Barkley - In loving Memory

Barkley was a 1 year old purebred Dalmatian when we found him at the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colorado. We noticed him because he did not run around in his kennel or wag his tail or do any of the things that dogs do when trying to ingratiate themselves to humans. He just stood there staring at us with his beautiful blue eyes, ears down, looking incredibly sad. We were stuck with how eloquent his eyes were. Then we read the card on his kennel. He was deaf and, if no one adopted him that week, he would be put down. His original owners had not wanted to bother with a deaf animal that they could not handle. (They also said he never barked.)

We talked about him that night and then Jerry went back the next day to visit him one-on-one. Barkley came up to him and sniffed him but then went straight to the door, looking back over his shoulder as if to say “Get me out of here and I will be devoted to you forever.” Jerry brought him home the next day, after he had been neutered and he seemed like a different dog. He ran all over the house and barked and unfortunately happily chased our cats, going a bit wild.

We realized that he was going to need some special training and handling so we got in touch with a dog trainer who specialized in deaf dogs and had her come to the house to work with Barkley (and us) for a few days. Then, Jerry took Barkley to several weeks of specialized obedience training. Barkley did so well that he won a first place blue ribbon at the obedience trials. Barkley learned many hand signals and fit right into the family. He made friends with the cats (sometimes he even let them sleep with him!) He learned to tell time somehow and would wait watching for Jerry’s red SUV to come around the corner (he could see it from our deck) everyday between 5 and 5:30 PM. He was like Jerry’s shadow, quiet but always there with us and so very much a part of our lives.

When our grandchildren came along, he “adopted” them and became very protective and loving with them (even though we had been told that he probably would not do well with children.) When we made our big move to the country, Barkley was in heaven. He made the daily rounds, kept Jerry company in the workshop and just generally made the whole place his own.

When he became ill from kidney disease (he lived to be 13 years old) we knew we would have to say goodbye to him. At the very end, he was still looking up at Jerry with his soul in his eyes. We brought him home to bury him in our garden. It is strange, but almost everyday there are deer lying around his grave. We miss him everyday and will for the rest of our lives.

Cheryl and Jerry Davison

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