Animal Planet had it right when they featured the Toy Fox Terrier breed. They are often referred to as the clown. Two things they don’t like—water and small children. We soon learned that Barkleah’s fear of kids and water was a natural self-preservation defense for very small dogs.
Barkleah joined our family pet collection the Christmas of 2006. Our son, Jeff, living in a condo, missed having a dog. After a great deal of research into small dogs that thrive indoors, his number one choice was a Toy Fox Terrier.
The first time we met Barkleah he weighed less than four pounds and spent most of his time in a cuddle sack nestled inside our son’s shirt where he felt safe next to Jeff’s beating heart. Having had experience with Golden Retrievers and Labs, Barkleah appeared more like an ant than a puppy. When he bounced around the room in play, my greatest fear was stepping on him, and he would be NO MORE.
Barkleah gained immediate acceptance from our tender hearted Bailey. Although she wasn’t sure what he was, she knew he was a Wetterman.
As time went on, Bailey worked hard to teach Barkleah how to watch for trouble out the front windows, bark continuously at the threat, and then tramp off to catch a nap. She worked with him on his sanitary training and soon had him mirroring her trips outside. Unfortunately, Barkleah never picked up on the required bark by the door to get human assistance. He patiently stood at the door waiting for someone to notice. Oops!
If it was raining, forget any trips by Barkleah, he knew when it was wet outside.
While Bailey slept on the patio in shade, Barkleah found warm, sunny spots to bake. As Bailey romped in the grass, surveying her fenced in yard, Barkleah gingerly hopped like a bunny rabbit to keep the grass off his feet as much as possible. The two were as different as water and land.
They both loved shopping at the pet store. Bailey hunted small children to receive pets and strokes on her head, while Barkleah growled as kids approached.
We had the opportunity to have Barkleah move in with us when our son took a position with the U. S. State Department and moved to Romania for a year. Bailey was thrilled. She loved his company and the two were like Mutt and Jeff.
Having Barkleah with us full time, we soon noticed he had many cat-like behaviors. He lay atop the back of any chair or sofa in the sun. This was his position for bathing. Daily, he licked his paws to wash his face along with Carlos, the cat. He slept buried in blankets atop our bed or on the couch in my office. When I threw a pile of sheets on the bed to fold, he crawled inside the warmth for a long nap—folding had to wait. He curled up in the armchair in Bill’s office for napping. Not only was he sweet and cuddly, but he required continuous companionship.
By the time our son returned from his job in Romania, Barkleah was settled in with us and our routine. How would we survive with him moving back to the condo? Of course, like any civilized family, we drew up a custody plan and shared Barkleah Three nights with his daddy, and four with his grandparents—not perfect, but it was worth it. Bailey no longer had to be an only dog pet.