The Barry Chronicles
"The Day I Knew Barry Was Really Dumb, Part 13"
This is your introduction to the world’s dumbest dog and my pet from 1995-2001.
Barry was an unfortunate creature. Maladjusted in almost every way, his orange veneer had been scraped clean from the bottom of his gut. His slightly bloated stomach dragged on the ground due to his extremely stubby legs, causing his belly to look like a section of worn out carpet. His stomach was gray-white and felt like a scouring pad. Barry’s normal walk was a nervous gallop, just to keep a semblance of a normal “dog walking” pace. And his deep brown eyes were badly crossed and seemed to have no pupils. His ears flopped over his unfocused eyes, further confusing his perception of events. His tail formed the letter “L” and apparently had been badly broken someplace or another. The surly clerk at the dog pound claimed Barry was “from Alabama,” but this seemed highly doubtful. How would Barry have gotten from Alabama to Noblesville, Indiana? Who would take the trouble to transport such an animal so vast a distance and why? And Barry certainly couldn’t gallop northward five states in his condition. He clearly lacked the intelligence and initiative for such an odyssey. No, Barry was not from the Deep South, I decided. Finally, Barry’s confused face gave him away. He looked perpetually consternated, as if he knew he was supposed to be worrying about something, he just wasn’t sure what it was. He gulped often for no apparent reason.
Mostly, I tried to ignore Barry’s ill-fated exploits. The clerk at the pound had tried to explain in his sage homespun way that a dumb dog can make a smart dog dumber. I feared Barry was having the same effect on me. Better not to watch him and attempt to understand what he was doing, I thought. But like a train wreck or a tornado, sometimes it was impossible to turn away. One afternoon, I watched Barry frantically trying to burrow under the backyard fence. His chubby paws dug and dug to little apparent avail. I went back to reading my book on the tree-swing. After another hour or so, I realized Barry was nowhere to be seen. He had tunneled under the fence – it was one of the rare cases I can remember of Barrry actually achieving a goal that he had embarked upon. I was almost proud of him. Barry had escaped before and because he had no sense of direction or no ability to recall where he lived, it usually took a few days for a neighborhood kid to find and return him, smellier and more confused than before. So I headed toward the back door of the house, thinking some “missing: baffled dog” posters might be in order. I was wondering just how to accurately portray Barry in a drawing when I spotted him just on the other side of the fence, precisely at the spot where he had tunneled under. Apparently, after all that work, Barry didn’t have any idea of where he should go or why he even wanted out. Dejectedly, I opened the gate and let Barry waddle back inside the house. God knows why.
Next installment: Barry Takes a Beating