I'm sitting here watching TV tonight, Barney is lying beside my chair. I look down and He raises His head and looks up at me. I see the silver on His muzzle, the slight hollows beneath His eyes and when He stands up, I see the limp that he now has.

It's too soon ! Turn back the clock ! Not "my Barney "! This is what my heart is saying, but my mind kicks in, the little voice of logic that doesn't help the pain . Barney is a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, weighing 90 lbs. I know that the larger the dog, the shorter the life span. When Barney was about 1 year old, he was put on medication for allergies. I knew that the medication could shorten his life, but I couldn't see him in misery for the rest of His life: "Quality not Quantity".

Now my decision is coming home to roost, no guilt, but sadness. My mind wanders, I forget the T.V, I remember seven years ago, one evening at the Elks Lodge here in Gainesville. The Lodge was having a social function, proceeds to be give to The Florida State Crippled Children's Hospital. Items were auctioned off, and Barney was one of these items. There he was, a 10 week old puppy, upset and frightened by all the noise.

I knew that there was a dog there, and I went to look. I picked Him up and immediately He stopped crying, settled down and went to sleep. I had been "hooked", but now someone had to "reel" me in ! My Husband saw me with the dog, and then I noticed that he was talking to several fellow Elks. I found out later that he had asked them to let only him bid on the dog, because he wanted to give Him to me. Well, the rest of the story is that I went home with Barney.

"My" Barney and I went to obedience school and won top honors over several dogs. He had one failing, He wouldn't let me out of His sight. When I put Him on a "long down" and walked out of the room, He followed. The trainer that I used, Toni Thompson, (excellent!), tried everything but I had to stay where Barney could see me. "My Barney" has always been my dog since I picked Him up that first night.

A very close girlfriend just stopped in. Barney has known her all his life. Besides, she's a woman and has nothing to fear. Barney starts toward her for a petting, and stops in mid-stride, turns around and looks at me as if to ask, "Is it OK if I go over there ?" "Will you be here when I get back?" This is normal behavior.

I have another dog. A Great Pyrenees that I am very proud to take to the several nursing homes here in Gainesville as a "Pet Therapy" dog, but…He's not "My Barney". The day will come when the world will be a little darker. "My Barney" will be gone.

I will miss Him!!!

"My Barney" went to sleep 2/27/92-"Osteosarcoma"-Prognosis not good-No one had ever hurt "My Barney" before, and no one was going to hurt him now!

I was with "My Barney"- I was the last one that Held Him, I was the one that kissed Him on the nose!

"Barney - I have not disgraced the love that you had for me, I have passed it on to others, so that they may experience the same "joy " that you brought to me !"

Pam Croy

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