This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Friday, May 23, 2014


May 24th is the anniversary of Barkley dying.  I kind of had a rule never repost old blog postings just to fill space, but I am making an exception today.  So if you read the old blog or if you are one of the 30 readers of my best selling only in my dreams book, then you've read this before.  If not, enjoy:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The REAL Barkley

I wrote all of these journals as a blog called The Cognitive Dissonance of Barkley Pontree.  Truth is, Barkley was my dog.  

In 2000, I contacted Michigan BC Rescue and adopted a new border collie.  Kahlua, my first BC, died in 1999 after 14 years.  Got her in Texas, she travelled with me from there to NJ, then MI, then UT, then IL.  I think the dog crapped in about 35 states.  Man, I loved that dog.  To this day, when highway driving and I hit the blinker to get off at the next exit, I can still see,  out of the corner of my eye, Kahlua waking up in the passenger seat to look out the window.

Barkley had two previous owners but had been badly treated.  I was told he was called Barkley after Charles Barkley.  I'm surprised they didn't sell me the Brooklyn Bridge while they were at it.

Barkley was, shall we say, disturbed.  He would bark and howl like he was caught in a bear trap when, oh, the postman came by, UPS, Fed Ex, or you gave him a bath, or combed him out after a bath.  It always cracked me up picking him up at the vets after a bath and you could hear him howling like a banshee when they tried to give him a comb out before bringing him up. And he was bullheaded to the core.  After about a month, I realized I got a dog that was me, my mirror image in a dog.  I felt like calling every boss I'd worked for and girl I dated and saying I'm sorry, never realized what a pain in the ass I could be.

One time, I had him at the vet and he wanted to trim Barkley's nails.  So I'm up on the table putting the dog in a full nelson while wrapping up his back legs and the doc is cutting his nails and that dog sounded like we were killing him.  When we walked out into the lobby, the two girls at the desk and four customers were just staring at us and I said "boy, that's the  last time I try to save a few bucks on anesthesia when I get a dog fixed."  The desk gals were not happy with that comment and rushed to assure the shocked customers I was kidding.

We tried everything with Barkley to get him to behave including a shock collar, which just pissed him off.  He loved to herd people, including nipping them in the ass, which kept him on the local police department's list of dangerous dogs and the homeowners insurance agent busy.  Pulled my dad down twice when being walked; once my dad broke his nose, the second time his shoulder so I banned him from walking the dog any more and put up a fence.

The dog, though, thought the backyard was part of the house and refused to go either ways to the bathroom.  I had to order wolf urine over the internet and spray it around the backyard to get him to at least piss in the yard.  I was at work eating lunch when I ordered the urine and a woman came up behind me and saw what was on the screen and asked why I was ordering wolf urine and I told her it's for male pattern baldness and bent my head and showed her how great it was working.

The woman never talked to me again.

Finally, I just learned to appreciate Barkley for what Barkley was and quit trying to change him and things went well after that point.  After a couple of years, Barkley started 'seeing ghosts'.  He would be lying on the floor and suddenly jump up, look straight up at the ceiling, back and forth with his head, and then dart out of the room and you'd find him lying underneath a couch or bed.

I took him to the vet after about six months of this going on and sure enough, he did it in the docs office.  The vet, in his 50's, said "wow" and left the room for about 10 minutes and when he came back in he had his college textbooks and suddenly the cash register sound started ringing in my head.  He explained the behavior is called 'fly chasing' and very rare.  Sometimes it's caused by seizures and other time behavioral, and that Purdue University has a great program and he'd like me to take the dog to Purdue so the dog psychologists could study him.

At this point in my life, my mom was bedridden.  While at work, I had a caretaker come in about 9 hours a day to take care of her (cash register rings) and then in the evenings I'd pick her up out of bed to put her on the portable toilet.  That was my weekends too.  Dad helped but he couldn't lift her.  And I was in the process of straightening out my dad's finances which I'd ignored until it was way too late and was going to have to take out an additional home equity loan to fix.  And now some vet wants me to hire a caretaker on Saturday's so I can drive 3 hours to take my dog to see a psychologist at Purdue?

I said, "Doc, there has to be a pill.  There has to be a pill either for the dog or for me.  I don't care which one of us you prescribe a pill for, but one of us is walking out of here with a script and I'm not going to Purdue." (Little bit of info here, those dog tranquilizers they give dogs for fireworks and such, that is Valium.  Same Valium people take but a lot cheaper.  After finding that out, I found taking two doggie downers myself was a much more relaxing way of dealing with 4th of July fireworks and the barking dog than giving them to the dog.  A couple of doggie downers and Dark Side of the Moon thru the headphones and it was July 10th before I knew it.)

So the dog (damn) got put on Phenobarbital which is a great elephant tranquilizer and good to stop seizures in dogs apparently.   And no, I never took the Phenobarbital.

The first half of 2010 was a bad year.  I was trying to sell the house so we could move to CO, where my dad wanted to live again.  Dropping the prices, selling silver coins, sell my beautiful Acura, trying to keep us afloat until we could sell the house and one morning in May I wake up and Barkley can't stand up.

So I take him to the vet and they run some tests and find he's got a big tumor on his heart and the sac around the heart is filled with blood, pressing on his throat and spine.  So they drained it and got a good look at the tumor and said there was nothing they could do, chances of him living thru surgery are pretty small.  They didn't know if the sac would fill up in 24 hours or 24 days.

It actually filled up again in about 7 hours.

By 10 that night, he was unable to stand without falling over, weeping in pain.  You could see the confusion in the dog's face, looking at me like what the hell is wrong.  I'm laying with him on the floor of the living room and go get the towel.  I can't let the dog suffer all night long.  I'm crying and I am praying to God to please take the dog, don't make me go thru suffocating him.  I'm hugging him, praying to God for 10 minutes to please please take the dog and don't make me do this. Suddenly, the dog licks my hand, takes three deep breaths, and dies.

Are you crying?  I am, again.  Man, I've been burying that story for over a year.

And to all the atheists or agnostics or deists who don't think that was an answered prayer, well, blow me.

So that is who Barkley is, or was.  The dog nobody wanted.  The dog nobody would keep or put up with that landed in my lap and I gave him 10 good years of life.    

Lane, Dick (2013-07-17). FOLIE A DEUX: A Madness Shared By Two (Kindle Locations 1804-1835).  . Kindle Edition.