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Barney Got Hit By A Car
This isn't really a happy entry.
I've been busy on a lot of projects lately, and I supposed I should be posting pictures of them. However, there's a bit of news that I should probably share with those of you who still check this page (in spite of the fact that I haven't updated in 2 months.)

Barney got hit by a car.

I'm doing this post a little unprepared, so bear with me. The last couple of months here with Barney have been pretty swell. We've seen some wildlife...

...earned the trust of the sheep...

...and had a chance to meet the neighbors.

I've become a bit of a farmhand/handyman around here. Not only have I been doing projects around the property here, but I've also been hired a couple of times by a couple other people, both of whom have had me back since for odd jobs. It hasn't been enough to make a living, but it's been enough to stay afloat for the time being. Of course, whenever I'm working Barney is usually alone, so he likes me to be free as much as possible. However, I've also noticed he likes to eat, so there's a bit of a tradeoff going there.

And recently, there's been a bit more of a tradeoff.

Lately, I've been a bit more trusting of Barney. Michele has had me fence in a lot more of the property for her sheep, so I'd been letting Barney go outside without his chain from time to time. Initially he'd run straight toward the neighbors and be obnoxious, but lately he'd been hanging more around the little cottage. It had gotten to the point where, if I was working on the uphill part of the property (several hundred feet away from the road) I would let Barney wander freely.

Of course, every now and then a visitor would come up the driveway. Being a dog, Barney felt the need to run up and bark at every car. Of course, the drivers would see him and stop, giving me enough time to get him back under control. Unfortunately, Barney was beginning to make a very poor assumption - he had learned that he was cute enough to stop cars in their tracks.

I was aware of this, which made me feel all the more guilty about what happened. Barney was wandering free, off of his leash and hanging up near the house when someone needed to move a car. I'm not 100% certain on all of the details, but as far as I can tell, this is what happened: The driver checked under the vehicle for dogs and found it to be clear. She then opened the door. Barney, hearing a door open and having no fear of cars, thought that someone was going for a trip and decided to invite himself along. He started walking toward the car. By the time he made it to the car, the door was already closed and the engine was starting. Barney was directly behind the front passenger tire, and decided to lie down.

As the car backed up, Barney yelped and the driver immediately stopped. This got my attention, and I got to see my little dog trapped under the tire. By the time I got to the car, the driver had inched forward again to let him loose.

Fortunately, Barney was able to get up and walk away on his own. And he was (so thankfully) alive. However, he was only using three legs. The fourth (rear left) was pretty scraped up and bloodied, and his little doggie belly was a mess of blood and gravel.

I don't want to get into details - they're pretty gross, and I'm sure nobody wants to hear them. I ended up taking him to the vet, and they confirmed that none of his little doggy bones were broken, and that none of his little doggy organs were ruptured. His skin was a mess, but that would heal. They gave me some painkillers and antibiotics to give to him and released him, telling me to watch him closely and giving me a whole list of things to panic about should they happen.

For the next couple of days, Barney was heartbreakingly sullen. His ears were pinned back all the time. His little doggy tail, which is always held up with pride, was now tucked tightly downward. Because of his injury, he was afraid to sit or lie down, so unless I flipped him onto his back, he would be standing all the time. He was also skittish and nervous, so even when I DID flip him, he would jump back up in a few minutes. I got to watch as my drugged, exhausted, and sleep-deprived little dog tried to fall asleep while standing, only to see his legs wobble, see him get struck with pain, and watch him jerk back awake, unable to rest.

This little dog, who formerly has been so full of life and energy that he could run alongside my bike for 10 miles and still have the energy to chew on my shoes while I was wearing them AND walking... now, this little dog didn't even have the strength to sleep. And he would stare at me with blank, distant eyes, as though he wanted to ask me, the one sure constant in his life, questions that he knew I didn't have the answers to. Then he'd wobble over to me and try to lean against me, hoping that maybe he could balance against me just long enough to where he could get another minute of sleep before the pain spasmed through him again.

I have no idea how parents can handle seeing their children get hurt, because watching my little dog recover like this was grueling enough as it was.

