The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12- Pound Pup

The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12 Pound Pup

I have been missing from Channelling Dolly for a few months. Ironically the last post up was entitled “Find Joy Where You Are”. Then all hell broke loose. One of the most important things in my world was tragically lost and honestly finding joy anywhere since my precious Barkley first got sick in August has been extremely difficult. October 10th was the last day I was able to kiss his pretty face and it has taken me to now to muster up the strength to tell our story and the most important lessons in life I learned from my 12-pound pup. As hard as it is to write this our love story of a puppy, mama and papa deserve it. Though it is not the usual happy, sparkly content I enjoy here on Channelling Dolly it is life. And sometimes the sparkly times fade. 

My husband and I never had children, well a human one that is. We were married for five years and then in 2004 Barkley came into our lives. I had been dealing with some medical issues and had become very depressed while switching doctors trying to find a correct diagnoses for an entire year. At this point I convinced my husband Gabriel that a fur child was the one thing that would help me. And boy did it help! On August 8, 2004 after searching pet adoption agencies for two days I saw the most spectacular ears I have ever seen peeking out of a cage at the SPCA in Houston. At that moment we knew our family was complete. Barkley would be our child.



Lesson One-A Fur Child Can Be As Important in Your Life as a Human One

Some may say that a dog can not be a child equivalent. To those I say I respectfully disagree. Barkley’s soul was so huge and his love surpasses his life here on Earth (more on that later).  Through working with Bark we taught him how to let us know when he was hungry, sick, tired, wanted attention, wanted to get dressed into one of his many outfits.  Some things we taught him, like hitting the door stopper when he wanted attention ended up biting us in the butt. Turns out you can not sleep through that! That little boy filled any void in our family with his compassionate looks and constant desire to snuggle in a warm blanket. Or in Barkley terminology a “warmie”. 

Lesson Two-Always Trust Your Intuition

If you do not believe in intuition then you may want to scroll on down to number three. For those of you who are open to that side of things your intuition is so important in good times and bad. Trust in it always. The weekend we found Barkley I knew in my heart that my baby was out there. Saturday we got up and went to the Houston SPCA and many others and didn’t click with any of the pups. Sunday we got up again and searched. We went around for hours and still no connections. Finally something told us to stop by the SPCA one more time. This time was different though. The ears that I told you about were visible twenty feet away. We knew then our intuition paid off and kept us looking until the perfect match was made. 

For months before Bark’s passing I began having the most horrific dreams. I had reoccurring dreams that a devil looking creature was running into my window and stealing Bark as I screamed. If you do not believe in dreams and premonitions again this isn’t for you but I have no choice but too as they plague my life. But these were the worst ever as this was the most special baby boy to me ever. 

Some of the intuitive moments with Barkley weren’t so lovely but they were life saving. Once we were in an accident and Barkley had been sitting on the front seat with my father. This particular night my intuition told me to get Barkley with me in the back as my dad and husband were in the front. Two blocks from an intersection I grabbed him and held him tight. At the intersection we were in a wreck with a drunk driver who ran a red light. 

The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12 Pound Pup

Lesson Three-The Simplest Things Can Lead to the Happiest Times 

Whether it be a moment of sitting on the warm grass or a taste of cheese Barkley found so much happiness in the simple joys of life. There is something to be said for that in this day and age where things seem to make us so happy. Barkley didn’t need to have the fanciest car. He was just happy having a window to roll down so the wind could hit his face through the tiny opening that his paranoid mom would allow him to stick out of. Nothing and I mean nothing made him happier than freshly cooked chickie (chicken breast) and softie (his fluffy blanket).  And really who can’t get behind a full belly covered in a soft blanket?!

Lesson Four-You Never Know How Big Your Support is Until You are Down

From the end of August until October the 10th Barkley was sick. He had diabetes for many years that we managed to control very well. Unfortunately during what was to be our fun filled adoption anniversary trip to Austin with our boy he suffered a horrendous seizure. Long story short we ended up having to admit him into the pet hospital for over 9 days total. He had three more episodes with seizures and in the end after getting a second opinion the likely cause was a brain tumor. After spending over $15,000 to try to save him he had another horrible seizure which turned into multiple ones and we had to let him go.  

