Back Where He Belongs – With Us

January 21, 2010

It’s a week today (Thursday) since we lost Barney. It’s been one of the toughest weeks we’ve ever faced as a family, it’s been horrible. We cry every day and life is very different.

Barney was such a happy, bouncy, bright dog. He had a special presence and he lit up a room. He seemed to touch everyone he came into contact with. People have been devastated at the news of his passing. It brings us some comfort to know how much he was loved by others too. The messages, cards, flowers and a special gift to name a star after him have been very much appreciated.

The house feels very empty. It lacks life. There seems to be too much space now and we’re not liking it. I moved here in January 2001 with Barney; this was prior to Matt moving to Peterborough, so Barney and I have never been apart. It’s a big adjustment and it’s going to take a long time to come to terms that he has gone.

Today was a very emotional day. Barney had his final journey. Fortunately, that journey was with us, his Mummy and Daddy. Matt and I travelled to Northampton, to PCS (Pet Cremation Services) as we’d arranged for his cremation at 11.30am. We wanted to be there, just to feel close and so he’d not feel alone. It also meant that we could bring him home the same day too; something we really wanted to do.

Whilst we waited, we visited the chapel of rest. We chose not to see Barney, we felt that the memories we have of when we last saw him were calm and pleasant. We want to keep those memories. In the chapel of rest, we created a page in a Book Of Condolence for Barney. We added three beautiful pictures of him in the snow, and wrote a message each and also one from Luke. That was really hard to do but will remain a lasting tribute for others who visit there to see how gorgeous he was and how much love his family had (and still have) for him.

We chose his casket for his ashes and also ordered a “Pawstone”. This is a kind of headstone for dogs and cats, and can be set into stone, laid on grass or put on a wall etc. It’ll have a plaque which will have his name on and a personal message from us. We plan to choose a flowering plant with a special meaning for the garden and make a pretty corner which is dedicated to Barney. There he will have his Pawstone, his special plants and we want to have an acrylic block with his picture made to add there too. It’ll be his memorial in the garden.

Inside the house, his ashes will remain. We don’t want to bury them. We want him in the house with us. He was always in here with us so we feel it’s appropriate now too. We’ve already printed 600 pictures of Barney and placed them all into albums and we have somewhere around another 600-1000 to go. I’m also getting everything together to make a scrapbook of his life. I want to do something extra special for him. He won’t be forgotten and we’re reminding Luke every day. He’s been quite affected by the loss of his big brother. 😦

We went home via the vets surgery today and asked to see the vet who we’d been seeing for 9 or 10 months now, Martin. We wanted to thank him for everything he had done for Barney. Without him, we would most likely have lost Barney several months ago, so we’re very grateful that because he was so vigilant and on the ball, we had an extra 8 months with our boy. I’ll be eternally grateful for that. Martin always did the best by Barney. He never made us feel silly when we kept going back and forth. No-one would have known what was going on inside him without the extensive tests he underwent. Barney was such a fit dog, overall, it was easy for him to fool even the best vet. He managed to fool me right up until a fortnight ago and that was purely just his breathing that gave it away.

Martin seemed to be devastated. He came down and told us that he was really sorry and said “that one hurt”. He meant that hearing about Barney hurt him too. It was nice he felt the same. I guess some dogs just hit the right spot and Barney seemed to with Martin. I think it’s simply because he was always so full of life, never complained or moaned no matter what needed to be done to him and he was just always so happy. I guess as with humans, you just ‘click’ better with some than others.

We’ve speculated between ourselves over the past week that the cancer that had taken over his body, stemmed from the oral melanoma that he was originally diagnosed with. I was a little upset that we’d not got onto the vaccine, but in this instance, it wouldn’t have saved Barney. The cancer he had was not melanoma and that’s what the vaccine protected against, so even if he’d had it, the tumour in his spleen and around his heart would still have metastasised. It’s very likely that when he had his oral surgery, that some cells had already made their way into his body and started growing slowly. They’d not have been picked up on an X-Ray, and most likely not even an MRI Scan, purely because they can only go 3mm deep or something like that (Martin tried to explain today about imaging and that it’s not always reliable). The X-Ray that Barney had in May was clear and so was the lymph node that was removed. I guess it was in very early stages and couldn’t be detected. The splenic tumour would not have shown up in any bloods that had been done as it’s one organ that can’t be detected through blood screening. Ironic. It shows why his bloods were always spot on and caused no worries. The mass in his spleen also couldn’t be palpated through his abdomen, funnily enough, because he was such a fit dog. He was very muscular and this would have hidden what was felt easily once he was sedated and everything was relaxed. Again, ironic. His own body hid the trauma that was going on inside, just because it was outwardly, so fit.