Today, Barney's doing much better. His little doggy tail is back up and active again, his ears are pricked, and he's got his happy doggy smile back. His undercarriage is still a mess, but it's a much cleaner, healthier mess. It'll be a while before all the skin grows back, but it's to the point now where I can take him on walks again. Most importantly, he can lie down and sleep again - he's curled up on the bed right now.

I've got one picture that I took of his injury about three days after he got hit. I'm going to post it below for anyone who wants to see what my poor little pooch went through. There is no other content after the picture, so you won't miss anything if you don't want to see it.


(Honestly, I don't see why anyone WOULD want to see this, except maybe veterinary students or doctors. But people have asked, so I'm putting it below.)


Poor little guy... He'll get better.

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Umm. . .I'm not coming down on you. But something that I've learned about MY misbehaving dogs is--It's not the dog, it's the owner. Well trained dogs are happy dogs because they don't get into trouble, and they don't get yelled at or punished. It only takes a few minutes a day, EVERY DAY of consistent training and reinforcement. I learned the hard way too--But the consequences were not so bad. There were free resources--books and videos at the library, TV shows, and forums and videos on the internet. When one method didn't work, I tried another. Different things worked for different dogs. Barney loves you and wants to please you, but it's up to YOU to show him what you expect, make sure he understands, and that it's not an option for him. After a few months of consistent training--Maybe only weeks, you'll have a dog that goes everywhere you do without straying into trouble. He won't do anything without your express and explicit permission, (If you look, he probably already asks--or used to.) He'll be happy and proud because he's absolutely secure and certain of you and his place in his life. Anyway, I'm glad it's worked out for both of you.

Wow, I guess I didn't realize how bad I make Barney sound on this blog. He's not a bad dog at all! He's a very good dog, and he is eager to please and does listen. When presented with new situations, sometimes his prey drive gets the better of him, but over the years working with him, such moments have become less frequent and much shorter.

The main reason for his car barking habit has stemmed from his new "pack." I didn't mention it because I didn't feel it was important to the story. There are at times 2 other dogs up here that bark and chase the cars - Barney has been running with them.

It will take time to break him of that, I understand. He's a really remarkable dog, given that he's never had a steady home for more than 4 months at a time (neither have I since I've had him) and he's dealing with an owner who has never had a dog before.

I've taken him to training classes, I walk him 5 miles a day, I work with him and give him lots of love. He's not a bad dog, he's a fantastic dog, and I regret implying otherwise.

Oh, poor BABY. Thank god the person in the car had the windows down/radio off/whatever let them HEAR him.

Sounds like time for more training on car safety and roving range, maybe a fence just for him...sounds like he'll listen, too!

I'm glad he's recovering.

He's doing much better now - back to his normal self personality-wise, and just needs a bit more exercize and time to be back physically. I'm pretty sure he's learned his lesson about cars! (Oh, and a fence wouldn't have helped - the car was unloading stuff, so it was parked right outside my door momentarily. Even had he been on his chain,, the same thing would've happened.)

I'm glad he's relatively ok. That initial healing period sounds like anguish for the both of you.

Accidents happen, and we just need to to our best to learn from them and have a better tomorrow. In fact, my little dog is at the vet for the next couple of days because he got into some chocolate. :(

I hope Barney recovers swiftly and smoothly from here on out.

Ouch! That's always one of my fears - that Barney will find his way into some chocolate. I already know he likes it - I've seen him dig candy bar wrappers out of the trash before. I hope your little pooch is okay!

Poor Barney! What an upsetting thing to happen, I'm so glad to hear that he's on the mend.

I can't even begin to imagine how awful you must've felt when you saw the little guy trapped under the tire. Try not to be too hard on yourself; accidents happen, that's just a fact of life. Thank goodness, the driver heard Barney and backed off.

Sending good thoughts to both of you!

Thanks, Claudia!

Yeah, it wasn't exactly a happy moment, that's for sure. But like you said, things happen. Even had he been on his chain, it still could have happened because the car was parked directly in front of my door.

