There used to be a dog named Barley who was TRULY an angel. Barley the Angel lived a short but VERY good life. |
Barley was born sometime in 2009 and as per his paperwork his dad was a very well to do tech executive out of Redmond/Woodinville, WA. He lived a very good life with his previous dad but he passed away sometime around September 20th, 2016. His dad's family didn't keep Barley and left him at the Homeward Pet Shelter in Woodinville, WA.
The first evening Barley came to our house was on December 11th, 2016. He made himself at home right away. I vividly remember that day. Just earlier that day The Seahawks had lost BADLY to the Packers. And when Barley came to our house the Giants were beating the Cowboys. I clearly remember how Barley walked around the kitchen/living area and then suddenly..... One of us just happened to toss a doggy football in the air and Barley went CRAZY. He jumped several feet in the air at the speed of a bullet and caught it and retrieved it. We all played football with Barley for a while and what a brilliant receiver he was. He was so good he could have been a professional with the Seattle Seahawks. I clearly remember Barley wearing his light bluish/purple thunder-shirt that evening. He looked so so handsome.
Barley had a TREMENDOUS passion for food. He loved all sorts of food. From steaks to broccoli to lentils, food was Barley's passion. He would monitor my mom during the daytime when he was with her as she cooked. He followed her around the kitchen and to the grill outside making sure he was involved in every step of the cooking process. My mom became extremely fond of him and of course she would feed him lots of tidbits till lunch or dinner was officially served. I wish others could see the enthusiasm Barley had for food and how much he loved life and merrymaking. He loved food, he loved playing football, loved walking, and loved playing with toys. He also loved going on car rides. The moment Barley would hear someone grabbing a car key he would come running no matter what part of the house he was in begging to go for a ride. And we did take him out whenever we could.
After dinner I would sometimes play football with him. My favorite phrase to Barley was "Come on Come on Getttttt the balllll". I would say this several times in a loving way while putting on some thick gloves as the ball would be all wet from his saliva. He would go mad with excitement, find the ball from under the sofa or wherever it was and then we would play. He would often run away with the ball, put it by his water bowl, drink and then rest for a few minutes and then come back for the next round. Many times he would just bring the ball over himself and drop it in your hands suggesting that lets go play.
When Barley was with my mom during the day he would watch her all day as she would cook. He was involved with the whole process. Right from the point where the food was raw to it getting cooked over hrs and hrs. He would follow her around and he always knew somehow when food would be served. He could barely conceal his excitement.
I remember clearly on the morning of Friday April 7th. Barley seemed a little off. Even when Faraz called Barley he didn't come over. It was unusual but we thought maybe he was a little tired. That evening also Barley was completely off. He was not as interested in food, was breathing a little heavy and just seemed off and depressed. I even tried playing ball with him to change his mood. He played a little but after a few catches stopped playing. We went out to eat and he went with us as usual. He wasn't very interested in food. Faraz theorized that maybe the thunderstorms earlier that day had somehow scared him off. We tried different things to cheer him up but nothing worked.
The next morning (Saturday), we noticed the same behavior. After coming home from work we tried to get Barley in with Dr. Jo Wescott but she wasn't available so we found another vet close by with an excellent reputation. Dr. Norstrem at Crestwood Animal Hospital was an extremely kind and friendly doctor. He checked Barley all over and didn't feel there was anything particularly wrong with him. He thought there might be some bloating or a virus and prescribed some medicines to help relieve that. On the way back home we also stopped at the Petsmart and got some toys for Barley. The next couple of days Barley showed little to no signs of improvement. In fact his breathing was getting heavier and it seemed like he was in some sort of discomfort. We even ended up taking him to an emergency vet clinic at night in Auburn but the doctor wasn't quite sure what was wrong with Barley and suggested more tests.