We thanked Martin and although we told him we won’t be seeing him again as we won’t be having another pet of any kind, we both agreed that we will miss him. He’s been quite a big part of all of our lives, on and off since May, and he is just such a likable, genuine person. I wish him all the luck in the world. He’s an asset to the Best Friends practice.

It’s hard to write this, but in a way, I feel I need to. Nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. Life has changed forever and the changes are so noticeable. Things feel ‘easy’, but not in a good way. Our routine feels wrong. The lack of walking, feeding, cleaning up, brushing, letting out, making sure there is always fresh water, a clean bed, and most of all, cuddles and kisses, are all missing. Things that have been part of a routine for 11 years has just stopped without warning. It’s a very difficult adjustment.

I know some people will think by now that we should be over it, he was just a dog, but to us, he wasn’t. He was a massive part of this family. A quarter of it to be exact. It’s a huge chunk to lose.

We love you Barney, and we miss you so much. We know you’re still here with us and will be forever in our hearts. Sleep well baby x x x x x


4 Responses to “Back Where He Belongs – With Us”

  1. Jaimee Butterfield said

    The memorial garden, scrapbook and photo albums are a lovely idea. You have so many wonderful memories to treasure to, Your right, he was always such a bright & energetic boy, so special. I’m glad he’s home where he belongs. Here to chat when you want to xxxx

  2. Sherry said

    What you are doing to remember him sounds lovely.

    I remember bringing my two home. It was so hard and I kept their ashes on the bookcase for a long time. I never intended to do so, it just felt right after Daisy died also. I wanted Bowie to be near to her but after she went also I felt they should be together again. Now they sit right by my computer on my desk. They both would sit happily by my feet while I was at my desk so it seems right. I don’t think I will ever scatter their ashes as I had intended to when I felt able. They were happily by my side for so long I don’t want to part with them now.

    I can understand you wanting to keep Barney’s ashes at home. And everything else. Thinking of you all.

  3. Sharon said

    I’m so moved by your powerful blog, I’ve read it twice and cried both times. I am going through exactly the same thing with Bailey now. We are at the vets on Wednesday but I no in my heart that it won’t be good news.
    I’ve booked a little studio in Devon as we have been camping there many times and Bailey loves the beaches and exploring the coastline. I want this weekend to be completely about him and for us to have some precious times together.
    I lost my other beautiful boy 4 years aged 9 as Bailey is to cancer of the spinal cord and yet again I am faced with feeling robbed. I’m scared of the pain I feel and for what I am about to face.
    As the years pass it is still painful as you say although I do get comfort from the special memories I had with Toby prior to having him put to sleep.
    Toby now sleeps under my bed which is where Bailey will sleep when it’s time as neither like being parted from me and nor do I from them. There is no right or wrong with this.
    Thank you for “sharing” Barney with us.


  4. Dawn Spooner said

    Martin is currently treating my dog Milo – Milo became ill in December 2011 with loss of appetite, sickness, jaundice, he was referred to Broadway Vet Hospital and met Martin who immediately admitted him as he liver blood readings were off the scale. Milo was not the best patient (he got very distressed and upset about being there and kept trying to hurt himself). 5 days in the vet hospital, numerous trips backwards and forward and 12 months of medication and my boy was well again ………….untill last month – whatever it is has returned, I got him to Martin as soon as i saw the signs but we were both shocked at how bad his blood readings were, again he was admitted for 5 days (and managed to redesign the buster collar as well as rip his drip feed out twice in 12 hrs!), but the medication wasnt working, so Martin spoke to a specialist who suggested before doing Biopsy/surgery that we try a different antibiotic which we did and for the first time in a month Milo began to put on weight (he’d lost nearly 4kg in weight), he continues to put on very all be it very minimally but is still jaundice which worries me. He’s going back to see Martin next Friday. The staff at BVH are lifesavers and I feel lucky to have found them as I know Milo is in the best hands. Martin has always been honest and open and understanding and has told me that Milo may not make this but we will keep fighting until such time as Martin feels that there is no hope. x

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