Two years ago today, my first "baby" died. He was a miniature dachshund who we got after we were married for 1 year. We named him Barney. There was a story behind his name. You see, Bruce began his teaching career in Livingston, IL at Livingston High School. Bruce taught PE back then and had several nylon sweatsuits in different colors. Because Livingston's school colors were purple and gold, he had a purple sweatsuit. Bruce organized an intramural hockey league for the kids to play after school one winter and the name of his team was "Barney's Brawlers".....because of the big guy in the purple sweatsuit! One of his students even made a big poster of Barney the dinosaur playing hockey. We kept that poster for several years. Anyway, Bruce switched jobs that year but I knew he would miss his days in Livingston. It is a small town and he became attached to several of the kids. When we were considering getting a dog, I thought that if we named him Barney, it would bring back some good memories for Bruce when he said the dog's name.
Barney was my buddy. He knew who the person in this house was who really took care of him. We got him in August, 1994 when he was 11 weeks old. He was so cute and never really lost the cuteness in his face. He went through a lot in his (almost) 13 years. He had hernia surgery and with that, lost one of his (male genetilia). And then he had to have another surgery a few years later and lost the other one. I cannot even remember exactly what that surgery was for. Then, in 2006, he was diagnosed with diabetes. I noticed he had been drinking a lot and therefore, peeing a lot. I took him to the doctor and thus began giving him insulin shots twice a day. Barney used to go to my parents' house while we were at work. My parents live caddy-corner from the lady who babysat the girls. So.....I would drop off the girls (or pick them up) and then back out of one driveway and right into another one to drop off or pick up my furry child. My mom loved Barney like her own dog. She took great care of him while we were at work. So she too helped with his shots. Finally, we realized that we should be giving him his shot at the exact same time every day. This helped keep him stablized.
Barney still had a lot of accidents in his final months. My dad finally said that we could no longer bring him to their house during the day, and I really didn't blame him for doing that. Whenever we got up in the morning or came home from work, we always had a few puddles on the kitchen floor. We had grown accustomed to blocking Barney in the kitchen (on the vinyl floor) while we were gone. We kept a blanket there for him and sometimes even that was wet. We kept a stack of old towels and did a lot of laundry during those final months.
Barney died on a Monday. The Friday prior to that, he had some real trouble going up our front steps. Once inside the house with my help, I noticed that he just pretty much laid on the carpet in front of the fridge or on his blanket. I would carry him outside when I thought he should go, but he didn't even want to walk anymore. Thank goodness this only lasted a few days. By Sunday, all he did was lay on his blanket. Monday morning, Bruce had school but the girls and I didn't. Bruce came into our bedroom before he left and told me that Barney was not doing very well. I went to check on him and he was still breathing but his eyes were closed and he wouldn't open them. This was early in the morning. A couple hours later, Brittany yelled at me to come into the kitchen. When I did, we found that Barney had lost control of something and there was this brown/blood/chocolate looking fluid that had come out of him. I didn't know what it was but I knew it wasn't poop because it didn't smell like that. I had already called the doctor and we were going to take him in that morning anyway but now I called the doctor and told them what was going on. They said his kidneys had most likely failed. So the girls and I put another of his blankets into a large box. I picked Barney up and B1 tried to wipe some of that substance off of him with one of his clean towels. I then laid him in the box and we loaded him into the back of the Escape and headed to the vet. I knew we wouldn't be bringing him home. I just prayed that he didn't die before we got to the doctor. He didn't. I think God was helping me because I didn't break down and "lose it" in front of the girls. We got there and I paid the bill for enthanasia and cremation. We then said our goodbyes, petted Barney one more time, I took his collar off, and we left. He had been in a doggie coma state for some hours by then. We cried when we left but knew we were doing the right thing.
Now, I wish I had stayed with him while he passed on. But I didn't know if I wanted the girls to witness that and I didn't want them sitting in the waiting room all alone. I think I did the right thing at the time. And I know that one day, whenever I get to Heaven, Barney will be there waiting for me to pass over that golden bridge. I hope he is up there right now having fun with all the other dogs that I grew up with. I miss him.