BarkingProse where dogs have their say Thu, 17 May 2018 17:45:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 121895799 Not The Best Decision Thu, 17 May 2018 13:41:25 +0000


Did you ever have a day that didn’t go so well? I did. Yesterday things started out fine. Me and Journey were having a good old time running and romping.

Mom let us in the big front yard, which is our favorite place. It has a low muddy spot along the fence where Journey likes to hide her old bones.

On this particular day Journey dug up a real stinky bone and wouldn’t let me near it. I got frustrated so I started digging next to her kicking mud and grass all over her.

The more I dug the more she teased me. The more she teased me the madder I got.

I dug so deep I could finally wallow in the squishy, stinky mud. It was wonderful.

After a while Mom came to check on us. I heard her whistle and went running to greet her. Journey quick hid her bone and then came running up behind me.

Usually when Mom calls and we come she acts all excited and praises us like we just did something really special. This time her voice sounded different.

She slipped us a treat for coming but then real quick snapped a leash on my collar. Journey got another treat and settled down in her crate.

Mom still had her treat bag so I figured we were going to do some training. Wrong! We were headed to the bath tub.

Mom asked me politely to jump in the tub. I looked at her like she was crazy, but she enticed me with a whole handful of treats so I reluctantly climbed in.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and even the warm water didn’t make things any better.

Mom worked on me for a long time. Apparently mud gets stuck tight to us long haired dogs. That doesn’t explain why the mud stuck to my short haired snout like glue.

Finally it was over. I got a good rub down, rolled around on the rug, then went into my crate for a bone.

Do you know what the reward is for taking a bath? You get to come in the house and hang out with your people. So I climbed up on my favorite bunk and took a snooze. Notice the clean snout……



]]> 0 6474
Beyond The Grave Sat, 10 Feb 2018 16:53:01 +0000


Me and Finn promised Mom we would get BarkingProse going again. So I started looking through some of the earlier barks and I found one that Ash wrote before he got sick.

I’m not sure why he never published it, but it was just sitting in the box of draft barks waiting for him to make the final edits.

Ash did most of the barks for BarkingProse. He was thoughtful and silly and always had something to say.

At first I didn’t know what to do with his last bark. Then I remembered that famous people get their stuff published after they’re gone so why not Ash? This is what Ash wrote just before he died. He picked the pictures too.

Asher’s Last Bark

I was deep into my favorite dream. Whimpering and kicking, I was running through the ravine chasing coyotes and having myself a good old time.

All of a sudden I felt Codie’s spirit. “Codie!” I shouted, but my bark was hardly louder than a whisper.

“I’m right here, Ash,” Codie said. “There’s no need to shout.”

I burst into tears and ran to her. Blubbering like a fool I told her about all the dogs we’d lost and how much my heart ached to see them all again.

“They’re not lost, Ash,” Codie said. “They’re in your heart and mind. They’re beautiful memories in your soul.”

“But….” I couldn’t even get the words out before Codie interrupted me.

“Ash, I know you miss me and the other dogs. But when you really need me I will come to you. It won’t be all that long before we’re together again,” Codie said.

Then I woke up remembering the dream like it had been real. Maybe it was.

Me and Journey have each other and we have a neighbor dog we hang with. But I long for the way it used to be. I long for a worn out mutt like Nellie,  I long for my girlfriend, Tess. I long for Codie, the dog who raised me.

A few years ago we had the best four-pack. I was the easy going top dog, Tess ran the pack, Jack did whatever he was told, and sweet Nellie was just grateful to have a home.

Mom used to take us joy riding. That meant a nice long ride in the car followed by a special treat somewhere. We were so happy.

The Pack

After Nellie and Jack crossed over, we added Mama and Shiloh to our pack. It wasn’t quite the same but we had some wonderful times together. Then they were all gone except for me and Journey.

It’s a good life. Journey goes to school once a week and I get lots of walks with mom. But deep down I feel like something’s missing.

I feel like part of my heart is on the other side of the bridge. I feel like I need to find my old pack again.

I know it will be hard on Journey when I leave her. But Mom will find her a pal and they’ll have good times too.

There’s more to say but right now I can’t find the words. Maybe I’ll do the crazy chase with Journey and come back to this bark when my head is clear.








]]> 0 6301
I Am Finn Fri, 09 Feb 2018 16:09:31 +0000


I am Finn, the newest member of our pack. I carry the blood lines of Asher, our founder. I was conceived within days of Asher’s death.

