Barney's Medical Bills
This is a story about a little girl that always wanted a dog and a dog that always wanted a little girl~
Bianca is 7 years old and for years has asked for the companionship of a dog. This was not an unreasonable request, most children her age can learn a lot from caring for a pet. The sole conundrum being that Bianca has ADHD, is high energy, and tends to be loud. Her condition is not treated with disdain, as her parents find her to be the most loveable girl with amazing insight and intelligence. With that said, the latter would cause most dogs to shy away from her…
Until Barney came along…
As a small puppy, Barney was placed in an animal shelter. He was adopted, but sent back to the shelter, not once, but three times! The reason being that, “he doesn’t listen.” The third time he was sent to the shelter, he remained there for six months. A kind couple adopted Barney and loved him at first sight. They realized that Barney was not obstinate; he simply couldn’t listen to his previous owners because he was DEAF. They learned how to care for a deaf dog and had every intention of keeping him forever. Alas, they could not as they moved into housing that would not allow them to keep him. They called everyone they knew and discovered a family that was willing to take their beloved pet.
The first meeting…
It was uncertain how well Barney would fit in with his new family, and a deaf dog was something new and unfamiliar. The doubts were put to rest as soon as Barney entered their lives. Bianca was indeed high spirited and loud, but Barney was deaf and was not bothered at all. In fact, due to his disability, his sight and smell were heightened. He could track the little girl very well, and her bouncy, vocal personality was not at all distracting, but embraced. It was as if they were designed for one another. The first night Barney slept on Bianca’s bed, right next to her. Bianca hugged him close and told her mother that he was such a good dog. She further explained saying that Barney always wanted a little girl to understand him and to love him. Bianca had understood loneliness, as she was far advanced from her peers and often spent time alone, hoping that she would one day have a friend. She knew that Barney was that friend she had been waiting for.
The very next day, Bianca researched, “How to Train a Deaf Dog.” She immediately began learning how to use American Sign Language to communicate with Barney. She used the hand symbol for “B” and showed him. She told her mother, “That is probably the first time that he has ever seen his name.” She continued to train him by holding her hand open for “come” and a slash hand symbol for “no.” The symbols were a variation of American Sign and what she thought he understood.
Soon, the two began to understand each other very well.
One day on May 17, 2016, Bianca was at school. Barney went outside through his dog door. At the bottom of the steps, he was bitten in the chest by a rattlesnake. He did not know what happened, and he ran back into the house. Bianca’s mom came home and discovered Barney with a large bruise on his chest. She had Barney taken to the Animal Hospital right away. When Bianca came home from school she was told what had happened. She cried and feared that her new friend would not make it, as he was so small and snake venom was potent. She asked that her friends and family to pray for her best friend. She prayed that night asking the universe to spare her friend and let him return to her.
Barney spent a week at the animal hospital receiving intensive care treatment. He had to have IV fluids and antivenin. Bianca went to visit him as soon as the veterinarian would allow. She saw that Barney was in pain and had a large, weeping wound on his chest. She told the vet tech, “I don’t care if he is pussing; I am going to hug him.” And she did. Barney wagged his tail and watched for her to sign his name. She signed, “Barney it will be okay.” And then she sat with him and told him a story about a dog that was given superpowers from eating a magic onion. The powers made him so strong that he was able to fight a big snake and win! Barney could not hear her, but he watched her facial expressions the entire time. She tried to feed Barney, but he wouldn’t eat. He began to hang his head and Bianca asked the vet tech to please put him back to bed as, “He needs to rest.” Bianca thanked the Veterinary Staff for taking such good care of her friend.
On May 25, 2016 the Animal Hospital called the family and let them know that Barney could come home. Bianca was so excited and could not wait to have her friend back. (Barney slept on her bed every night and his absence had made her very sad, she longed to be with him again.) At the Animal Hospital she waited patiently for the vet tech to bring him out, she commented, “how long will it be before I can see him?” Suddenly, Barney was brought through a door into the waiting room. Bianca yelled, “Barney, it’s so good to see you!” Barney wagged his tail and ran into her arms. It made Bianca’s mom shed a tear or two.
They were kindred spirits…
Barney was so happy to be home! He was still very sick and needed medications and his wound had to be cleaned frequently. Bianca helped with his care and would walk with him outside to protect him from snakes. Bianca and her parents cared for Barney very well, and the swelling went down. Bianca slept next to him every night and would comfort him when he whimpered in pain. Bianca’s mom would find them cuddled next to each other every morning. Despite their best efforts, Barney developed a fever and the wound on his chest became necrotic. The necrotic skin sloughed off as expected, but the wound was very big, and Barney is such a small dog. Bianca’s mom took him back to the Animal Hospital. The vet tech told her that Barney had a fever and would need to stay there. Bianca’s mom signed to Barney that it would be, “okay” and that he had to “stay.” Barney understood what she signed and looked very sad. He did not want to leave his little girl again; they had only just found each other. Bianca’s mom shed a tear or two again and reassured the small dog with a sign saying, “it will be okay.” Barney slowly walked away, with his head down, following the vet tech.
The Animal Hospital called Bianca’s dad and explained that Barney would need to stay there for a while. Barney had to be sedated and a bandage placed on his wound. He would need to be given IV fluids and medications. He discussed this with Bianca, and she uneasily understood that she would have to wait for him to come home again. Bianca is scared of the dark and found it easier to cope with when Barney was there.
Bianca and Barney were strong apart, but stronger together.
Barney’s family cares for him intensely; however, they have a modest income. The veterinary bills have accrued to over $2,000.00. The antivenin alone cost $900.00. The first hospital stay was lengthy and this hospital stay will be lengthy as well. Barney will be there over the Memorial Day weekend. The veterinarian has assured us that he will survive this ordeal. Barney’s family is struggling to afford these ever increasing bills, especially with the cost of daycare coming up this summer. We have given to folks in need here on gofundme and are hoping for a pay it forward concept. Any support would be greatly appreciated, no matter how small. We understand if you cannot afford to give (but if not) could you please share this on your Facebook so that maybe someone who could assist may read our story?
A great thank you from the Alleson Family and a special dog named Barney.
P.S. Bianca’s Aunt is a great photographer and had planned to take a photo shoot of Bianca having a tea party with Barney prior to his injury. Bianca’s mom made a tie for Barney, so that he would look fancy. Anyone who donates, or inquires will have access to this photo once Barney is home again. Thank you!
Annie has gotten creative and made Barney shirts to cover the bandage so Barney cannot chew on or remove them. She made the first couple from scratch but now has taken to using my old tee shirts. You can see Barney sporting his new Beastie Boys tee.
We appreceate all the love and support that everyone has shown us and appreciate the care and dedication of the staff at Weaverville Animal Hospital.
Barney continues to heal and is in very good spirits. Bianca taught the vet technician how to sign to Barney so that they could understand each other. She let Barney know that he would have to stay at the Animal Hospital a bit longer.
A sincere THANK YOU to everyone that took an interest in this story and donated to help with expenses. We are very grateful and hope to be able to meet our goal. We look forward to having Barney return home. Please check in for more updates and share.