Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Things I've Learned from a Black Lab - The Tail Continues

Trust is not that which binds, but that which bonds.
 - Brigid

I just wanted to drop everyone that commented, called, or emailed me with your condolences, a note of thanks.  There is no way I can respond to all of you individually right now through the tears, but I read every single one, multiple times, even if it made me grieve harder.  For you shared with me your joys and your own pain, with loving and losing your own pets. 
There were still so many stories to be told, he was much too young to have left.  Right now, I'm just hollow, and cold, I just can't get warm and this place is just so quiet without him.  But I know this will pass.  But in thinking it over the last couple days as I have been alone at home, I realized that I  want to continue to tell those stories when I can, so many not put to paper   I'm thinking it's time for a book, the Book of Barkley.  It won't be next week or even next month, but as I can write again, it will be crafted, so that we can all heal, and hope
It will mean no daily blogging, just a few times a week.  But for his memory, for myself, I think I need to put more of our story down, as it will never be truly over
Love - Brigid


  1. Book of Barkley. Perfect. We'll be here.

  2. Please add my name to the list of those who will buy that book! Sharing the memories will help ease your loss, and ours. Take your time. We'll be here when you're ready.

  3. Corey Ford, one of my favorite writers, published "The Road to Tinkhamtown", a tribute to a dog, in Field & Stream in 1969. I wept when I read it then, and tears have never failed to appear every time I've read it since. They're cleansing tears, tho, and I always feel a sense of peace afterward. May you find some comfort in Mr. Ford's words, as well.

  4. Brigid,
    Be glad you have the community you have here, each of us is trying to carry a part of your grief for you. Bask in the knowledge that your friends really care, even those of us who know you only through the blog.

    Many of us shared the grief with Rachel Lucas a few years ago, when she lost her dog(s), and we've also shared the joy when she more recently got 'new' ones. We'll be here for you when you hopefully do the same.

  5. I would love a "Book of Barkley".
    My own black lab Mark passed several years ago, and black labs are very special indeed.
    We'll be here when you get back. Love and best wishes to you and E

  6. I am glad to hear this. I know it's incredibly painful for you, and maybe selfish of us who read, - but I personally don't want to forget him or never speak of him again. I'd want him to live on forever in some special way, and a book is even better. His memory is immortal among those of us who read about/knew him, no matter what.

    Aside from being that special type of dog, many of us totally got what he meant to your journey through this life. And some of us can relate to that just as knowingly as if it happens(ed) to us too.

    When you sit down to write, you manage to connect with so many emotions and thoughts many of us readers have. We get it. We may not get it all exactly, but we get it. Some of us learn, as well. We all see how important it is to keep going no matter what. So, use your gifts of writing it out now to help you through the fog and pain ;) It works more than you'll ever know.....

  7. Dr. Jerry Pournelle (of BYTE magazine fame), lost his Sable on Monday:

    It's not been a stellar week for dog owners...

  8. What an awesome idea. I'm grinning in anticipation of eventually opening my copy to page one. :-)

  9. What a lovely idea! It will most certainly be a great read!

  10. Brigid, I hope you will continue to write Barkley's story, and yours too. He was a good dog!

    My mom reminds me repeatedly, that I too, need to write down the Charlie stories, before they become lost to memory. Not so much for publication, as to give to my kids for remembrance.

    I would love to read Barkley's tale once you can bring yourself to write it.

  11. Losing dogs is never easy. If God were kind they would last a lifetime, but they are meant to teach us many lessons, not all of which are easy. I have lost too many and I'm going to see them in heaven.

    Feisty, Pepper, Angus, Suzie, Max, Ginger, Duke, Rommel, Jack, Merlin, were/are my family.

  12. Writing can be such a catharsis.

    I, for one, would be honored to have you share your memories with us.

  13. That's an absolutely wonderful idea: a fitting memorial for him, and cathartic for you..

    My name's on your list, too.

  14. Looking at Barkley's lovely face, I see Dalton, who left me not so very long ago, looking back at me through the tears.

    I'm looking forward to reading the book.


  15. With pictures, please.
    I'm sad I don't have more pictures of my Annie. (black lab, like Barkley)
    She was my companion through the roughest years of my life to the best.
    My kids had the fortune of knowing her before cancer took her.
    No dog since has even come close.

  16. Book of Barkley. That is a story I would love to read. A perfect way to remember an incredible dog.

  17. I have never seen a multiple page Blogger comment section before. I am not surprised, either. I, too, read every one of them. All I can say is that there are some wonderful people hanging around here. I am not surprised about that either; because this place is proof that what is sent out returns, reflects right back.

