Black & White Sunday: Remembering Barlow

Barlow Scan EDIT

Today was the Ten Year Anniversary of my beautiful boy Barlow’s big sleep. He died at the young age of Eight from cancer of the liver, his life was only very short but I like to think he had a jolly old time with us while he was here. We certainly had the best time with him. Barlow was the gentle giant that saved my life.

I used to be scared of dogs (I can hardly believe that now!) but when I was 15 I had what was then called, a ‘nervous breakdown’ and I left school before finishing any of my GCSE’s (exams) due to a loophole in the law. In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best way to deal with things, I became very isolated and withdrawn. Things were a bit grim, but for my 16th birthday mum and dad decided my present that year should be a dog-shaped best friend. They hoped, but didn’t know then, what an important decision that was.

I remember the day we went to pick out our little bundle of fluff, they were so tiny, all these little black and yellow bundles wriggling around. I think they were only a week or two old, so there really wasn’t much to distinguish between any of them. My sister set up the viewing, they were an unwanted litter by the dog of a friend of hers from work. When we got there, the pups, being so small were obviously with their mum and we were told that ‘dad’ was a White German Shepard who we couldn’t meet because he was so aggressive. We picked our pups, handed over £50 and left (yes I AM aware of how horrifying this sounds now that we have better awareness of the way that things SHOULD be done).

Barlow and Casper

A few weeks later (and it really was only a few weeks, on the back of these photographs I have written that Casper and Barlow were Five weeks old when these images were taken!! … I hope I got that wrong!) my sister brought around the pups that we had picked out to share our lives with. I had actually chosen Casper when we went to meet them. I liked him because he was the very smallest there (he was the ‘runt’ but that didn’t bother me) and my sister had chosen Barlow, because he was the biggest! However, when I sat on the kitchen floor that day, it wasn’t Casper that came to me when I called. Barlow climbed right up into my knee and promptly fell asleep. Every time I put him down, he cried and came right back. I like to think that Barlow was picking me, that day.

Barlow shadow

As Barlow grew and grew, I got better and better. He game me a reason to smile again. He was my thing to get out of bed for.
He also ended up being HUGE so dogs didn’t bother me anymore! My little, big, gentle giant.
By September that year I was ready to continue my education, I enrolled in college and it was fine because after every day, no matter how tough it was I got to come home to him. I’d tell him all about it and he would listen, really listen… after giving me a full body-blow and knocking me over in excitement that I was home, of course.

Barlow toys

Barlow was a real character, with bags of energy. The same dog that destroyed a lawnmower (he was a little upset that dad had gone out that day) also carried an injured chick inside after it had fallen from a tree.
The same dog that laid over my dad when he passed out on one of their humongous walks, to protect him; also used beat me in a race to get out of the way if there was a bug in sight.

Barlow scan C

I’ve so many fantastic memories of my gorgeous boy and so much to thank him for. After Ten years I still miss him so very much, but I remember him with a smile on my face and I think he would do the same. That’s what makes it all worth it, isn’t it?

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”― Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Oh, one last thing; these photographs are scans of very old pictures so please excuse the quality. I often wish Barlow was around in this digital age, if for no other reason than I would have a TON more pictures of him.

THIS IS A BLOG HOP! Black and White Sunday is lovingly hosted by Sugar and Nola

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47 thoughts on “Black & White Sunday: Remembering Barlow

  1. Oh what a beautiful boy barlow was..i too had shepherds as teen gentle giants Chief and Caesar. My sister lost her shepherd Jerry Lee a few years ago and now her White Shepherd Ski has a motor neurone disease…he also is a gentle goofball..we lost our Rottie Eich at 8 from Liver failure and it’s a heart breaking thing..Barlow will always be remembered and loved by you and I agree if only digital was around when they were….luckily the images in our mind and hearts are the important ones 🙂 Big hugs Fozziemum xxx

    • thank Fozziemum, you’re so right. The memories we have are worth more than photographs anytime. I am so sorry to hear about your sister’s dog lovely and I hope he isn’t suffering too much! Giant Gentle Goofballs is definitely what they should be called. I think everybody should love a GSD at some point, I’ve got a soft spot for Rotties too! I’m sad to hear that Eich was taken from you when he was so young also. It’s just not fair is it? All we can do is make sure that the time they do have is as happy as can be!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

