I can’t actually believe that I’m typing this, but my heart is breaking and my eyes are swollen from crying so I know that it’s real, last week marked Barney’s first birthday (as near as a rescue dog can be aged) and just days later marked the day we had to say goodbye to him.
8 months ago when we picked him up, we were full of excitement and anticipation, it had taken us so long to make this decision. Our beloved lab Monty died in January and for 6 months we tried to live without a dog but we found it so hard it seemed like fate when we met an Amiici dog and learnt about their amazing charity rehoming dogs from Romania. Within two weeks of making contact, we were picking up a giant puppy, with the most enormous paws. For 8 months we have poured heart and soul into him and although it took a while, we fell completely in love with him.
For a while now though, we have been worried about the affect that our busy household has been having on him, as he gets older, he’s been showing increasing signs of anxiety, having difficulty allowing strangers into the house and becoming fear reactive on the lead, making walking more tricky. (On some reflection, we have realised that he is not a pack leader, he is the first to run at any sort of skirmish in the park and he has been getting too stressed as the only dog in a household with a lot of perceived threats and no other dog to tell him it was ok.)
He has been barking at children that come for playdates, meaning he was having to be shut away more often, and the final straw has been him starting to growl at the children when they come near him and then snapping at them when they don’t register. If they were older, we could have explained but they have been used to Monty and keep forgetting to give him space. It isn’t fair on him or them. After seeking advice from the wonderful charity we got him from, we were advised that it would be in all of our best interests to return him to them so that they can find him a new home with older or no kids and people that can devote the time to training with him before something really bad happens. We were just not in a position to take on a nervous dog as we don’t have the time to put into him and it turned into a potentially very dangerous situation.
Also, the bigger he got, when he got overexcited and ran with the children as they tore up and down the garden, he had a tendency to knock them flying, something that was making them nervous. The saddest thing of all about this tragic outcome? He is the loveliest dog, sweet, friendly natured and wanting to be everyones’ best friend, picking up his training with lightening speed, he was even able to be taught by the children who used to say ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot’ to him and he’d put his paw out. We love him so so so much and just hate this situation so much.
If my husband and I didn’t have children, there is no way that I would be typing this, but we do, and they come first and we knew that should the unthinkable ever happen and he nipped one of their friends as he was trying to herd them or knocked a child flying in the park and they were hurt or worst of all lashed out in frustration, he wouldn’t be getting this option and so we have done this for him too, as painful and traumatic as it is. I am barely able to see the screen through my tears as I think of him tonight, wondering where we went. Why we left him. It is honestly one of the most traumatic endings that I never imagined for our story and I feel physical pain in my chest whenever I picture his face.
We want so badly to see him in a new home and so I thought I would write a sort of advert for him, in the hope that someone will see it that will be able to be the forever home for him that we so desperately wished we could have been.
Barnaby. (Barney for short.) UK.
Barney is an amazing looking, large cross from Romania. We had so many comments about his eyes and curly tail.
DNA tests revealed that he is a cross between a German shepherd, a Belgian Tervuren, a Labrador, a Leonberger and Collie.
He is very food orientated and easy to train.
He is incredibly loyal and bonds strongly to his owners. He would suit a family with children over 16 or without children.
He loves other dogs. When he stayed with the dog sitter, he seemed happiest being part of her ‘pack’ and just wants to play. Due to his size, he can seem intimidating to others but if there is ever any aggression he is the first to run away.
He is nervous. Sounds startle him when we are out for a walk and he can get easily spooked and then tries to get home as quickly as possible.
Birds and aeroplanes are a source of tremendous fascination and he loves watching them.
Being outside is his happy place and he would regularly choose to stay outside in the garden over coming in, even in rain and snow!
He is incredibly loving and affectionate and liked cuddles a lot. He wasn’t as keen on them from the children although he tolerated them most of the time.
After a long walk in the morning (1 hour) he will sleep for most of the day and enjoys snoozing peacefully near you in the evenings.
What he needs:
An owner with the time to spend training him and helping him overcome his worries. A garden and a long daily walk. Someone with lots and lots of love to give as he is used to having plenty of cuddles and strokes. He needs a strong pack leader or a home with other dogs. He was always much happier and calmer with another dog around. Experience with shepherd breeds may be a good idea too.
It’s been two days now since he has gone and I wrote this and the pain is still not getting much better. The tears keep coming and we have asked ourselves and each other so many times if we have done the right thing, but we know that we have. We weren’t the right home or family for him and it kills me to say it but he’s better off with someone else. It won’t stop us thinking of him every day and missing him though.
If you think you can give Barney a loving home, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and head your email Barney so I can pass your details on.
**UPDATE One week on and my heart is still so broken but I have been sent photos of him looking very happy and it looks as though he has a family that want to take him, no young children. I am so so sad thinking of my baby with someone else but simultaneously so happy that he has been rehomed so quickly. Cross your fingers for him.**