The next morning we took Barley to Dr. Wescott and she wasn't sure either. She didn't think there was anything seriously wrong with him. She thought he might have a slight case of pancreatitis. He was given some medicines but his condition was not getting any better and on Saturday we took Barley again to see Dr. Wescott. A blood test was run and it was determined that he had a low platelet count. The doctor guessed that he had a disease called IMT (Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia) in which the body attacks its own platelets. Barley was given several medicines and we started him on the medications the same day. However by Tuesday there was no improvement in his condition and we took him again. It was now that Dr. Wescott got really alarmed. If he wasn't responding to the steroids this meant he had something even more serious going on. We took Barley to an Emergency Vet in Tacoma to have extensive X-rays and ultrasounds done.
That afternoon we got one of the WORST news possible. Barley had a rare and very lethally aggressive form of cancer known as Hamangiosarcoma and it had spread to his heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Just about everywhere. The oncologist who called us was not hopeful at all and asked us to come in and see her that evening. This news virtually destroyed all of us. I could not believe that this was actually happening. We had just got Barley 4 months ago. None of us had gotten over the loss of Juju and now this? A dog so healthy, so gentle, so playful, so full of life had go from all that to this? In a matter of few days? How was this even possible? How was this fair? There is no way anyone can justify this. THIS WAS GROSS INJUSTICE. NOTHING GOOD COULD POSSIBLY COME OUT OF THIS. I felt so angry, so sad, and so so so powerless....
When we arrived at the oncologist's clinic we immediately saw Barley. He was panting as usual. We got water for him. The Dr. came in and basically informed us that Barley had no time left. Barley was suffering from a very rare and very aggressive form of cancer called Hemangiosarcoma that had spread all over internally to his heart, lungs, blood - just all over. He was a ticking time bomb and there was absolutely no hope for any kind of treatment. She advised us to let Barley go immediately. Looking at Barley, he did not seem to be in discomfort so we declined to do so immediately. Also we wanted to spend a little bit more time with him and allow everyone an opportunity to say good bye to him. We took Barley home. We stopped at the Wendy's in Federal Way to get some junk food for him which he had liked so much. Barley was not interested at all. Even when he got home Barley would not eat anything. We offered all kinds of sliced meats, dog food etc. but he was not eating. I knew that was a bad sign since this is exactly what had happened with Juju 6 months ago. Barley was panting heavily and it seemed he was in a lot of discomfort. He wouldn't go to sleep in his favorite spot upstairs. I came downstairs and made a temporary bed there to try and sleep there. We all felt EXTREMELY guilty. We felt we had made a seriously bad and selfish reason by not listening to the oncologist. We felt we were unnecessarily prolonging his life and pain.
That night we started reading on this form of cancer and learned that there was a drug called I'm-Yunity (IMMUNITY) that had been proven to extend the lives of dogs suffering from hemangiosarcoma sometimes by as much as 6 months and this had been demonstrated in clinical trials. We ordered the medicine right away. It arrived on Saturday evening and we started giving it to Barley. We read a lot on cancer in dogs and tried lots of different things. Since the doctors offered nothing we tried many alternative medicines that others had tried and had supposedly had success with. Barley's diet was modified to all meat and even organic. We started giving him green veggies and even raw meat as it is supposed to help with cancer. Carbs were completely eliminated. We were all very hopeful. Because of all the meds Barley was taking he had to go out frequently. Faraz and I set our alarms alternatively throughout the night every 1-3 hrs. or so and made sure we took him out. We followed this routine over the next 7-8 days or so.
We knew Barley wouldn't recover but we were at least hoping to extend his life. Faraz bought tons of toys for Barley and he was taking a lot of interest. He also was eating a lot. Definitely a good sign. Dr. Norstrem followed up with Faraz almost daily. I was hopeful that Barley might somehow defy fate but I was so wrong...
