If you’ve seen that scene in the opening of 101 Dalmations where the dogs and owners parade their uncanny similarities, you’d understand the likeness between me, my husband, and our first dog, Barney; Winter trail dogs all three. Is it nature or nurture? Do we emulate them, or do they emulate us? Maybe it’s C. All of the above. He was the start of everything. He introduced us.
When a knock at the door interrupted a raucous card game one July evening, I had no idea of the connection being forged. A shaggy-haired guy who actually resembled Shaggy, except for his climber physique, Pat appeared in the doorway, sheepishly shaking his head in apology. Barney had eaten all the burgers we were cooking out on the porch. Pat worked as a cook and wanted to make amends by sharing occupational leftovers.
Twenty-five years later, he remains my partner. Barndog lived to fourteen and a half, passing in his sleep on July 5, 2007. He weighed seventy-odd pounds, but traveled so lightly when he made the perimeter runs, we never knew if he was in the front, back, or flanking us on our hikes. If we were paddling, he’d run alongside the river…for miles. When exhausted, he’d whimper to get in the loathsome boat. He got especially angry when being tied to a tree at the bottom of a cliff while we multi-pitched. It was usually sometime during the second pitch, up past 100 plus feet that the barking and whining ceased. Occasionally, he’d escape his bonds and find the top of the cliff, meeting us at the summit with panting ‘smoochers’.
Barndog always had to be in contact with one of us. He spent his time under our feet or next to us in bed. This is why I named my business after him. He was constant and true with a spirit of adventure and the endurance to live up to that vigor. All I had to do when searching for a business name was look down to see his lopsided smile.