NO, Barkleah is loved.

All  our adult years, Bill and I had medium to large dogs as pets. In fact, my knowledge of small dogs was a bit lacking You might even say, I had many preconceived ideas about those tiny little pets. My world changed in 2006 when my son announced that he had purchased a Toy Fox Terrier.

I spent a few days imagining this 6 foot 4 inch man caring for a 2 pound baby. His hands were large enough to close around little Barkleah and make him disappear. Convinced that all little doggies were spoiled, difficult to care for, and too small to play with, I adopted a wait- and-see attitude.

The first time we met Barkleah, his ears flopped on either side of his head, his coal black eyes stared at us in fear, and his little body shook. It was a cold winter day and he wore a tiny blue sweater to protect him from the elements. He snuggled into my son’s arms and crawled into a small flannel cuddle sack. Yep. He must be spoiled already.

During one of my doggie-sitting afternoons, I discovered that Barkleah loved to race around the kitchen trying to see if he could keep from being stepped on. Noting he was a drama-king, I worked hard to protect him. When a foot came too close, he screamed as if killed. In order to keep him alive, I no longer wore shoes. At least my bare foot gave me the ability to sense his presence, and look down before moving.

If he was awake, he was continually playing with his squeaky toys. It amazed me at how well he could entertain himself. When he required rest, he insisted on a human lap inside his cuddle sack. If it was really cold, he crawled inside your sweater and nestled on your chest.  Yep. I was getting the idea. Mr. Barkleah would rule our lives.

Barkleah was crate trained. To this day, he goes to the closet every morning to make sure his crate is there. When there’s thunder, lightening’, or other forces of bad weather, he races to his crate. When he had surgery, he placed himself in the crate and did not venture out until he healed.

It was amusing to see him interact with our black lab, Bailey. Bailey was a beta dog. Easily the sweetest, non aggressive pet in the neighborhood.  She  imparted knowledge to Barkleah. He soon learned to jump out the dog door. Problem was, his size. The door was installed for an 85 pound lab. He nosed the door opened and jumped out, scraping his tummy on the frame and landing ten inches below. Ouch! He worked on his technique and eventually mastered this Evil Knievel..

Bailey taught Barkleah how to protect the family from intruders. Bailey took the lead, but Barkleah was the lookout. He could hear the UPS man sneak onto the porch, the neighbors walking their dogs half a block away, and the Schwan’s truck pulling up across the street. The awesome dodo kept us safe.

Naturally, Bill and I fell hard for this sweet mischievous clown. Are you one of those special people who have had their heart stolen by a little doggie? Please share your stories. We all love to hear about pets.

My next post, I will share how Barkleah came to stay for a visit and never left again.

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