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One little dog’s story – Barkley the Yorkie mix

A little story about a little dog named Barkley

Barkley the Yorkie/Lhasa/MalteseSometimes I think I foster dogs for the greater good. It seems like the right thing to do. I love dogs. I certainly tolerate dogs. I know a lot about dogs. There are always more dogs that need temporary homes as they transition to a better life.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I foster dogs for selfish reasons. It makes me feel valued. A dog loves me no matter what, even if we just met. Even if I make all kinds of mistakes.

Barkley is one of those dogs. He came with a unique set of “issues.” I want to help him, but helping Barkley is also a way to help myself.

Everyone wants to know “the story” behind every rescue dog. Was he abandoned? Was he a mill dog? From the pound?

And if we don’t know these stories, we create our own.

Barkley could be one of those dogs, too. A dog with a made-up story about how he was abused and abandoned. I could be his hero.

An insecure dog

Barkley has a hard time dealing with stress. On our drive home, he shook the whole time. A lot of dogs will pace in the car or try to climb into the front seat. If I get out, they might bounce from seat to seat or scratch at the window. Barkley just shook, frozen.

At our house, Barkley had to learn how to go up and down the stairs.

When I moved a pillow from the couch to the floor, he wouldn’t go near that pillow.

He has a hard time understanding when it’s safe to walk through our glass patio door and when it is not.

In rare instances, if I move towards him in a certain way with a certain energy, he lashes out. Or sometimes he just crouches really low and urinates.

The poor dog, you might say.

And if I didn’t know Barkley’s story, I too would probably piece together some tale about his troubled past.

Sadly, there are dogs out there being abused. Right now. And there are dogs out there that have experienced violence. There are dogs that are suffering.

Barkley is not one of those dogs.

Most dogs have not been abused, not even insecure dogs like Barkley.

Here’s the real story about this little dog:

Barkley lived in a home with the same person for almost three years. And she probably loved him.


There are no fill in the blanks. This dog has had a good life.

The only sad piece to Barkley’s story could be from the very beginning.

He originally came from a pet shop – Pets R’ Inn at West Acres Mall in Fargo, N.D.

He is a “designer” dog. Half Yorkie. Half Maltese/Lhasa Apso.

That opens up a whole new discussion, I know. And what it highlights is that a dog’s breeding can determine quite a bit. Likewise, the first few weeks of a pup’s life, whether they are nurturing or not, have lasting effects on the dog he will become.

We can’t change that for Barkley. We can only move forward. That’s what he wants. That’s what every dog wants.

What’s the story of this one little dog?

His “story” is a good one. It will end happily. There’s likely an adoption in the works. He has a lot to look forward to.

Barkley the cute Yorkie Lhasa Apso mix

Brenda Wagner

Friday 1st of April 2016

Sounds a lot like our Bella that we adopted from the Humane Society. She has a lot of issues. She used to go outside and now she won't. She is stressed if you take her outside and wants to go back inside right away. She is scared of noises from lawn mowers, string trimmers, blowers, chainsaws, snowblower, pool pump and central air conditioner. She is not scared of thunder/rain storms or fireworks can't figure that one out. She is much happier being an inside dog. So with that being said she goes potty on a pee pad 90% of the time. If you let her out the room with the pee pad she gets sneaky and goes to another room and goes potty on the carpet. I hate having to limit her to just one room with the pee pad but not sure what to do with her. Not sure how to completely housebreak/train her. we have had her for 15 months now and not sure if it is going to get any better with the potty situation. She just isn't getting it. When she does go on her pad she does get praised and given a treat which she expects everytime she goes on the pad.

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 2nd of April 2016

Sorry to hear you're having trouble with her potty training. What is your ultimate goal? For her to use the pee pad but be able to have access to the full house without accidents?

I would go back to the basics as though you just adopted her today and pretend she knows nothing. Just supervise at all times and keep her in a small area when you can't. Keep rewarding her for going in the correct spots. I think the supervision when she's out of "her" room will be key, like keeping her on a leash so she can't wander off to pee somewhere else.


Thursday 13th of March 2014

Do you know the name of the person you got Barkley from? He looks like a dog I use to have named Barkley. But mine was a Dachshund mix breed.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 14th of March 2014

Barkley originally came from the pet shop in the mall. His original owner bought him as a puppy and had him for three years.


Friday 3rd of February 2012

cute story. hang in there, barkley!!! life is good :)

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 4th of February 2012


Stacey Lauren

Friday 3rd of February 2012

Awww... Barkley sounds a bit like my Theo, with the fearfulness and shaking. You are so sweet for giving him love and a home until he finds his forever home. He will come around and be an amazing pet for someone!

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 4th of February 2012

He sure will! I think your dog Theo is such a cutie!


Friday 3rd of February 2012

Thanks for this. A lot of people are quick to think that any dog with "issues" must have been abused. But I don't think this is the case.

A couple of months after getting Tarski, he suddenly (and seemingly for *no* reason) developed a fear of the banister side of the staircase leading out of our apartment. He'd never fallen, and as far as we could tell, no one had ever scared him there -- it's always either me or my husband who takes him out on walks and to go potty, and he goes up and down those stairs many, many times a day. But one day we realized that he was *terrified* of the banister side, and was trying to crawl to our other side and walk up against the wall.

We don't know what perceived trauma or real experience he had that caused him to have that fear, but if someone had met Tarski at that time, I can easily imagine them thinking he'd been thrown off a staircase or something, when no such thing happened.

Dogs that are naturally anxious can develop crazy fears at any time, and all too often we humans facilitate these fears and anxieties because *we're* the ones who have created some story to explain the behaviour, and we don't want to "retraumatize" the dog.

Anyway, this was good to hear from the foster perspective.

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 4th of February 2012

Interesting. I'm glad you pointed that out. Ace has some odd fears, but none of his fears have just suddenly appeared like that. He's always been scared of smoke and car exhaust, for example. I guess that's not such a bad thing to be scared of!