On the morning of Thursday April 27, 2017 (9 days after the cancer diagnosis and 20 days since he started showing symptoms), Barley's situation started deteriorating. He was breathing very heavily and not eating much although still eating some. I had a bad feeling that morning but went to work. I checked with my mom and Barley was eating sporadically. She even went to Costco to get rotisserie chicken for Barley which was one of his favorites. When I came home around 1pm Barley didn't look very well. I offered him the rotisserie and he actually ate 2-4 chunks. This was the last time Barley ate (at least from me). We offered him food again and again over the next few hrs. but he did not eat. He was also not interested in his toys at all. Faraz and I also discussed that he appeared to be more bloated. I was worried he might be bleeding more? Faraz gave him an extra pill of the Yunnan Baio which is supposed to help with internal bleeding. His breathing was getting heavier. This late afternoon and evening hours of Thursday April 27th were ONE OF THE MOST DEPRESSING HOURS OF MY LIFE. Barley was just walking around and having difficulty breathing. I remember laying down on the living room sofa utterly depressed and totally helpless. I looked around and couldn't find barley anywhere. To be honest part of me was hoping that Barley had passed away peacefully. I could not take this anymore. I realized finally around 845 PM that Barley had gone upstairs. He was in my room on my bed and was panting very very heavily. He was clearly in a lot of discomfort. His mouth was foaming also. I called everyone and we realized things were dire. Farooq said we needed to do something and we needed to do the humane thing. We all agreed and started getting ready. I knew there wasn't enough time. I even took a few of his pics and kissed Barley so much. He came down from the bed and went in the hallway and then back towards my room. He started sitting down and I knew this was the final moment. He was breathing very heavily and then all of a sudden in the corner of my room by the door Barley collapsed and within 30 secs he was gone. There was blood coming out. I know for a fact it was as painless and as quick as death can be. IT HAPPENED EXACTLY HOW DR.NORSTREM HAD SAID IT WOULD HAPPEN. I just sat there along with everyone else looking at him. To be honest I didn't even cry at that time. I was shocked and totally numb.
We made cremation arrangements immediately that night with the Tacoma Mortuary & Mausoleum. Me, Farooq & Faraz covered Barley and carried him over downstairs and transported Barley to their facility in Tacoma.
One VERY important event deserves to be mentioned here. The next morning (Friday) after I was finishing up work at the Ist job site I went back to my van and saw a tennis ball lying just behind the van. There was a woman walking her dog and I asked her if the ball was hers and she replied no it wasn't. I picked up the ball and put it inside the car. I found it remarkable that off all the houses and places around could it really be a coincidence that I just happened to park right where the ball was? The reason this was so so significant to me was that if anyone who knew Barley (whether our family or at the shelter) was asked what one object was Barley's absolute favorite they would all answer "A TENNIS BALL". Barley absolutely loved tennis balls. He would get so excited whenever one of us would pick up the ball as he loved playing ball. Even when he saw me putting on the gloves I used when we played ball he would get so excited he would start running around and start looking under the sofa etc to find one of the balls.
I am not a religious person at all and not even really spiritual but this was truly bone chilling. I don't know if this means anything or not but I found it extremely comforting. I excitedly texted everyone. I kept the ball and bought it home with me and it sits on my computer desk and will ALWAYS be with me till the day I die. That afternoon (less than 24 hrs since Barley passed away) we went and picked up Barley's ashes.
There were a few ironic thigs about Cooper's adoption. He was actually rescued by Homeward pet in August of 2016 but had still not found a home. Cooper and Barley actually knew each other and used to play together. Cooper was also having lots of difficulties getting adopted so Faraz decided to adopt him and we were all instantly in love with him. He is a blue tick coonhound/Rottweiler mix and looked a little bit like Barley too.
Over the last weeks and months since Barley's death I have reflected a lot on his life. Barley lived a short but very sweet and privileged life. By dying young and dying so quickly he avoided a lot of struggles and pain that we all have to go through in old age. I certainly know how much Juju went through in his last few months. His original home was with a very well to do person and then even at the shelter he was treated like a prince. The 4 plus months that we had Barley, he was spoiled rotten. It almost seems to me as if Barley was in a big rush to go and meet his original human.
Please also visit Juju Saleemi.