We hadn't had a dog for a while and didn't know we needed one until we met Barley. And he needed us. He came into our lives just under eight years ago on what would have been the last day of his life. How could we have imagined the joy he would bring us?
Barley was four years old when he arrived at our house, and his first four years hadn't been easy. We loved him from the moment we set eyes on him. It didn't take long to become accustomed to the comfort of his companionship. Looking out for him became as natural as breathing. You notice such things when they are gone.
Walking toward the house today, I glanced back for Barley. It was a momentary lapse, then reality hit like a blow. Barley died at home Tuesday morning, most likely from an embolism. It happened quickly and it was a mercy that he didn't suffer long.
As words are still hard to come by, I'm adding some pictures as a tribute to the dog whose paw prints are written forever on our hearts.