But don't worry, the little pooch is doing much better now. He's in need of a nice long walk (vet said I couldn't walk him for a few days) to get his endurance back up, but personality-wise, he's back to being Barney.

Best wishes from a Tiny Home follower

Now that Barney is on the mend, I hope that you will be as nice to yourself as you are to your dog. Accidents have a minimum of two victims, the injured and the one taking the blame for the injury. All you can really do after an accident is try to figure out a way to not have it happen again, and to not worry too much about blame.

Re: Best wishes from a Tiny Home follower

Oh, I'm not worried about blame at all. First of all, I wasn't the driver who backed over him, and secondly, the car was parked within reach of Barney's chain, meaning that the only way to have prevented it would have been to have locked him up inside.

Had I been right there, I probably would have held the little pooch back when I saw him moving, but I had my arms full and was around the corner, so I really wasn't as involved.

My options are to either lock Barney up whenever he's out of my sight and make him essentially an indoor-only dog, or to accept that "life" is going to happen, and he'll learn from it. Personally, I'd rather accept a little more risk in exchange for a lot more freedom, and I get the feeling Barney would, too.

Your decisions and actions are of course, valid for you (and (Barney) and I accept that. Like I said, most dogs get to "good enough" and even great dogs have accidents. Your story resonated with a somewhat similar incident that occurred to one of my dogs and I decided to work at eliminating the bad habits that I mostly ignored, and I was happy with the results. But yeah, not every aspect of it was easy.

Now if I could stop the cat from visiting the neighbors for second breakfast, afternoon tea and an evening snack. . .I'd consider my own pet training to be complete.

Poor pup! So glad his injuries were relatively mild.

And it looks like things are going well for you otherwise-- that's inspiring, since I'm aiming for a small-home/rural sort of lifestyle of my own in the future.

I enjoy your posts! Keep 'em up. :)

Thanks! Although without a major project to work on, it's hard to find things that I consider "post worthy." I'll see what I can do...

I am sorry to hear about Barney !!!
Hope you are doing well buddy.

Peace to you

Phil walker

Phil! Good to hear from ya, man!

Yeah, Barney and I are both doing great now. He's all recovered, and I'm enjoying the Oregon life. Hope all's well with you, too!

Barney LIVES.

Thank-god he lives.

I hope he heals without any remaining physical consequences. We can only hope that mentally he has learned that those big metal vehicles are not his friend and have the names of numerous 4 legged creatures written
ALL OVER them, numerous times. Sadly, they are Rudolph, Kermit, Chippy, Slappy, Bugsy, and even Tweety(two legs and two wings).
Cars are bad.

I hope your stay in Oregon is going well, otherwise. I've arrived in Northern California, 2 days ago, with my Tiny house. I LOVE it. So do my neighbors.

How is your home doing?

Erik M

I forgot to sign in.

How is Barney now?

Laura the dog crazy here from Tiny House Ontario... I am glad that he survived and also glad he is not terribly broken. How is his recovery going?
Hopefully all is well (with him, you and yours)
xo L

Re: How is Barney now?

Sorry I read down now through the comments. I see that Barney is live and well and seems to have learned his lesson! So nothing lost but some innocence right? Sorry it took me so long to check in and the weird delayed question... I am not reading blogs too often as I am off grid in the fine weather and just get on line to blog myself. I am "in town" this week for 2 medical appointments though. Lots of catching up to do with the Tiny House Community! xo L

I found your site via You Tube, and I am so happy I did! I am thankful Barney has someone who cares as much as you do! It is now October, so I am trusting Barney is running around acting stupid, as you would say. :) I wanted to thank you and your mom, since the blog was started for her, for posting such a thorough journey of making and living in a Fencl. I have gotten a lot of good ideas from you. Hope life is treating you well! Take care, Valerie

Re: Happy for Barney!

Thanks, Valerie!

Yes, Barney is back to his normal happy self. Why, just this morning he was out chasing chickens and sheep while I ran behind him shouting "Barney! Don't chase the chickens or sheep!" I'm glad you've been able to get some value out of this, and thanks for letting me know!