Ash gave up his body so I could go to Asherpark. He was too young to die but he was summoned, and I was born to take his place at Asherpark.

Though I’m still a puppy, I am an old soul. I was born knowing what Asher knew. It’s as if his soul was transfused into mine and I instantly understood what it had taken Ash eleven years to learn.

Though I know more than I should at my age, I struggle to be brave like Ash. Perhaps that will come with age and experience, but for now I’m happy to follow Journey and feel safe in her presence.

Journey and Finn

After Ash died Journey needed me. She was so lonely. Journey spent her time hunting moles and rats. She honed her skills and caught quite a few varmints, but she was still lonely.

Now that I’m at Asherpark Journey and I have to up our game and bring BarkingProse back to life.

Journey is doing some fun stuff she can bark about. She’s been learning nose work and soon can take her first test.

I’m in my second obedience class and get lots of praise for being calm and listening to mom. When I graduate I will get to take outdoor classes and go fun places.

That’s all I have to say for now. My puppy brain is tired so I think Journey and I will go chase the rabbits.





]]> 0 6450
We Give Thanks Thu, 23 Nov 2017 15:47:17 +0000

So many dogs, so many memories. Each canine soul opened our hearts, made us laugh, and ultimately left us groaning through our tears as we said good-bye to them one by one.

It has been a lifetime of muddy paw prints, nose smears on windows, barks, and happy chaos.

Each dog taught us something we needed to learn, then left us to ponder the meaning of that lesson as we welcomed one new soul after another into our pack.

Dogs chosen as puppies, dogs rescued by choice, dogs rescued on the fly as a last minute reprieve from the executioner. Each soul equally precious. Each soul left an indelible mark in our lives.

As Americans we have chosen the fourth Thursday in November to focus on gratitude and give thanks for what matters most to us. Today at Asherpark we remember with love and gratitude the amazing dogs who have graced our lives, and we give thanks.















]]> 0 6426
Rest In Peace Sat, 17 Jun 2017 13:49:15 +0000



February 7, 2006 – June 15, 2017


Asher was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma on June 8th. The disease ravaged his body but could not touch his sweet soul.

Neither surgery nor chemotherapy were viable options. Besides, he wanted to spend his last days chasing imaginary coyotes at Asherpark with his beloved Journey.

During the last week of his life, Ash continued to shower the world with licks and kisses. He barked rudely for his ball, played a little bump and run with Journey, and enjoyed every meal, bone, and treat that came his way.

Despite his growing discomfort, Ash never withdrew. He had to put on a show for his friends. He followed his mom everywhere and lay quietly at her side as she wrote this post.

 “He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 1

Godspeed, Ash. You will be forever missed.



1Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

]]> 3 6384
Stoned! Sat, 11 Feb 2017 20:22:33 +0000


Journey is a happy little mutt. She’s not even two years old and she already knows lots of commands. She has great house manners and everybody loves her.

But Journey is still a puppy and like any puppy her mouth is always busy. She has a nose like a bloodhound and finds the tiniest most obscure piece of food or junk to eat.

Mom has been trying to teach Journey not to eat stuff she finds on the ground, but so far Journey’s not cooperating. Sometimes Journey will trade up if mom has a really good treat, but usually she swallows the treasure before mom can stop her.

Last week Journey gobbled up something that smelled good. Me and mom didn’t see her do it and we have no idea where she found it or what it looked like. Journey couldn’t remember because she’d eaten a bunch of junk that day.

Me and Journey lay down for our nap like usual, but when Journey woke up something was bad wrong. Journey was lying in a big puddle of urine that leaked out while she was asleep. She was real embarrassed because she never has accidents in the house. Mom thought maybe Journey had an infection and was about to call the vet when it happened again.

Mom took Journey outside to go pee. Journey could hardly walk and staggered around like she was drunk. Mom carried Journey back in the house and put her on the couch while she called the vet. We were all worried something terrible about Journey.

Journey started to nod off on the couch. Her eyes were funny looking – all pupil and none of her pretty blue. When mom shined a light in Journey’s eyes, the pupil stayed big.

Journey woke up enough so she could get herself to the car. Mom lifted her up and put her in her crate. I jumped in next to Journey and we raced off to the emergency vet. I know mom was super worried. Was Journey having a stroke? Did she eat poison?

The emergency vet took us in right away. He watched Journey for a few minutes and asked mom a bunch of questions. Then he looked up and said he thought it was a THC overdose. I was just about to ask mom what is THC when the vet said, “It looks like Journey has overdosed on marijuana.”

