Educator, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Animal Rights Advocate
America’s Best Tails Contestant: Susan Blatz and Barley

Dog behaviorist Susan Blatz had a very special foster named Barley – little did she know Barley had already made the decision their friendship was much more than a foster. Hear the full, touching story on this week’s “For the Love of Dogs.”

As I am sitting on the couch reading the paper, I hear the thump, thump, thump of a wagging tail hitting the floor… Looking over at my dog Barley, I see he is nervously watching our foster dog, who is sleeping on a dog bed in the next room. Barley is my indicator dog, and he is ever alert to any household upset, at least regarding the other dogs.

I get up and check, to find my foster dog is surreptitiously shredding the bed he is lying on.

Good call Barley, thanks.

Four years ago, heading home from Love Field, they saw him; a skinny black dog, in the bad side of town, scrounging what he could out of a turned over garbage can. His plight touched their hearts, and this family did what many do not, they stopped, put him in their car and took him home. These people are my clients.

I got the call Monday. They had not been able to find a place for this sweet dog, so I offered to foster him until we could find him a forever home.

Barley got along with every dog in my house. He played with the lively dogs, gave a wide berth to the cranky dog, and tip toed around the old dog. He learned the house rules quickly, was eager to please, and was sweet and sensitive.

Such an easy dog, no doubt he will be adopted quickly.

Everyone who met him, adored him.

Almost every Saturday for over a year we went to adoption Meet and Greets, or on social outings.

Unfortunately, a black dog does not stand out, amid the group of cute, fluffy, small, or full breed dogs, all looking for their forever homes, as well… Barley became a victim of “Black Dog Syndrome.” Black dogs are slow to get adopted.

Why? It is not as easy to read facial expressions on black dogs and they are hard to photograph. Sometimes people are afraid of black dogs. To top it off, Barley would start a high pitch wail whenever I went out of his sight…

I finally gave up trying to get him adopted. Barley is a happy, and valuable member of our household. He likes chasing squirrels, playing with all the other dogs, and is a big brother to the various foster dogs that pass through our home. He shows them the ropes, and fusses at them when they push the boundaries. Sometimes he tells on them.

I am so lucky to have him by my side. Thing is, Barley always knew he was my dog.

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