ALUKSNE - I met Barney on Dec. 29, 2009. It was a typical Latvian winter’s night, the temperature had dropped to -16 centigrade. I pulled into a petrol station and noticed a dog sitting by the door, looking a little forlorn.
It turned out he had been dumped there earlier in the afternoon and hadn’t moved. The cashier had fed him some pizza and he’d just sat there, waiting for someone to come to collect him.
When I called him over to the car it was clear he was being very submissive - head down and tail wagging slowly. I opened the back door to my car and motioned for him to get in. He put his front paws on the seat and just stood there looking at me. In that moment I decided if he allowed me to put him in the car, then I would look after him. If not, well, I wasn’t going to push the issue. Once in the car he livened up, clearly enjoying the warmth. My weekly shopping trip to Sigulda consisted of him licking my neck and ear the entire journey.
Barney has been my constant companion ever since; we have never been separated for more than a few hours and we’ve become very close friends. He was around six months old when I found him and he has stood by my side through good times and bad. When I took over the farm, he immediately accepted all the new arrivals and has never shown any problems with goats or chickens wandering around him, and, when the rabbits escaped he took it upon himself to show me where they were hiding.
So you can imagine how I felt when he started to have breathing problems four weeks ago. The first vet I visited seemed dismissive of my concerns that he had a serious problem. As Barney worsened, I visited a second vet who recommended I take him to Riga where he could gain access to better treatment.
It was a Friday night, three weeks ago that I sat up all night holding Barney in my arms - he couldn’t lie down because it made his breathing almost impossible. I reluctantly accepted that my buddy was going to die in my arms that night.
However, come Saturday morning, he was still stubbornly clinging on to life. I loaded him into my van and headed to Riga. The vet recommended to me was Kavet, on Brivibas iela, near the Alfa shopping center.
I am forever indebted to the work their vets did. Barney has spent three weeks with them and, despite having to change treatment, as Barney’s infection repeatedly became resistant to antibiotic after antibiotic... last Friday I had a call that I dreaded, he was having problems again and they were going to have to try a last round of medication. I traveled to Riga the next morning, knowing in all likelihood I would be going to say goodbye.
I am so pleased to say that I was wrong. Barney responded well to the new medication and two days ago I returned to the vet to collect my best pal and bring him home.
Barney is still having treatment at home and damage to his lungs will be permanent, but he is almost back to his usual self. For the first time in weeks I have managed to relax and sleep well: I’ve got my Barney back home and I can’t even begin to describe my relief.
I want to also give a sincere Thank You to everyone at Kavet.
Now I can concentrate on the job of preparing for the coming year’s work at the farm with the happy knowledge that my best pal will be around to enjoy his life in the countryside with me and the other dogs.