This Dog Has Changed My Life

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Today marks Barkley’s second anniversary with us. He is now about 3 and a half years old. Two years ago we walked into the Bonnie Hayes Small Animal Shelter in Hillsboro to look at the possibility of getting a cat, but fate obviously had other plans in store for us.

Today Barkley is pretty much an ideal pet. He’s mild mannered, attentive, trained and just plain fun. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs in the past, particularly right after we brought him home. He was shy and nervous, unsure of his place and how long we would be there to love him since obviously his previous owner did such a horrible job.

Yes, those were the days when we’d come home to find he’d ripped up the floor of his kennel, or tore holes in the sofa cushions. When he’d dig out my freshly planted garden, or catch squirrels, or bark unstoppably while left on the beach when we went out surfing.

Thankfully, he has out-grown those tendencies. His destructive behavior only ever surfaced when he was completely alone and his separation anxiety over-rode his natural, happy-go-lucky self. With the help of days and weeks of repetition where we always returned home to him, 3 sets of obedience classes at PetSmart, a wonderful tool called the KongTime, and a decent backyard for him to explore and protect, Barkley has finally found peace.

Now our days are filled with walks, bike rides, playing fetch, and a small fortune in vacuum bags filled with dog hair. But I can honestly say it is all worth it. Even my husband, who was against getting a dog in the first place, has fallen for Barkley’s big brown eyes and wagging tail (although he’s still unlikely to admit it).

Barkley has found a permanent place in our family, but I count myself as the lucky one.

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