What the heck?  We don’t have marijuana so where did Journey get it? I was wracking my brain. We’d had company the day before and there had been three different guys working at the house. But they sure wouldn’t have given Journey some of their stash. The little fool had to have found it on the ground or swiped it from somebody.

The vet said he could run a pee test to prove that Journey got into THC, so we paid extra just to confirm the diagnosis. Sure enough, it came back positive for THC.

Journey was starting to act normal, so the vet said she could go home. If her symptoms had been worse, she would have had to stay with the vet in case her blood pressure dropped and she went into a coma. How scary is that thought??

When we got Journey home she drank a bunch of water, ate some treats, raced around the yard and then collapsed on her bed. This time when she woke up there was no puddle of urine and the blue part of her eyes was showing.

Journey kept apologizing for causing such a fuss. She said she didn’t know that what she ate had marijuana in it, but it must have tasted pretty good and she couldn’t promise not to do it again.

It’s hard to stay mad at Journey even though she scared us silly. I’m just so grateful she’s okay. Stoned or sober, I love our little Journey.



]]> 3 6344
What Now? Thu, 09 Feb 2017 16:08:02 +0000


I turned eleven on February 7th. I’m officially a ‘senior’ dog, though nobody has bothered to tell me what that means.

I’ve had some sports injuries and I can’t jump like I used to, but I can still outrun Journey when we race down the driveway.

Mom says she and I are now at the same stage in life. That’s okay with me since mom can still take us hiking and do silly things with us.

I just wish mom would quit riding horses. She leaves me and Journey at home when she goes to the barn ’cause the horses don’t like us.

Mom tells me I will always be a silly boy no matter how old I get. I hope that’s true. Silly is fun and fun is good.

Journey keeps asking me when we’re gonna find another rescue dog that needs a home. I know mom misses having a pack of worn out mutts underfoot.

But it’s hard to know what to do. Should we get an old mutt who just needs a place to hang out? It would have to be a special dog that didn’t mind Journey racing around the house and using me for a landing pad.

Or should we pull a young dog out of a shelter so that Journey has somebody to play with when I don’t feel like Aussie slam games?

Mom says we have to be patient. The right dog will find us. In the meantime me and mom do fun stuff. She trusts me off leash so we walk together in quiet places.

Sometimes I wish you could put life on rewind and go back to times when everything was just right. Maybe that’s what pictures are for. They remind you of a special time that you want to remember forever.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures. It’s me and Tess with Jack and Nellie in the back of the car. It was crowded but we sure had fun together.

The Pack

It’s hard to make sense of things. If we hang onto the past we can miss the present. Without living in the present we won’t make a past to remember. I don’t know what to think, so I try to enjoy every minute of my life the way it is. And right now I have little Journey, the best pal a mutt could have. She’s my present and my future. She’s pure joy and I love having her as my sidekick.





]]> 1 6325
Here We Go Sat, 08 Oct 2016 15:46:55 +0000 Journey


I promised Ash that I would do my part to keep BarkingProse running. I’d rather be out messing with the alpacas, but a promise is a promise.

The hardest thing for me is to pick a topic. Maybe it’s my age but I’m kinda all over the place. One day I want to post a bunch of blue dog baby pictures. Next I want to bark about what I did in class and how much I hate riding in elevators.

Ash said I should take a deep breath, stop running around in circles, and look inside my head for a picture of what I want to bark about.

That seemed like a silly way to start the process, but when I did that I got the clearest picture of Tess. That was strange because I never met Tess in this life, though we crossed paths in the spirit world before I was born.

I started going through old family pictures and suddenly I felt like Tess was with me, inside my head and heart. I got the strange feeling that Tess wasn’t gone, we just can’t see her.



Tess was a beautiful girl. She had gorgeous red fur and a great big smile. Ash loved her with all his heart. They used to lie around in the back yard shooting the breeze and barking at shadows.

Tess and Ash

Ash taught Tess how to play bump and run, but mostly they just had fun being together. Life is good when you have a best friend, but it hurts something awful to lose that friend.

Tess and Ash

Tess and Ash


Tess was beautiful on the outside, but inside she wasn’t built so good. She had the worst case of hip dysplasia the vet had ever seen and surgery couldn’t fix it. Then Tess got sick. Tests showed she had a huge tumor in her belly and her life in this world would soon be over.

Ash can’t talk about the last day he had with Tess. His blue eyes fill with tears and his lip quivers, but no words come out.

