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The Barney and Rusty Fund

Gifts to the Barney and Rusty Fund will be used to provide positive, force-free training for dogs who may need a little extra help to understand how to live harmoniously in an adoptive home.  The Fund was established by one of our volunteers in loving memory of their beloved dogs, Barney and Rusty.  They wished to honor Barney and Rusty in a way that would help dogs who needed behavioral support.  Behavioral issues are one of the primary reasons that dogs end up in shelters, and Hedgesville Hounds is grateful for this opportunity to support dogs and their humans with education and encouragement.  When donating to the Barney and Rusty Fund, please indicate your intention in the subject field of your check, or in the area entitled “purpose” on PayPal.

A Tribute to Barney and Rusty

From Our Volunteer

Barney and Rusty were two little dachshund ‘brothers’ who were also the beloved babies of our family for over 12 years. To us, Barney was ‘Malli Baba’ (baby younger brother) and Rusty was ‘Ayya Baba’ (baby older brother).

Barney was the quintessential spoilt child of the family, personifying ‘doxietude’ (dachshund attitude), but in a sweet and innocent way. He was cuddly and affectionate, but had grumpy opinions when he decided that he had had enough; he had more toys than he could count, but he never destroyed even one in his entire life; he barked like a snob at other dogs on his car rides, but asked to be taken in such an endearing way that my dad would delay his work and take the car out just so that Barney could have a drive.

He was so mellow throughout his life that we actually looked forward to his ‘bad dog’ moments!  Even then, he was not quite a ‘bad dog’ and we could never bring ourselves to scold him. One story goes that Barney found a bag of chicken just brought home from the grocery store. He made a small, methodical hole in the bag and serenely enjoyed a piece of chicken. When my mom found out, all she said was “Barney, how could you?” He responded as only Barney could. He worked those big puppy dog eyes and aimed a hurt expression which said “I was only checking to see if the chicken is safe for the family to eat.” My mom ended up apologizing to Barney for thinking any less of him. Many other stories end just like that, because the truth is, Barney really was our unfailing shadow - always looking out for the family.

Barney was a sensitive, dignified, and wise little soul - the thoughtful littlest member of the family who brought everyone together providing us with comfort, devotion, laughter, and love. He won the hearts of everyone who walked into our home. He was and always will be our eternal puppy. It is hard to imagine how someone so little could give out so much softness, love, and warmth. No wonder his heart was too big for his little body to sustain. He became very sick when he was only 7 years old. But Barney had spunk and he fought back and kept an eye on us for nearly 5 more years.   

Rusty was Barney’s opposite - athletic and rugged. He splashed about happily in water; he shredded all his toys AND his brother’s toys – much to Barney’s annoyance. Rusty lived to play fetch with his tennis ball and could take impressive midair catches. He worshiped his tennis ball so much that we once found him sheepishly sitting inside the outdoor sink unable to get back on ground after making a treacherous climb to ‘rescue’ his tennis ball (we hid it because he would chew and ingest it).

Handsome Rusty was more human than dog. This little compassionate soul would not hurt a fly. He would be as quick as the humans to clamber up on a chair if a mouse scurried by! The rest of the time, he was content having deep and very lengthy ‘conversations’ with us, babbling away in funny dog sounds. We would respond only guessing what was on his sweet doggie mind. But, most of all, Rusty was especially protective and devoted towards his little brother. They did not spend a day apart in their 12+ years together. Rusty would not eat until he knew his brother was fed too. Rusty would try to engage delicate Barney in rough play, and when his ruffled younger brother growled in irritation, Rusty would simply lick Barney and cheerfully sit down next to him.

After we lost Barney, Rusty seemed heartbroken. Soon afterwards, the always healthy and happy-go-lucky Rusty became very ill. Rusty’s sudden passing was a poignant loss for our family. We expected our robust Rusty to stay and have those sweet conversations with us much longer, but he went on to where he was happiest…next to Barney. They were born just 11 weeks apart and they left us within just 7 months of each other. Now, while our family home is painfully quiet, we can only find solace in the fact that our Ayya Baba and Malli Baba are back together.

We feel like we lost our two little boys too soon. But it seemed like the two of them had fulfilled their purpose in this life by taking care of us and it was time for them to move on. It was as if they were saying to us - “we had a lifetime of love and happiness and now there are other dogs out there waiting for the same and it is their turn.”

It is my wish now to not just give that turn to a handful of dogs as our future pets, but to as many as we can help. This is how the idea for this Fund in Barney’s and Rusty’s memory came to be. As sweet as they were, both boys offered us behavioral challenges and it took a lot of love and patience to work through those. At times, we could have used advice and encouragement to overcome them. Unlike our boys, unfortunately, too many pets find themselves homeless and even on death row when people do not understand how to overcome these challenges. Through this Fund, we wish to help Hedgesville Hounds dogs and their adopters to identify and address behavioral concerns, which will hopefully help even more dogs to find their lifetime home. I also have heartfelt appreciation for Hedgesville Hounds for supporting me in my endeavor to honor Barney and Rusty.

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