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your house building posts. It's such an inspiration to read of people like yourself. I've been toying with the idea of building my own place and you've given me the motivation that I needed to get out of my rut.
I hope you're doing well.
Bob Larsen

Thanks, Bob! Good to hear!
And yeah, I'm doing just fine (and so is Barney.) What can I say? Life's great being me!

Hi, Not sure you remember me, as I wrote to you when you had just finished your tiny house and got Barney. I remember emailing or posting you about him along time ago and also inviting you to park your home on my land here in WA State in exchange for helping out with the rescue dogs I save and rehabilitate. You said you were planted where you were. Who knew you would now be in Oregon? Originally I had ideas of moving in a dog nanny into my tiny home. Anyway- glad to hear Barney is doing well. I was one of the first to open a canine swim therapy facility for dogs in the United States, and want to mention that warm water swimming will be wonderful for him. 5 min of swimming is equal to 20 min full out running on land. He will have arthritis from his injury and feel and move worse in colder damp winter months. Dog Gone Pain is wonderful to address this issue and help him feel better. I am also a dog nutritionist and do consulting to educate dog owners how to feed their dog species appropriate. Reducing the inflammation in his body through proper diet is very important. Natural nutrition will help him build muscle mass. I could go on forever about dogs as they are central to my life but feel free to contact me if Barney needs some help.
Have a Merry Dogmas and a Yappy New Year.

Dog Mom, Dog Co-dependent and Fairy Dog Mother - near Seattle,

Re: Suggestions for Barney...

Actually, yes! I do remember you!
I would have responded earlier, but LJ didn't notify me of your message and had categorized it as spam. Usually it only does that when people embed links in their messages, but you didn't do that so I don't know why it did so. Kinda makes me a little upset. :(

But yeah, Barney's doing fine. His accident was last July - I just haven't updated since then. It took him a few days before his ears perked up and his tail started wagging again, and he couldn't lie down during that time (I had to flip him onto his back so that he could sleep) but now he's back to his normal self like nothing ever happened.

Funny you mention the water treatment - instinctively that was one of the things I wanted to try with him. I took him down to the river here and let him swim for a bit, but I think it may have been too soon. He usually loves swimming, but instead he just waded in a bit then crawled back out and wanted to go. Poor little guy. Still, good to know that's a good thing for them!

And yeah, life got thrown into a bit of a disarray January 2012 when I came back to my tiny house and had a notice stuck to the window declaring me unlawful. Not a fun time, but I made of it what I could. The tiny house is still out there, actually. Having it there was legal. Living in it was not. :(

Interested in knowing where you built your Fencl


My name is Christina and I am interested in building a Fencl. A) I dont have a place to build it and B) either I rent a piece of land or buy a small parcel of property to start building. My thing is, what do I call this tiny home and how do I go about the codes and regulations. Can I just start building and tell whomever Im renting a piece of land from that its just considered an rv. Im confused with how to go about all this
If you can give me some advice from your experience I am all ears

Re: Interested in knowing where you built your Fencl

Hi, Christina.

I'm definitely not the person to ask, as I got declared "unlawful" by the township after living there for 5 months and was told to leave my own land or risk jail time. Some people are not keen on tiny houses, and unfortunately they're the ones who are allowed to make the rules.

I don't keep up with the tiny house community so much anymore, so I really don't have any current advice to give. However, I can point you to my friend Macy Miller. She's big in the tiny house community and is an architect in Idaho. She's building her own tiny house and has a site at www.minimotives.com where she's blogging about it. If she can't answer your questions, she'll probably be able to direct you to someone who can. Good luck!

Re:your experiences/writings

Currently living in Eugene, just came across your writings - the latter being some of the most poignant heartfelt ones I have ever encountered. You are a remarkable person, dear sir - and your ability to express yourself...the same.
Much warmth to you and Barney:-)
P.S. Immersed in the trials involved per trying to attain tiny house-living...as I write this.

Re: your experiences/writings

Thanks, Jeniffer, and good luck to you! If Eugene ends up being favorable to tiny house living, let me know! I've got one waiting back in Michigan that would love for me to bring it out here.

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