After Tess died Ash used to run away from home almost every day. Mom could hear him crashing through the brush, but he wouldn’t come back until he was worn out and hungry.

Mom knew how lonely Ash was without Tess. She knew Ash needed a friend, one of his own kind, another blue Aussie dog. That’s why I’m here. Ash won’t ever stop missing Tess, but now he has me and we’re hoping he won’t be so lonely anymore.

Ash and Journey

Ash and Journey



]]> 1 6309
Time Moves On Sat, 01 Oct 2016 15:58:34 +0000 Ash


Time is a tricky thing. It brings you the future but it also takes away the present. I’m just a mutt, but I know that time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some things can’t be fixed. Some losses are forever.

It’s been five months since Shiloh left us. I miss that little girl every day.

I’m not sure what the universe had in mind when it gave Shiloh so many challenges. I do know she overcame abuse, starvation, a crippled body and cancer to live a happy life at Asherpark.

My life has come full circle since I was born in 2006. I was one of two blue dogs when I joined my beloved Codie. She died in 2009 but I still miss her like it was yesterday.

For six years we took in as many rescue dogs as we could manage. Mom would have brought in more but there wasn’t space in the bedroom for another mutt.

One by one we said goodbye to the rescue dogs we had come to love: Darcy, Nellie, Jack, Mama, Tess and finally Shiloh. Now it’s just two blue dogs again – me and Journey.

Ash and Journey

Ash and Journey

A couple weeks ago Journey asked me why we weren’t posting Barks anymore. I told her we were too busy with classes and all her training, but that wasn’t the real reason.

After Shiloh died my heart felt  heavy. Even the funny things Journey did couldn’t make me laugh. Then one day I saw Journey loving on mom. Journey’s little butt was wiggling, her tongue was going a mile a minute, and mom was laughing like the old days.

That’s when I realized I had to let go of missing Shiloh. I couldn’t keep wishing for the past. Little Journey is already sixteen months old. I’m ten years old. Time keeps bringing us lots of good stuff. I gotta pay attention to what’s happening now.

This morning I told Journey the truth about why we hadn’t been posting Barks. She looked at me real sad for a minute. I thought she was gonna cry.

Instead Journey looked right into my heart and said, “We can do this Ash. We can keep BarkingProse running. We’re working dogs……we can do this!”

Yes we can, Journey. Yes we can.




]]> 2 6290
Heart Full Of Sorrow Tue, 24 May 2016 14:35:33 +0000


Sometimes I get to thinking too much and it makes my head hurt. When Tess was with me I’d play some bump and run with her and forget about what made me sad. Now I’m sad because Tess isn’t with me anymore.

I’m so grateful I have Journey. She can’t replace Tess but she has such a sunny spirit she always makes me smile. When I look at her I see myself as a pup.

Now I’m raising a pup of my own. I’m Uncle Ash to Journey and she looks at me with the same trust I felt for Codie.

What’s making me sad is thinking about all the mutts that have passed through Asherpark. It feels like one loss after another starting with my beloved Aunt Codie, who helped raise me from a pup and taught me my manners.

We said good-bye to Shiloh two weeks ago. We all knew her end was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We only had Shi for three years, but she’ll stay in our hearts forever.

Shiloh lived a lot longer than anyone expected. She was diagnosed with cancer eighteen months ago. We were told she might only have a few months to live, but that little mutt fooled everybody.

On her last day Shiloh told me she wanted to talk to me. We wandered down by the front gate while Journey was busy chasing flies. Shiloh lay in the cool green grass and sniffed the wind.

Shiloh said she was ready to give up her body and become a spirit dog. She said she wasn’t afraid to die but she worried about leaving the rest of us behind.

“You have a great big bark but you’re really a big softie,” Shiloh said. “You’ve wept for every dog who’s crossed over.”

It’s true. I’ve loved every mutt who has called Asherpark home. I miss them all terribly.

“I know you’re gonna cry when I go, Ash. That’s okay. Your tears show me how much I mattered to you,” Shiloh said.

“I love you, Shiloh!” I blurted out.

“I know, Ash. I love you too,” Shiloh whispered.

Shiloh straightened up her crooked back. She lifted her head high and let the breeze blow through her beautiful creamy fur.



“Courage, Ash. When you think of me I want you to remember my courage. I had everything going against me, but I never gave up. Don’t you give up either,” Shiloh implored.

We walked slowly back to the house. It was all I could do to keep from blubbering.

“I promise, Shiloh. I promise.”


]]> 0 6016