Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What We Do for Love

When Barkley came up lame in the early winter of 2013 in what we hoped was just a pulled ligament from romping in the deep snow, one issue was the back stairs of my new husband's little Mission Bungalow.  They are VERY steep.  He did good using a cloth tote bag with the ends cut out, placed under his chest where we could "lift" the weaker half on his way down.

But after a couple weeks at my crash pad in another city where I work, hours away, he was hurting to the point I knew even that would not work.  I called my husband, who made the above stairs.  Now in the picture - they are not done, it was just set out for some measurements.  The final product would have some blocks under the middle to make the hinge angle positive rather than negative  Then to connect the top to the porch where Barkley didn't have to step up or down, keeping it secure, there would be eyebolts into the riser for the first step and then some carriage bolts added as pegs under the ramp to hook into the eyebolts in the center where it folded to keep it straight.  Then rails, so Barkley couldn't tumble off, When it wasn't being used, it could be folded up and put on the sun porch.  It was an experiment.  While Barkley was being overnighted at the vet to do some additional tests and a biopsy, I made the 8 hour round trip to check on it and bring emergency sandwiches.

Making it with just one length of wood, would get him to the ground but at too steep an angle.
So my husband made and added another section, then hinged so it would fold in half to carry like a ladder to the garage or just straight up the stairs into sunroom (which was just storage).
With someone walking him down the steps to his left, we figured he could learn quickly and safely, it's like the ramps at the dog park for agility, only bigger.  The longer length could also be used on another set of stairs to the basement if needed in the event of a tornado.   All for about $30 and a promised sandwich for the engineer.  Still not done here, but you get the idea.

Please can I have a skateboard?

But Barkley never got a chance to use it. He was in too much pain to travel again and his days with us were short, the tests showing very advanced bone cancer. But in looking at the photos of the ramp now, and the amount of work my husband put into it, well into the wee hours of the night, after working long days as an engineer, to craft it in two days, I realized just how lucky I was to have him.

If you've read The Book of Barkley you know our basic story.  We were friends for many years online (I knew a couple members of his family) but due to the age difference (24 years, though we are both the Chinese "Year of the Dog") we always said "well too bad. . . . ." and then we met in person---he, Barkley and I.  After that, the three of us weren't apart much, and when I fell on ice, walking Barkley and tore my meniscus, on our first official weekend together as a couple and he canceled his Christmas to drive me hundreds of miles to an orthopedic surgeon, taking leave from work to tend to Barkley and I while I recovered---I knew I had a keeper.

And he's been wonderful to Abby as she got comfortable after being in a shelter for five months.

I hear Dad's car alarm - he's home!

Now there is Lorelei - clearly a "Daddy's Girl".

We have an anniversary this month of our first date - and I just wanted to say.  EJ - you are the best husband ever and Abby (and now Lorelei) is one lucky dog.  And I am SO happy you rebuilt the Mt. Everest of steps for me! (by repositioning them 90 degrees we were able to fully fence in the yard for the dogs).


  1. Every one of those steps was made with lots and lots of love. Mom is trying to figure out if a ramp would work for Lightning so he could go out in the yard (on leash). But the stairs are very steep and there is no room at the bottom for an extended length. For now, it is out the front door with a couple of spots with one step down. What we do for love for sure.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  2. We still have it down in the basement in case Abby or Larelie need it. I was heartbreaking how quickly Barkley declined but we gave it our all.

  3. That's a wonderful story. He definitely sounds like a keeper to me!

  4. I am glad he built safer steps for all of you!

  5. Wow, what a beautiful set of steps and landing. You got yourself a real keeper!


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab, who we adopted in 2014.

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