During this time the outpouring of support was so great. From my parents staying at my house so we could go to work while Bark was sick to my dearest friends stopping by with food when he passed and making us a beautiful memorial stone for the yard the support was incredible. So many people gave to Bark’s go fund me account, even though I absolutely hated having to ask.  My work family cried with me for days and my friends and family called to check on me constantly. In this time I learned that when you are truly at your lowest you learn how big your support system is. 

The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12 Pound Pup

Lesson Five-Sometimes you Have to Give up Everything to Help Those You Love 

Barkley taught me the biggest lesson of all in what exactly I would be willing to put myself through to help him. I never had a doubt I would find a way to get his medical treatment even though it meant taking out a substantial loan that will take many years to pay off. Never in 14 years though did I ever think I would have to make a decision to stop his suffering. He was my best friend. My constant companion and little shadow. How could I say what day was his to leave? Wasn’t that God’s job not mine? At 5:30 on October the 10th it became glaringly clear that our baby boy was not going to get better. At that point we had to make the choice to let our Barkley go.

I must admit that after a month and a half of therapy I am still having so many days of sadness that it came down to that. However, for Barkley I knew that we had to be strong enough to let him go as he was in more and more pain. For him we had to be strong enough to say bye to our little family. Bye to all of the smiles that he brought and bye to living in a house with his beautiful energy. Well actually the energy still continues in another form….on to that! 

The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12 Pound Pup

Lesson Six-Love Never Dies 

If you left me during the intuition portion of this post you may leave me again. Still with me? Ok this is where our love story gets even better because it didn’t end when Bark’s earthly life did. Our boy was so strong during his life and he sure is showing up to make sure he still brings us strength still to this day. 

How is that even possible you may ask? Well Barkley was always quick to follow my instructions. As he was sick I always told him how much I loved him. At the end I told him that it was ok for him to leave me because he was too ill to stay. I told him he needed to come back to visit me because I would miss him too much.

Have I mentioned that Barkley was well trained? Well he surely listened to his mama this time! Since his passing he has come back to us too many times to count! The night after we lost him Gabe and I both felt he was giving us signs that we made the only choice we could. We felt he was trying to comfort us. After we realized we had both been given the same signs I must admit we felt crazy. I asked God for a sign that we would know it was Barkley. We turned on the television to see an interview with Charles Barkley, our favorite NBA player that we named our boy after.

Since that night we have had light bulbs pop when having conversations about him. We’ve heard faint barks, felt him laying by us and had a dragonfly buzzing over his picture in our hallway. All of these beautiful moments have proven to me even more than I have ever known that love never dies. It may change with the loss of being able to physically see them but your loved ones still surround you. 

The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12 Pound Pup

In closing…

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are going through a difficult time. So many people are willing to help and just don’t know how to approach the subject. Gabe and I have also been going to grief counseling which has been so helpful. I also found some solace in Sheryl Sandberg’s book Option B

May you all find a love in your life that transcends space and time! Thank you for reading the journey of mine. 

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8 thoughts on “The Most Important Lessons in Life I Learned from my 12- Pound Pup”

  1. Love this – thank you for sharing your heart! Barkley had such a wonderful and full life because of you two.

    I’m so happy I met you and Gabe. You’ve enriched my life and I know that was not by chance.

  2. Love this and glad that you are able to share your story. Seeing first hand we know he was your one and only baby! We too miss Bark very much! ❤️

  3. Can you link the go fund me?

    I’m am so very sorry to hear of your great loss. I too, have had only fur-child and know how much they mean to us. I am still mourning the passing of my last dog who has been gone for years now – and can not find it in me to “replace” her – she can’t be replaced!!

    I visit the neighbors’ dogs when I need to ruffle their furry heads (or bellies) and take some comfort in that.

    I believe in “intuition” and that we humans do not know and are not aware of the edge to the “supernatural” – just beyond our normal senses…

    Barkley is there. Just as my sweet Gypsy. They wait for us to join them. My dad must be surround by dogs – he had well over a dozen of them!!

    1. Hi Karl! Thank you so much! It’s so hard! Those little fur babies become our lives. Bark’s gofundme was https://www.gofundme.com/tdzmx-help-for-barkley

      I understand how you can’t move on from Gypsy. They can not simply be replaced by getting another. They have souls just like ours and not all are the same fit with us.

      I’ve just read really good book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” that my therapist recommended and it is very insightful about intuition and that realm. You would probably enjoy it.

      Hopefully your dad is watching over Bark as well until I can be back with him!

      Take care my friend! Thanks so much for checking in! I’ve been a horrible blog friend the past several months!!

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