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September 27, 2009

Over The Rainbow Bridge: Barnum, June 5, 1995 - September 26, 2009

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our beloved German Shorthaired Pointer, Barnum. He's been a part of our family since the summer when my hubs Knute and I were married; we lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Newport, Rhode Island, with both Barnum and his littermate sister, Bailey.

Life in 600 square feet with not one, but two German Shorthaired Pointer puppies, was quite a circus. I spent many afternoons during the fall of 1995 taking both pups to what was then the dog park in Newport, RI, and to Second Beach just up the road in Middletown, RI. They ran and ran and ran, occasionally stopping to dig up a quahog (big ol' clam) from the wet sand to terrorize by barking at it.

We said goodbye to our beloved Bailey in July of 2007; she had battled Cushings disease for over four years and the time came where we needed to make the most heart-wrenching and soul-aching decision of releasing her from her suffering.

Because Barnum missed her terribly (my plantation blinds bear some chew marks of anxiety to prove it), and because we've always had two dogs, we adopted Brownie, a GSP puppy, from this fine organization, GSP Rescue of Ohio. I can't say enough about the good work they (and every grassroots level dog/breed rescue organization out there) do.

Barnum was the most gentle and loving GSP I've known (Brownie is now the 4th in our family); we called him Mr. Wiggles when he was younger because he didn't just wag his tail with joy when we walked in the door, he wiggled his whole body with joy.

I've always opined (and still do) that my dogs are better (and more fun) than any electronic home security system on the market. Bailey was the dog in charge of home security; she always kept an eye on the front door of the house and let us know (woof-woof!) if anyone was coming or going. She was friendly once she got to sniff your hand and lean against you a bit; Bailey was truly a clown.

Barnum was our dog in charge of personal security; he never left my side (I was forever shooing him out of the kitchen) and when the kids came along, he devoted himself to watching over them. When my oldest was a baby, he slept in her room or in front of her closed door when she napped. As my boys came along, he would sleep in front of their doors as well. Wherever the kids were, there was Barnum. He was so gentle with them and loved nothing more than curling up next to them.

This picture is of my daughter, learning to sit up with Barnum's gentle help (2001):

Even the last night of his life he spent curled up with the boys in our office as they watched TV. I am so grateful that he was happy with them right up to the very end.

Barnum went quickly and the mercy in his loss is that everything happened late at night when the kids were asleep. I'm so thankful that they didn't witness him falling, not being able to get up, and then wracked with seizures. It was spinal degeneration, our vet told us, and there was nothing more that we could do except push him gently toward the Rainbow Bridge.

And so we did and he is now Home where he is whole and happy and will run free once again with his sister Bailey and with Packer (my MIL's GSP who passed in 1999 and Ellie, my SIL's Lab who passed in 2008). I can see them in my mind's eye, racing down the beach chasing seagulls once again like they did when they were pups.

Thank you to all of you who have sent your prayers and condolences. I am touched by your thoughtfulness.

Before I end this, I would like to urge any and all of you to consider adopting your next dog or cat from an Animal Rescue. The need is great, especially since our economy is forcing families to give up their pets.

Go in peace, Barnum. We will miss you terribly.

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  1. I am so sorry for you and your family! I feel your pain! Our sympathy to your family.


  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. Pets are such a huge part of our families.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss!! I know your pain Very well Take Care!!

  4. So sorry to hear about, Barnum, Mare. Big hugs!!!

  5. Everyone: Thanks for your kind words - it means so much to me.

  6. We said goodbye to our Barkley in May, his littermate brother 4 years ago. Our hearts ache for them, but they are together again running free. May you and your family have peace and rejoice in the memories.

  7. Marianne - I am so sorry for your loss. :-( Wish I could give you a hug right now! I'll say a prayer for you and your family.


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