  18. Definitely write that book, as soon as you are able.

  19. B you and Barkley have been like family to me, I sincerely hope you do make the Book of Barkley, I will be in line to get a copy. You were there with kind words when My dog Bailey left us so I am glad you have so very many loving, caring people here to share his memory with you.

  20. Know where you're at.The silence is deafening.
    When my GS Riko died I literally couldn't leave the house for 3 days because I couldn't stop crying and certainly couldn't work.

    Brigid, I actually slept on top of his grave for a couple of days. I needed to be close to him and it was the only place were I could find rest.

    For about 6 or 7 months every time his name was mentioned I'd start to cry again.
    Brigid it's been over 6 years and still today I can't see a well bred GS without a heart twinge.

  21. I will definitely read that book, Brigid. I know how much a pet can mean (I'm a cat guy myself) and when they're gone, there's a hollow place left behind.

    I would love to honor Barkley's memory by reading about him. Whenever you're ready, we'll be here.

  22. Brilliant idea,I for one will buy a copy.

  23. Please do write this book. Take your time in healing, and do so in whaever way works best for you. We'll be here.

  24. I've been in the hospital and out of touch lately. I didn't know you lost your buddy Barkley nor how. So sad but glad you will share your memories of him.

  25. Please ad my name to the list as well. While I am not much of a dog person, Barkley has found a place in my heart.

  26. Book of Barkley,what a great idea.It may be hard to write,but I think it will be cathartic for you as well.
    And I'll second the request for pictures included,especially the close-ups of his big nose!!

  27. I know this has left a hole in your heart. The unconditional love Barkely gave you gives you unconditional pain now. Sometimes it's hard to feel it was worth the pain. But the pain will subside, and you'll find the love remains. Peace.

  28. I think that is a wonderful idea. Take all the time you need,

  29. Oh darn. I just checked in. I'm so sorry to hear the news. Please know that you're in our thoughts and prayers.

    I know you're raw right now, and you'll never replace Bark, but please consider offering Barkley's spot to another needy dog. There are so many deserving dogs out there who need homes, and considering the way that you love and spoil your pets, your home is the perfect place.

    We send love and hugs your way.


  30. The best part of digital pictures is even though my Victor is gone, I see him every day in the rotating pictures on my screen saver and I get to remember him as he was in life. I have been lucky in that I have lived with some great dogs and all of them have made me a better person. My best friends and I are going to Irish Times next Friday and I will drink one to our dogs.

  31. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  32. Peace to you Brigid... When I as 18, and lost my lifelong companion, Sally - with me since birth, a small black and white cocker mix... my best and sometimes only friend, my soul-mate... She loved me, I believe more perfectly than I could ever have loved her in my inexperience. When she was 18 she died and I grieved and I cried and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of that sweet little soul who gave me so much. So, no, you never get over it, I do not know anyone who has loved a dog and has said goodbye that gets over it. The pain? As you know, it eases, it becomes sweet memory with time, you still get tears in your eyes, but the smiles and laughter at the remembered fun and antics of your 4-legged Pal returns to you.

    My mother is part Iroquois, and although a lifelong Catholic carried with her some of the mythology handed down in her family. She knew my grief was raw and painful and that only time would help heal the wound in my heart. She said to me "Sally walks with you, and with time, she will allow you to feel her there beside you. During the first time of grief, you are blind to her, and that is as it should be, so she will know she is no longer in This World, but now walks in the Spirit World. When you are ready, she will help ease your pain by showing you memories, and helping you laugh again when you are ready to see that she is not lost to you, but always remains a part of you. Your tears will then be tears of joy at your good fortune at having known such a one."

    You would do Barkley honour to accept a new dog when it is time. And you will grieve when this new companion dies before you. But it is the natural order, this outliving our dogs. You will not always have to live in your grief, you will walk out into the sunshine and feel the loneliness of being without a furry head to pat, and a wagging tail and you will know it is time. Because you loved your friend, he has left you with this love to share again and again... The time will come. Love multiplies, never divides.

    May you indeed find some peace, Brigid. My heart is with you in this time. I felt like I knew Barkley through your words and your wonderful pictures... Thank you for all you have given me with your posts, I wish I could give a little back to you, but haven't your way with words.
    _| ~-. Cap'n Jan
    \, *_} Deep in the Heart...

    Presently being watched over by:
    Sparky-Bones... and all the ones that came before...

