Friday, February 23, 2018

What a Difference 7 Years Makes

In January, Barley and I celebrated 7 years together. When I wrote her adoption day letter, it felt like I'd already said everything I could possibly say to her about what she means to me.  Then my Facebook memories reminded me that this week is the 7 year anniversary of Barley's xylitol poisoning. I'd had Barley for a month and a half when she took sugar-free gum out of my purse and I had to rush her to the vet.

Barley's very first picture.

When I think about what my life was like on that day, it's almost unrecognizable.

Seven years ago, I had never visited any of the parks near us. I'd never been to the Geneva State Park. I'd never been to the Holden Arboretum. I'd never walked on a single Ohio trail.

I had no idea how beautiful the area I'd been living in for 8 months was. I had no idea that there were rivers, waterfalls, and forests all within a thirty minute drive. I'd only really driven by the lake or visited restaurants overlooking it. 

Seven years ago, the only time I ever spent in the snow was cleaning off my car so I could drive to work. I'd never taken a walk in the snow. I'd never played in the snow. If there was snow, I was inside and that was it.

Seven years ago, we'd never met with a dog trainer. I didn't think average family dogs went to trainers. That was something for show dogs or police dogs. I never even considered doing agility--in fact, I don't think I even realized it was something just anyone could do, especially someone with a shelter dog.

I'd definitely never thought of noseworks. 

Seven years ago, she couldn't do this.

Seven years ago, I'd given my whole heart to a dog that I'd only known for a few weeks and I thought I was going to lose her. Thanks to Good Morning America providing me the knowledge that eating sugar-free gum was a veterinary emergency and our vet's quick action, Barley was back at home the same day and back to her normal wild self in no time with only a few follow-up tests. 

Every day since then, she has made my world a better place and she's made me a better person. She's taught me how to love the world I live in. She's given me the confidence to explore new places. She's introduced me to the wonderful world of dog training and all of the amazing people that come with it.  

Seven years ago, one moment could have ended our story before it even really started. This dog has given me so much and every day I'm grateful for that. I love you more than zombies love brains, baby girl. Here's to many more years of growing together.


  1. Aw, I'm glad that everything worked out! Can't imagine life without that girl! And it's so true...dogs make a town feel like home :)

    1. She can't imagine life without Aunt L, either! Now that runners are back outside, she's been looking for you every time one goes by.

  2. Dogs change a human's life forever. So happy you two are still here and together...also with your newer addition. Cheers to many more great adventures.

    1. Yes--Barley still has lots and lots of things to teach Rye, so I'm glad we're all together, too!

  3. She gave you quite a scare there, but I think both of your lives definitely got way better from there! Dogs really do enrich our lives in so many ways, and Barley's life with you is proof of that. ♥
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    1. Yes, our first few months together were a little rough--but things definitely got much better!