Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Barney: A New Foster Dog Arrives

What moves us to help others?

"I have a theory about the assists we get in life," Lucille Ball wrote in her autobiography
Love, Lucy. "Only rarely can we repay those people who helped us, but we can pass that help along to others."

This also applies to those who are moved to give a "hands up" to our feathered and four-legged friends. In their innocence, animals and children are the most vulnerable to the evils of man.

Last week something special happened in North County. A disparate group of people came together to respond to the plight of an emaciated, seven-year-old male St. Bernard who was surrendered at the county animal shelter. Weighing only 105 lbs., Barney was blanketed with mats and maggots throughout his body including his ears and anus. His mouth was full of broken teeth.

I monitored the situation as it unfolded in a group email initiated by Alison Hardison of Shelter Pet Partners, then forwarded it to a handful of people I thought might help. Here is how the story developed:

9:21 a.m. Rebekah Peterman of Sunnybrook Farm in Encinitas offers to provide a herbal regimen to promote healing and weight gain.

10:07 a.m. Jason Bennett, owner of Flippin' Pizza in Encinitas, writes: We will donate $100 for the medical from Flippin’. Can you give me the info on how I should make out the check and where to send it?

10:20 a.m. Lisa Hamilton of Mission Animal Hospital in Oceanside announces that she is going to visit the shelter to assess the dog.

10:26 a.m. Alison reports that she'll begin looking for funds as well as a foster home.

1:34 p.m. Lisa returns from the shelter and writes: He is a VERY good boy! I have no doubt he is in pain with the ear and skin issues, but they have done a super job at the shelter of getting him well on the way to recovery. Bless who ever spent hours shaving and pulling maggots from his wounds!

4:22 p.m. Alison gives a status report: Mission Animal Hospital is willing to help, Carlsbad councilman Keith Blackburn has donated money for medical, and Lillian has agreed to serve as a foster guardian.

11:20 p.m. Jane Cartmill of San Diego Animal Advocates writes: SDAA can contribute $100 if that would help.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday Alison picks Barney up from the shelter and drives him to Mission Animal Hospital. She notes that the odor of his ears is so bad that it almost makes her sick to her stomach. The hospital provides an exam and medication at no cost. Shelter Pet Partners pays for the anesthesia and ear cleaning.

Afterwards, Renee Dudek of Dogs & Suds in Encinitas treats Barney to a free grooming.

Councilman Blackburn meets up with Alison at the grooming salon to deliver a check for $500.

Joey and I arrive at Dogs & Suds at 5 p.m. to pick up this handsome but painfully thin, gentle giant.

Barney receives a warm and enthusiastic welcome from Lara and Ollie. After enjoying their first dinner together, Ollie, also a rescue dog, begins to nurse Barney by cleaning his ears, eyes and mouth -- a routine he repeats each day.

On Sunday morning Katerina Lorenzatos
Makris, San Diego Dogs Examiner for, emails to ask if she can feature Barney in the premiere of a column titled, "Dog Rescue Funny Bones."

Neighbors Jo and David Smith come over to meet the new foster. They are so moved by Barney and his pitiful condition that they return to deliver a new collar, leash and crisp $100 bill to help with medical bills.

Yesterday Katerina sends an email reporting that her article has generated $4 in donations for food. She adds, "Whatever I make from on Barney's story I'll send you for his food fund!"

And today I received a $100 check from Jo Smith's friends, Jim and Jackie Emig of Fallbrook, to help Barney!

Barney is only at the beginning of his recovery. He's facing the cost of a blood panel, x-rays, dental work, medication and, of course, food to bring him up to a healthy weight.

If you'd like to join "Team Barney" and 'pay it forward' through donations, contact Alison Hardison at or call Ellie Astridge at (
760) 402-1980.

* Note: Barney arrived at the shelter as "Cujo." He showed such an unusual interest in The Andy Griffith Show the first night he was here that we renamed him "Barney."


  1. I would love to donate to help Barney, as well. I guess I should contact Alison. What a story! The part about Ollie cleaning his ears every day is really touching. :)

  2. Bashert my dog came from Shelter Pet Partners, they are a great organization. Our groomer is Dog In Suds. We used to auction items on ebay to donate to Shelter Pet Partners...but when looking for them on Mission Fish, I couldn't find them. For those of you out there reading this, that is a great way to raise money...selling on ebay, & selecting Shelter Pet Partners as the charity to donate your sales to.