Last Friday (June 13, 2008) evening I got a phone call from Tracey Fulmer alerting me to a Kerry in the shelter in Visalia, here in California. Looking
at the posting on Petfinder there was no question at all that this was a Kerry boy. I started out at 9 pm that night frantically making phone calls
to the few Kerry people in that area, after striking out on reaching either of the first two people I hit gold when I called Gary O'Neil - he was immediately
"on the job". I called the shelter and left messages, also emailing them including a copy of the Foundation's non-profit certificate.
Early Saturday morning I was off to watch Riley and Bird run agility, but only with my trusty cell phone in hand. When the shelter opened at 9 am their phone was ringing. They were very nice and agreed to pull Barney from the trucks that were taking dogs to off site adoption fairs that morning and hold him for Gary to pick up. He had been an owner surrender and they had enough information that there was no doubt as to his heritage, though the identity of his breeder was unknown. By mid-afternoon on Saturday Gary reported to me that he had a very nice young Kerry in hand and that all was well. Gary fostered Barney through the week and was able to report back to me that while Barney doesn't like to share his food bowl with another dog he was otherwise getting along fine with Gary's Glen of Imaal female. He was affectionate and well mannered. He has been debarked.
This Saturday I set out on the two hour drive to meet Gary halfway between his home and mine. We met at Casa de Fruta in Hollister which is a gigantic fruit stand/restaurant/tourist spot. Due to car problems and traffic I was nearly 2 hours late getting there, but Gary is patient and when I finally arrived I found him sitting at an outside table with both of the dogs behaving perfectly. From there I took Barney, who rode like an angel on a seat belt in the back of my van another two hours all the way to Santa Cruz where I was to deliver him to his new family.
Barbara Feldthaus had a Kerry named Blue 30 years ago and she has been wishing for another Kerry boy ever since. She has an adult daughter who lives nearby and visits her on weekends. When I arrived at the lane leading to Barbara's house her daughter was standing in the lane waiting for us. I slowed to a stop to check directions (not knowing right away that this was Barbara's daughter) and when I rolled down the window Barney tried to climb out over my shoulder to give Miriam kisses - it was like he knew this was his family! Barbara is an antique dealer and her home was full of strange objects including a mounted deer head on the wall in the living room. Barney was very polite but also very interested in his surroundings and when he noticed the deer he climbed up on a chair, onto the back of it, stretching to touch noses with the deer!! I loved it!
By the time I got home that night there was a phone message from Barbara to tell me that they had had a long walk down to the harbor and both she and Barney had really enjoyed it. I'm so happy that this young dog has such a loving home to go to and that he is making Barbara and Miriam happy. [...]
I need to do some detective work, but it seems that Barney is 3.5 years old and came from a puppy mill in Nebraska - one of those with extensive websites and selling multiple breeds of dogs, including mixed breed dogs. We've rescued dogs that were products of this mill before and Barney actually looks very much like a girl named Carly who came into rescue two years ago. I'm curious to see if they are related. I'm also glad to report that this mill no longer has Kerries.
Please, if you are considering getting a dog and you look at elaborate websites professing to be a small home bred kennel BE AWARE that when they sell multiple breeds they are generally a puppy mill. Put your money back in your pocket and DON'T BUY from them. From Barney's history and the beginnings of my research it seems to me that with a reputable breeder and the support that these breeders offer their puppy buyers Barney would have remained in his original home. As it is the owners had no support, made some mistakes and Barney paid the price. But then again, all's well that ends well.
Rescue Coordinator for the Southwest