with that little seal bark of his. Sometimes for an hour or more. 
Since he no longer managed to get traction on the linoleum I dragged most of my area rugs downstairs so he would have a nice, cushy pathway to the doggie door.

He still ate his dinner last night, but when I brought Luke down with the night treat my little blond boy was standing there, shaking. He had obviously lost control of his bladder - the pup that never ever made a mess inside. So this morning I called my vet. The headstrong little boy even managed one last trip outside though that doggie door with the big step in it. When Dennis inserted the needle he started fighting one last time.

He was a trouper, a treasure, a gift. I will miss his little bark. Goodbye my darling little guy. Luke will be looking for you I am sure. I was not able to have him with us as we sent Barney on his journey. 

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