  33. Sign me up for a copy. And you continue in my prayers..

  34. Just a note again of thanks to all of you, helping me hold together. I can't tell you how much it's meant, this community of friends and kind people. I have a few days now at home, sorely needed, even if that old, old house still will echo with a soundless bark.

    I'm glad you all support the book idea. He needs that closure, so many stories untold, and I think it's writing I can do. Right now the rest of it seems unimportant.

    Cap'n Jan - I'm part Cree (it shows in the eyes, that's all) and I'm familiar with such stories. Your words brought a ot of comfort added to all these other wise words

    Chip - if you see a tall redhead and a young blond man by the fire come over and say hello.

  35. Cap'n Jan......

    That's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

    'Scuse me while I vacuum in's pretty dusty.

  36. Brigid,

    I add condolences. The book is a great idea. Barkley has many tales(tails) to tell through your talented writing. And certainly it should help to ease the pain even as it makes the memories indelible. Dogs are such treasures, and are such a loss when they leave us.

    Best wishes.

  37. Wonderful idea! Full of all those good memories and pictures - a treasure for the future.

  38. Just adding my my love of dogs and understanding of what is to mourn a deeply loved companion. The loss is the hardest part of loving them.

  39. Love the idea of a Book of Barkley, please add me to the list of interested readers! Thinking of you and Partner... betting Barkley is watching over you.

  40. Brigid,

    First off, thank you for your blog. I don't comment very often, but I have been following you for years. It is hard to write due to
    my MS, but know I check in at least once a day. You have inspired me for years.

    It has taken me days to get to the point of even commenting on Barkley's passing. I am so sorry for your loss. The day Barkley
    passed was 5 months to the day that I lost my Mom to bone marrow cancer. I am currently in Southern California preparing her house for sale.

    I wanted you to know that you and Barkley made a huge difference in the quality of life my Mom had in the nine months before she passed. She was diagnosed with MDS the first week of January 2013. I spent many days taking care of her, and often we would sit at her computer together reading Barkley stories. She loved dogs, but for the last few years of her life could not have another canine companion. Your stories of your sweet, lovely pup gave her so many smiles and laughs. It took her mind off of
    her suffering, even for a little while. I want to thank you and Barkley for giving her that gift.

    She loved labs. She wanted another yellow lab, since her last dog was a yellow lab mix. His name was Chester, and he did many of the same things Barkley did. We had many nights of comparing stories of whose dog got in more trouble.

    I had a dream the other night that surprised me. I often dream of my mom at her favorite beach on Maui, where we were both born and where she was raised. She was walking on the beach, happy and healthy, with Chester and our other family dogs romping in the surf at sunset. But then another dog came romping up and joined the other pups playing in the surf. It sure
    looked like Barkley. Orange collar and all. I asked mom why he was here, and she said that she wanted to thank him for making her smile during her difficult time, so she invited him to come play and have a picnic with her. I woke in tears shortly after. I hope you don't mind that my mom invited him for a short vacation in Hawaii at the other side of the Bridge.

    If you do end up writing a book, I would be honored to buy a copy.

    I hope in time your heart heals and you can smile when you remember him. Know that he was loved by many people that you have not even heard of, and he made a huge difference in this world.

    Bright blessings and fair winds,

    Denise Lindquist

  41. The Book of Barkley would occupy a place of honor in my library. I would be both happy and wistful to read it.

    I obtained a bottle of Balcones Whiskey a few weeks ago, and raised a glass over the weekend to celebrate Barkley's life. His soulful eyes and cheerful tail often made me and my dog Bubba smile and grin.

    I would definitely enjoy reading Barkley stories aloud to my dog. I know that he and Barkley would have been good friends, had they ever met.

    Peace and strength to you and Partner. Rest and comfort to Barkley.

  42. Please add me to the list of people wanting a copy when it's done.

  43. That is a wonderful idea Brigid. I'm looking forward to reading his tale.

    We took Angus swimming today and I thought of you and Barkley. Angus ran and swam and fetched and chased the ducks in the pond. Just some good Lab fun.

    For you and in memory of Barkley.

  44. Brigid,

    So sorry I wasn't able to log into your blog from the high seas this week to add my thoughts here. I'm in port for a few hours now so can do so.

    Your loss of Barkley certainly touched so many hearts of those who know the love and devotion of our furry sidekicks. I have tears now as I write this, knowing the loss that you felt.

    Fortunately, we have a mutual friend who keeps me informed via email about what is happening in the real world outside the black hole that is communication-deprived life at sea. The satellite just can't handle the band width required by all the information that we would like to have out here.

    Warm Sunday hugs from Port Canaveral,


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..