      • Ski is in no pain luckily but poor darling his legs go on him…he is such as sweet pup too and it breaks my sisters heart because he is still mentally really happy..she has had a gate put into their back fence so he can go with her directly into the park behind them as she had to stop taking him the long way for fear his legs would go and she would not be able to get him home..so he is so happy he can just go with her straight in..and yes Eich was a beautiful Rottie..it was very quick and we miss him terribly…and true all we can do is love them while we have them and give them the best life..they do break our hearts no matter what age we lose them..hugs and loves Fozziemum xxx

      • You’re so right! There’s never a time when it would be easier is there?
        Oh gosh, I am pleased that he is happy and not in any pain… that’s something, but I really feel for your poor sister. I hope she is getting lots of photos! Memories ARE the best, but having both if you can is brilliant.
        It was very quick when Barlow went too, and I am thankful for that… big squeezes, Carrie xXx

      • She is getting lots of pics..he’s such a sweet heart 🙂 we had no idea Eich was sick until the day before we had to say goodbye…thankfully it was quick big hugs to you too Carrie 🙂 we do love our babies Bev xxxx ❤ <#

  2. Oh Carrie your story of Barlow is so touching! I can so relate to a dog helping a person get over something serious.
    When I was 18 I had a mental breakdown of sorts & became agorphobic; was terrified to leave the apartment. My hubby was only 19 & worked alot so I was home alone…..
    A few months into my breakdown hubby was out on a tow truck call & an English Foxhound jumped into his truck….he brought REBECCA home & I really liked her. We did go to the town she came with her & found out she was abandoned at the house she had lived in for her first 5 years of life. She had travlled almost 8 MILES to get from Burlington to Stoney Creek & by chance (or was it) she found an open tow truck door & came to us.
    Of course she had to be walked at least twice a day….hubby worked 12 hours a day; sometimes more. You guessed it!!! I had to take Rebecca out & slowly I was able to walk down the block; then around the block; then to the park…..she gave me my Life back!!!
    She was only 9 when we had to help her to summerland as she had Stomach Cancer. I still have my pix of her & I remember her with such love & gratitude….she changed my life!!!
    Thank you for sharing your story of Barlow with us. He was a handsome Shepherd & obviously a very very intelligent canine!
    Maybe he & Reecca are playing tofether in Summerland… 🙂
    Sincerely, Sherri-Ellen xo

    • Oh, Sherri-Ellen! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Aww, I don’t believe that it was by chance Rebecca jumped into that truck. You two girls needed each other, a truly magical rescue story! I am so sorry to hear, though, that you suffered too. I’m starting to learn though that there are really so many of us out there, I hope others too have been lucky like us and had a Rebecca or a Barlow to help them along.
      Dogs are just pure love (I’m pretty sure cats are too Nylablue, if you’re reading) and the fact that she needed to be out and about is much the same as with Barlow and I, you HAVE to do it no matter how difficult. I’m so sorry that she was taken from you when she too was only young, but you’re right we have our memories and they are the important things. i suppose we can show our gratitude to them by just keeping on, keeping on!
      I’d really like to think the pair of them are playing together in Summerland! (and I’ve never heard that before, so lovely).
      Thank so much, huge hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

  3. I have a huge lump in my throat and tears threatening to fall. Our first dog was Madison, a gorgeous German Shepherd. I think of her every day and my love for her continues to fill my heart. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    • Thanks so much Melissa. Madison is a lovely name, I can see it suiting a Shepard down to the ground. Such special dogs! I’m sorry for your loss, but you’re right; our love for them stays forever!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

  4. What a beautiful tribute!!! I think this is exactly what our dearly departed dogs want us to do: to carry the wonderful memories of them in our hearts! ❤

    • Thanks so much Jessica. You’re so right! That’s what I think they would want too, and I think they wouldn’t want us to be sad.. at least not for very long!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

    • Thank you so much Marty’s Mom. I will always be so grateful for the time that we did have, the love lasts for longer than just the time they are here!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

    • Thank you so much, Easy. I so wish they could live forever, at least our love for them does. They may be gone, but never, ever forgotten!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x

  5. Hi Carrie: I agree that those dogs were put in our lives to help us & not by chance either!
    I believe Barlow & Rebecca came into our lives when we needed them the most. They did their job & then it was time to leave albeit prematurely in age…
    I had a new dog the next day! A friend of my hubby’s had a wild Husky/Shepherd named Sam (became Bogart Sam) that we rescued because the owner was going to have Sam put to sleep!! So we had him for almost 2 years. The marriage dissolved & I had to rehome Bogart Sam & he did find a loving forever home. I have not had a dog since 1979 tho’, It hurt so much to have to give Bogart Sam away I thought I would die (I know it sounds dramatic).
    I did care for dogs of friends tho to fill that hole.
    Mingflower b4 NB gave me so much love & now Nylablue has carried on that tradition. I would not be w/out a beloved 4 legged….
    There are many of us with *issues* & I have found the 4 leggeds give unconditional love & do not argue with us (except for Nylablue who loves to argue) LOL. AND 4 leggeds bring like-minded people together also 😉
    4 leggeds ROCK!
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue too ❤ ❤

