Pamwla Wetterman

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Barkleah James, the Wetterman Clown


Animal Planet had it right when they featured the Toy Fox Terrier breed. They are often referred to as the clown. Two things they don’t like—water and small children. We soon learned that Barkleah’s fear of kids and water was a natural self-preservation defense for very small dogs.

Barkleah joined our family pet collection the Christmas of 2006. Our son, Jeff, living in a condo, missed having a dog. After a great deal of research into small dogs that thrive indoors, his number one choice was a Toy Fox Terrier.
The first time we met Barkleah he weighed less than four pounds and spent most of his time in a cuddle sack nestled inside our son’s shirt where he felt safe next to Jeff’s beating heart. Having had experience with Golden Retrievers and Labs, Barkleah appeared more like an ant than a puppy. When he bounced around the room in play, my greatest fear was stepping on him, and he would be NO MORE.


Barkleah gained immediate acceptance from our tender hearted Bailey. Although she wasn’t sure what he was, she knew he was a Wetterman. 
As time went on, Bailey worked hard to teach Barkleah how to watch for trouble out the front windows, bark continuously at the threat, and then tramp off to catch a nap. She worked with him on his sanitary training and soon had him mirroring her trips outside. Unfortunately, Barkleah never picked up on the required bark by the door to get human assistance. He patiently stood at the door waiting for someone to notice. Oops!
If it was raining, forget any trips by Barkleah, he knew when it was wet outside.
While Bailey slept on the patio in shade, Barkleah found warm, sunny spots to bake. As Bailey romped in the grass, surveying her fenced in yard, Barkleah gingerly hopped like a bunny rabbit to keep the grass off his feet as much as possible. The two were as different as water and land.
They both loved shopping at the pet store. Bailey hunted small children to receive pets and strokes on her head, while Barkleah growled as kids approached.
We had the opportunity to have Barkleah move in with us when our son took a position with the U. S. State Department and moved to Romania for a year. Bailey was thrilled. She loved his company and the two were like Mutt and Jeff.
Having Barkleah with us full time, we soon noticed he had many cat-like behaviors. He lay atop the back of any chair or sofa in the sun. This was his position for bathing. Daily, he licked his paws to wash his face along with Carlos, the cat.  He slept buried in blankets atop our bed or on the couch in my office. When I threw a pile of sheets on the bed to fold, he crawled inside the warmth for a long nap—folding had to wait.  He curled up in the armchair in Bill’s office for napping. Not only was he sweet and cuddly, but he required continuous companionship.
By the time our son returned from his job in Romania, Barkleah was settled in with us and our routine. How would we survive with him moving back to the condo? Of course, like any civilized family, we drew up a custody plan and shared Barkleah Three nights with his daddy, and four with his grandparents—not perfect, but it was worth it. Bailey no longer had to be an only dog pet.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Carlos Is Back
Our home is often a sanctuary for the pets of family and friends.  Naturally, we attempt to match up the visiting guests to be compatible with our personal doggies. However, at times we have ventured out of our comfort zone, introduced natural enemies, and enjoyed humorous results. 
One Sunday evening we received an emergency call from our eldest grandson. He had recently moved to Colorado Springs and faced an emergency situation. He had moved to Colorado at the same time the wild fires were consuming homes and forests this summer. He needed a safe habitat for his Maine Coon cat, Carlos. All the animal shelters were full and Carlos was ill from the smoke.
Plans were made to meet our grandson halfway between Tulsa and Colorado Springs. We traveled with Barkleah, our Toy Fox Terrier, and made the drop sight within five hours. Carlos was gingerly placed in my arms and we turned the car around and headed for home.
Barkleah, nestled in my lap, looked up, gave Carlos a deep threatening growl as if to say, “This is my Mommy—you find another lap.” Carlos, a sweet, laid-back kitty, meowed as if he understood and settled down on the side of my seat and fell asleep. An hour later, Carlos climbed up on my shoulders, wrapped himself around my neck, and fell asleep. He rode there the rest of our travels—what a long tiring trip.
Once home, we held our breath as Carlos and Barkleah staked out their territory. Barkleah weighed only one-half pound less than Carlos. But Senior Carlos appeared much larger. His full face, long thick fur, and huge paws gave him a powerful presence. The two ignored each other for the rest of the day.
That evening, Carlos slept on the bench in our bedroom and Barkleah remained captain of the king-sized bed. The next morning, Barkleah and Carlos discovered that they both loved to play with little jingly cat balls. Barkleah, not one to share, raced and grabbed every ball Carlos chased and hid it under the bed in our master bedroom. Not to be out done, Carlos attacked the squeaky mouse and tugged on the tail. Naturally, Barklean intervened. Soon the mouse had been hidden under the couch.
Carlos, finally ready for a challenge, stood nose to nose with Barkleah and the two jumped around in a circle, never breaking their eye contact. Once they had completed a full circle, Carlos placed his huge paws on Barkleah’s shoulders and rose up on his back feet. Barkleah responded in kind. They fought like two sumo wrestlers. We watched in amazement. Barkleah had a new friend.
Carlos gave us a few moments of concern during his stay. He loved to sleep in hideaway places and if you called him, he remained silent. If a closet or cupboard door was left open, he soon found a place to sleep. His powerful back legs allow him to jump onto a shelf and disappear.

What a gift Carlos gave us with his sweet purrs, his loving meows, and his playful nature. He has returned home to live with his beloved owner. We miss him a great deal. Maybe he will come for a visit for Christmas.