Monday, January 5, 2015

A (Belated) Love Letter to my Dog


Dear Barley,

On Saturday, we celebrated four years together. A few days earlier, I read a quotation from Suzanne Clothier: "Being realistic about what a dog can and cannot do is an act of love." Of all the tens of articles and books I've read since bringing you home, nothing rings as true as this does.

I'm very aware of the things you cannot do. You cannot visit dog parks. You cannot go to an agility trial. You cannot be off-leash on trails or even in the yard in case a dog or child attracts your attention. You cannot be the dog I thought I was bringing home.

But that's ok.

I love you for all of the many, many things you can do.

You can turn grey, gloomy days into peaceful strolls along the lake.


You can run faster than a speeding bullet to greet me--even if we've only been apart long enough for me to refill my coffee cup.


You can fit into the tiniest beds and turn random objects--like my duffel bag--into beds.



You can entertain yourself with toys and make me laugh.


You can be the most patient model in the universe. Even if I insist on taking many variations on the same picture.



You can help me find beauty all across the country as we explore different parks and trails.


 

You can make me believe that snow is fun.


You can herd scarecrow sheep better than anyone.


You can melt my heart with your love for your brother (even if you take my spot in bed to be closer to him).



From the moment I brought you home, my life changed. Those changes haven't always been easy, but I can't remember what my life was like before you. You've brought new levels of mischief and love and joy and fun into my life. I love you, my sweet Barley. Happy belated adoption day, baby girl!



20 comments:

  1. Happy Gotcha Day, Barley!!! <3 I love the photos!! The one with the moose is hilarious!! Also, my girls do the same thing with the kitty beds!! :D

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    1. I can't help but smile when I see the cat curled up in a tiny ball on one of Barley's huge beds and Barley overflowing a tiny cat bed :)

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  2. I relate to this so much! When I adopted Ruby, I wanted that dog I could take everywhere, from the dog park to the farmers market. Once her extreme reactivity surfaced, I realized that she was not going to be that dog. I was disappointed for a while, until I started my blog, started trick training, and started appreciating Ruby for the brilliant, sensitive girl she is. She has taught me more in a year and a half than I ever learned in thirty years with other dogs. I love that Suzanne Clothier quote, and I'm so happy that you and Barley have found your groove together.

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    1. I'm glad you and Ruby found your groove, too! I always say that I loved Barley from the moment I met her, but I didn't always like her until I started working with our first trainer 6 months into our relationship; then I really learned to appreciate her for the dog she is instead of the dog she isn't and in a few short years we've formed a relationship completely different from the ones I've had with any other dog!

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  3. Aw! What a wonderful letter! So happy you two found each other <3

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    1. Thank you! I'm happy we found each other, too!

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  4. Barley what a cutie you are! Please thank your Mom for visiting my blog cause guess what? I have just signed up to follow yours! Hope you will follow me too www.dakotasden.net Mom and I LOVED that letter! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

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  5. What a heartwarming tribute! And reminder not to over expect certain behaviors (dance shoes are just too enticing to ignore) I love that post so much. Barley is made to run, to herd, to chase but she also knows how to rest, find love and enjoy comfort. Now that kind of balance is something to aspire to as a human!!!
    Love, LeeAnna and Cole at not afraid of color

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    1. I often try to take lessons from her! She just gets so much joy out of life that it's hard not to be inspired by her.

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  6. What a lovely tribute to Barley. Having a border collie can be challenging, especially when the herding takes over--how well I know! But, like you, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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    1. She definitely adds a lot more spice to life--as I'm sure Sage does, too! I can't remember what it was like to go through life without being herded ;)

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  7. Awww that is just lovely,xx Speedy and Rachel

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  8. What a sweet post. Happy belated Adoption Day.

    It's funny how quickly they can change our lives. Despite some of the things my dogs can't do, I wouldn't trade them for anything!

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    1. I feel the same way! Even when Barley is at her naughtiest, I can't imagine my life without that excitement ;)

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  9. What a sweet and loving tribute. Mr. N is not the type of dog I thought I wanted (total lap dog) but he has become the dog I want (well most of him anyway, I tell him he's 98 percent perfect).

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    1. I thought I wanted I cat-like dog that would be content to snuggle up with me and Soth and a good book--and Barley is occasionally that dog--but I've really come to love the dog that has gotten me up off the couch, even if it does mean the stack of books I keep meaning to read doesn't get any lower!

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  10. Aw, this makes me smile! Y'all have gone through so much together and it's incredible to see how much she's grown :-)

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    1. She really has turned into a pretty good pup, hasn't she? :)

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