    • Haha, you’re so right 4-leggeds of whatever type do ROCK in so many ways, and I think I am grateful to Myfie, Ellie and Millie this time around for introducing me to those like-,minded people… for the record, Millie argues with me, too!
      Bogart Sam sounds adorable, and no, it doesn’t sound dramatic only a person that hasn’t been loved by a furry could think that! but I am so pleased you did brave through and fill that 4-legged shaped hole… life without them would be unthinkable!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Mille) x<3x

  6. You are right Carrie about 4 leggeds.
    LOL Millie argues with you too?? Too funny….maybe Shih Tzus’ & Birman/Siamese cats are related??
    Nylablue loves to have an argument….
    She is like that Monty Python bloke you says, “I’ve come here for an arguement!”
    She eeoows & I retort 7 this goes on for a couple of minutes & then she levels me with those Birman blue eyes & i crack up laughing…..I don’t think I actually ever won an argument with her 😉
    Life w/out a 4 legged or 2 or 3 or many would be dull indeed.
    Sherri-Ellen xo

    • Oh yes! Millie is VERY vocal, lol. You know I have always thought that Shih Tzu’s have a little cat mixed in with them somewhere… now I know it’s true and even what type!
      Haha Nylablue sounds like she has to have the last word, always. Such a little character! We wouldn’t change their ways for the world would we?
      Which of us are the lucky ones? 🙂
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

    • Thank you dear Misaki! it really is such a shame, but perhaps that’s part of what makes them that little bit more special?
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

  7. Barlow sounds like a truly wonderful and amazing friend, companion, protector, playmate and so much more. So glad to read about him and get to know a bit more about both of you. I’m so glad he was with you and able to help so much with you and your family and be such a vital family member. I love these old photos and think they have a charm and beauty of their own that suits him so well. He and Casper are so adorable as small puppies and it’s great to see him grow up as such a happy and handsome fellow. That’s so sweet how he chose you and came to you as a puppy.

    Really enjoyed reading this touching tribute to such a gentle and sweet soul.

    • Thanks so much, Bill (and Charley ofc). He really was all of those things and I am so grateful you took the time to read through my special memories of him. He has a lot to answer for that boy… just look at how dog-mad I am now and it all started with him!
      Casper was a sweetheart too, but he was a little on the crazy side – Barlow was faaar too laid back for that nonsense!
      I think you are right, the pictures being as they are kind of show a sense of time passing so thank you I hadn’t really thought about it till you said that!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

  8. You are right Carrie! I adore Nylablue just as she is! Bossy & saucy!!
    I always thought Shih Tzus’ were part feline also, hahahaa!
    They sure are similar in personality & I can tell you the Shih Tzus around here love Nylablue….
    In our case Nylablue & I are BOTH the lucky ones! She got a new lease on life as she was about to be put to sleep at barely 5 years old & I got a new best friend after having to say Goodbye to my Mingflower who was 18 1/2 yrs old. So we both are lucky here 😉
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue too ❤ ❤

    • Haha! ‘bossy and saucy’ I love that!
      You may have given me an idea actually, perhaps Millie thinks she IS a cat! She certainly treats me like a minion, y’know she has that uppity thing going on and this could well be why she is uncertain around other dogs! Oh my word, she’s channeling Nylablue!
      I concur! You both are very lucky indeed! ❤ ❤

  9. Bossy n saucy is the ONLY way to describe Nylablue! She wakes me up between 6-6:30 am for first breakfast…today she did that & then came back at 8:30 a.m. for 2nd brekkie….I got up & fed her more & went back to bed as I am in bone disease flare-up so in pain…i got up at 11 a.m. on my own & guess who was sitting on kitchen mat meowing for tuna??
    LOL I think Millie & Nylablue are definitely related!!
    Funny 4 leggeds!!! 🙂
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue

    • Hahaha that little MONKEY! I bet she just knows she can wrap you around her little paw too! Again, much like Millie!
      Yep… separated at birth, those two!
      Hugs, Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

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