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 In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best way to deal with things, I became very isolated and withdrawn.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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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