My mother-in-law took him home and named him Barkley. He has been a bright spot during a very dark time, as my father-in-law has continued to decline. Barkley made himself at home on their farm, getting his exercise attempting to herd the feral cats. He has grown up to look kind of like a half-corgi, half-spaniel (below right is a recent photo sent via cell from my mother-in-law). His breed is one that was never meant to be. As Steve's brother-in-law says, "his parents made a mistake." But he's always been a good dog.
Today, I was rocking Lexie (post-projectile vomit) and I received a text message from my mother-in-law. It said only:
Barkley got bit by a poisonous snake this AM.
I texted her back:
What happened to him?
As I waited a long 10 minutes for her answer, I thought back to when we found him, tiny and alone in the cemetery, obviously abandoned and so eager to be part of our little pack. And I thought about how he's helped my mother-in-law cope since he joined the family. He's so little, I thought, how could he survive that? He must be dead. And she can't bring herself to say it. I teared up. I know that life's not fair, and that bad shit happens to good people all the time. But please, I thought -- Barkley's story cannot end this way. This cannot happen to my mother-in-law after all she's been through and continues to endure.
She finally texted back. She'd rushed him to the emergency vet. Two shots and a pile of medications later, he came home for observation with instructions for my mother-in-law to call if he didn't seem improved tomorrow. The vet said he'd seen dogs survive worse. My mother-in-law reports that he's listless and won't eat or drink.
Please cross your fingers that little Barkley's story has many more chapters.