On January 3, Barley and I celebrated 5 years of being in each other's lives. I've been trying to figure out what to say in my post celebrating us for a couple weeks now, but it's hard to find the words. But I realized that if I don't write something now, I'll never get around to it and I can't let a year pass without reflecting on what my Barley girl means to me.
Barley loves me, tests my patience, breaks my heart, makes me laugh, makes me proud, surprises me, and challenges me. She is everything I have ever wanted in a dog and everything I've never wanted a dog to be. Our life together is a series of contradictions that confuse me and amuse me.
Before I discovered blogging, I discovered Jon Katz's A Dog Year--first the movie, then the book. This story of Katz's first border collie let me know I wasn't alone in living with a strong-willed, intelligent, goofy, reactive border collie. Towards the end of A Dog Year, Katz wrote, "Life with him is a curious mix of love and fun and an intellectual combat that never entirely ends." That very much describes my life with Barley.
But she's even more than that. She's helped me fall in love with northeast Ohio and with adventuring in the great outdoors. She's been my friend when I was new in town and didn't know anyone. She's introduced me to wonderful dog-loving people through our training center and through the blog. She's been my family when my family moved 13 hours away. She is always up for whatever I need--whether that's a long winter afternoon nap or a long walk by the lake. Emily Dickinson described her Newfoundland Carlo as her "mute confederate" and that is Barley, too.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I brought Barley home, but every day is an adventure and I wouldn't want to be on it with anyone else but her.
I love you more than zombies love brains, Baby Girl. Here's to many more years of contradicting ourselves--"[we] are large, [we] contain multitudes."