Barney’s first year
August 9, 2014
Barney (at right) celebrates his first birthday with his dog-park pal, Flora, after a chaste sleepover the night before. The cake isn’t real; it’s mostly Photoshop.
Like most dogs, Barney likes the smells of nature, but he prefers greeting people, giving specially big wags for Richard and his sister Leslie (below), who emerge from a theater in Staunton, Va.
Barney bounds through the grass and dandelions on the reservoir hill at Ft. Reno, D.C.’s highest ground, and then poses amid fallen cherry blossoms.
With help from trainers at the Washington Animal Rescue League (now the Humane Rescue Alliance), Barney’s humans (mostly Richard) school him in obedience, agility and finding things with his fine nose.
Carrying five months’ added weight and hair, Barney returns to the front-yard setting of his November 2013 glamour shot at age 3 months.
He’s strutting at dog parks (above, in Adams-Morgan) and tugging hard on rope toys.
With the hair of Tina Turner and the goatee of D’Artagnan, Barney charms visitors Samantha (in March) and Dhes (in June).
Puppy playfulness and mischief is peaking after his fifth month, when he gets into toys (above) and rests in an off-limits chair. Soon he’s on the forbidden human bed.
Barney stars in our New Year’s 2014 card: Who said the savior will come in human form?
As his jaw gets stronger, Barney’s posse of stuffed toys (above) will begin to lose limbs and stuffing, and his morning drive to a dog park becomes a ritual (below).
He visits dog parks wherever we find them — below, in Roanoke, Va. (More on his dog-park experience here.)
We go to dog parks for off-leash running, battles over sticks, Barney’s general socialization to the ways of other dogs, and for our own fun, too.
Photos by Richard.
Even when Barney doesn’t find a partner for sustained romping, he and Richard get to meet a huge variety of pets at the big Shirlington dog park, including other Labradoodles (below) and a West Highland Terrier, which brings insistent pelvic action to every party.
When other four-leggers aren’t available, Barney’s favorite sport is chasing the Orange Varmint (known in retail as the Squishy Face Studio flirt pole), an orange toy connected by elastic cord to a short pole. Below, Richard’s nephew Charlie wields the pole. In contests with the average dog, the elastic (sproing!!) guarantees the human will win often enough to please both parties.
Earlier: Barney’s first 12 weeks.
Fiercely playful: 21st-century canine society in city dog parks.