Welcome to Barley Saleemi's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Barley Saleemi
There used to be a dog named Barley who was TRULY an angel. Barley the Angel lived a short but VERY good life.


Our family was lucky enough to have been touched by Barley for a brief period of time. Very brief but well worth it. If I had to do it all over I would say YES in a heartbeat in spite of the painful and quick ending, for there is NOTHING that can replace the TRUE JOY & PLEASURE that Barley bought into our lives.


Barley was without any doubt the sweetest, gentlest and kindest dog one can ever possibly meet. He was everything one could ever hope for in a dog and a LOT LOT more.


Barley was a Rottweiler/Lab mix. His body was all jet shiny black except his feet which were golden. This was a very distinctive feature of Barley. I would often ask Barley lovingly "where did you get/buy these beautiful unique golden feet"? I was hoping to somehow learn some of Barley's beauty secrets and perhaps improve my own looks.

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.


We adopted Barley from this shelter and the connection was INSTANTANIOUS. Even though I had sworn after our previous dog Juju's death (https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/JUJUS001/Resident.htm) that I would never get another doggy, just one look at Barley and it was instant love. How could you say no to someone so handsome, intelligent, friendly and innocent? It's hard to decide if Barley was more beautiful inside or outside.

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 almost immediately became a part of our family. It felt like we had always had him and he too behaved as if he had known us forever. He got along very well with the other dog Buppi and she became his boss. My brother would walk him regularly and we played football with him as often as we could.

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.


As with all other dogs we started spoiling Barley. Lots of treats, food, playing and loads of love. And Barley always reciprocated with LOVE. He was a creature who had absolutely no mean bone in him. His experience had always been great with humans and he was an absolute angel and got along with everyone.


Faraz would take Barley out on long walks every day. I remember how every time Barley would come from outside and quickly sprint towards the kitchen as if to try and catch someone eating and to say "see I caught you eating". We always took Barley along with Buppi out on Friday nights for dinner. Every time when we would return to the car Barley could barely conceal his excitement knowing there was food in the car. When we would get home, Barley would quickly run out of the car to the front door and then follow the food inside and then guard it. He was so particular about food. His whole day was spent following the food from kitchen to sink to the grill outside then back inside at the table. We all loved feeding him and come dinner or lunch time Barley would be running from person to person. He was always panicking that the food would all be gone and he may not get his fair share. Oh barley. I miss that scene so so so much.

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.


One of Barley's favorite activities was to go to work with Faraz and on their way back he would always make him buy him fast food. He loved hamburgers and junk food. When Faraz would pull into the drive through and order something for both Buppi and Barley, he would be barking yelling & shouting) at all the fast food workers as if to say "Make it quick/ Why is it taking so long?" He was so adorable. We used to joke that soon we will all be banned from all the fast food places in town because the workers would not tolerate this kind of a rowdy customer for too long.

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.


This became routine. We did not realize that time was passing very quickly for Barley. Given how healthy he was and how good all his medical tests and bloodwork had been I had thought Barley had many many years with us. Little did I know that life was about to play one of the sickest and cruelest jokes on all of us and that Barley was a ticking time bomb with very little left on the clock.

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.


The next morning I took care of my work appointment real early and quickly rescheduled the rest. We planned to get a second opinion from Dr. Norstrem. Barley seemed better. He was panting less, playing with toys (he had stopped playing) and was even eating. We were prepared for the worst. Finally the time came to take him to the clinic. We all said our good byes and we were sure this was his final trip. Everyone was all tears. At the Dr's office Barley was behaving pretty normal. Dr. Norstrem had already gone over all the reports and was not hopeful at all. He did say however that he was not in any pain. Just some discomfort but definitely not in pain. He advised us that if we were OK with it there was no need to let him go right now. He stated that Barley had 4-6 weeks (max) and that his whole body was riddled with tumors. His heart would burst anytime resulting in a very quick and mostly painless death. He recommended that we get him a Chinese herbal medicine called Yunnan Baio which is supposed to thicken blood and therefore would help reduce or prevent internal bleeding. We got the medicine right away and took Barley home. For some reason I felt that a HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Just getting the chance to spend a little more time with Barley sounded so good. We took Barley home and everyone was very relieved.

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.


The next morning (Saturday) I found myself going online and searching for Barley. Sure enough I found lots of pages from the Homeward Pet adoption's webpage and several of Barley's videos playing BALL. I have since saved those videos. I remember when Juju had passed away I had sworn never to get another dog. I lied. We got Barley. When Barley was diagnosed with cancer I swore that this was it. Final. No more dogs. That very Saturday however we all realized things were lonely. We decided to get another dog. Faraz went to the homeward pet shelter and adopted Cooper.

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.


When Barley was originally diagnosed with cancer and we knew he was leaving soon, I had one time shouted and cried out screaming "WHAT GOOD CAN POSSIBLY EVER COME OUT OF THIS"? 2 days after Barley's death I got my answer in the form of Cooper. It almost seems to me as if Barley left to meet his previous human and created space for his shelter friend Cooper so he could also get a home instead of being locked up in a shelter kennel forever.


As with Juju's death my final feelings are filled with hope for Barley. I hope that there is indeed a Rainbow Bridge. I hope that Barley has made it to the Bridge and has finally been reunited with his previous human and is in excellent health. I hope Barley has made lots of friends and especially is friends with Juju and that they are playing together. I cannot wait to make my final journey someday, across the bridge and go meet Juju and Barley.


07/26/2017: Hi Barley. My Bhaaloo. I was just ordering toys for Cooper and Buppi and it reminded me of how excited you had been when I ordered toys and you were there. U cudnt control urself for 1 sec. I wish you were here. Wud love to see you play with all these toys I just ordered - Waqas -


08/13/2017: Hi Barley. I have been missing you a lot last few days. I just ordered a custom granite stone with your pic on it. Hope u r having a great time - Waqas -


09/24/2017: Hi my handsome black man. hardly a day goes by when we dont discuss u. Just yesterday farooq and I were discussing how much u loved food. 9/19 was Juju's Ist death anniversary. Faraz went to Homeward pet where we got u from. He met Kim too and she misses you a lot. She was nothing but full of praises for u and what an angel u were. Your granite stone arrived a couple weeks ago and I have it in the living room next to Juju's stone. I miss u so so much. I wish u wud give me a sign. I feel very depressed sometimes without u and Juju. Everyone here is doing well including Buppi. We miss u very very much Barley. I wud give anything to have u and Juju back with us by my side. Take care - Waqas -

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