Barclay and his Big Sister

Barclay and his Big Sister

Barclay and his big sister pausing on the walking path.

Lonely folks cruise the internet hoping for a good match. Websites pair strangers looking for love. They meet in coffee shops, bars, parks, and restaurants.

On rare occasions the two make for a good match. NEVER are they better matched than Barclay and his big sister.

We should all be so lucky! Forget the internet. Get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and some pink shoes, and enjoy the mutual admiration on a good walk, healing and heeling at the same time.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Barclay’s Dad, Chaska, MN, April 9, 2017, responding to The Daily Post invitation to share a photograph and commentary on the theme “A Good Match“.

The Dog Park

Every day at 4:00 the 91 year-old with the weathered face and halting gate – we’ll call her Mabel – arrives at the dog park. She walks slowly, but more or less steadily, on her cane with her elderly companion Missy – the 16 year-old Pomeranian-Yorkie mix.

56199a5048cdf96c4318a36d9271153cMissy, who suffered a stroke a year ago and walks with difficulty, sniffs the grass. She dutifully does her business, looking up at Mabel. She stays very close, almost like a shepherd caring for an aging sheep whose needs she lives to tend.

Mabel and her dog. Companions for life. For now. And, it seems, each thankful for the other for whatever time they have.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, April 7, 2017.

Pure Joy

Lucinda is a five year old. Barclay is almost four. But Barclay is much older than Lucinda. In the human equivalent to Lucinda’s age, Barclay will be 28 in May.

Here’s a glimpse into Barclay’s playful spirit from when he was two (i.e., 14).

Last night, around the dinner table at the birthday party for the much older 36 year old and the 31 year old, there was lively conversation. But down on the floor, and sometimes under the table, there was pure joy – a little girl and the favorite dog she lives to visit.

Lucinda is a very active little girl. She never stops. She’s here; she’s there; she’s everywhere. She demands to be the center of attention. But she loses herself and gains it with Barclay whose great blessing is that he knows he’s not the center of the universe. He has to wait for others to play with him – and sometimes, on the best of days, the other is Lucinda, the favorite playmate who brings him pure joy for an hour or two.

The smiles on Barclay’s and Lucinda’s faces were as unmistakable as the light from the candles on the cake.

Sadly, moments after Lucinda’s family left our home last night, her cries and screams pierced the darkness on the sidewalk outside. Barclay was very sad, too. But he’s also the older and wiser of the two playmates. Cocking his head and looking up at me, he said, “Poor Lucinda. She’s still very young. She doesn’t understand yet that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’ – Psalm 30, right Dad?”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 20, 2017.



A Dog Day Pattern

Okay, enough of politics!

Time for something light, like a response to The Daily Posts challenge to publish something on the word ‘pattern’.

So, what’s my daily pattern, I ask myself. Kay’s out of town, so the pattern is different today. It’s just Barclay and I (or is it ‘me’?).

I get up early, as usual. I make a pot of coffee, open the front door hoping the newspaper’s waiting on the porch, pour myself a cup of coffee (four packets of Splenda – it’s bad for my health but I don’t care; two teaspoons of Cremora – made of corn starch, also bad for my health and for the planet, but I ignore it) in my special cup from our trip to San Francisco. Every morning I wish I were in San Francisco. It’s part of the daily pattern.

I turn on the MacBook Air to check for emails and find a text from Kay who’s in Charleston, South Carolina with her three sisters from Denver, Lincoln, and Charleston. Texts are rare in my normal daily pattern, but there are three of them this morning. I’m not much of a texter, though there are mornings when, though Kay and I are sitting together silently in the living room so as not to awaken Barclay, she will text me!

About 9:00 a.m. it’s Barclay time and Barclay’s pattern takes over for the next half-hour. Out from the kennel he comes, stretching his legs as though he’s been instructed by a Yoga Master, wagging his tail . . .  running over to the recliner where Kay should be. “Where’s Mom, Dad?” Sitting on the recliner with Kay is an essential part of Barclay’s pattern, but she’s not here today. He looks at me, lies down on the rug, rolls over on his back for a tummy rub, a brushing and the wiping of his eyes (Cavies have problems with their tear ducts requiring twice-daily depletion of  Kleenex). Then he gets his ball and drops it at my feet. Time to play ball – “Get the ball!” “Bring the ball!” “Get the ball!” “Bring the ball!” – until it’s time for a drink and for turning over his food dish to play with the food, as in throwing pieces of food into the air and chasing them down until he runs to the front door to ring the bell that tells me he’s ready to go out.

Anyway, that’s enough about my daily pattern, and it’s only 9:30. The rest of the daily pattern is not very interesting. After lunch we take a long nap together. We have dinner. We go to sleep. And the day begins again with an unhealthy cup of coffee and the dream of being in San Francisco. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat the pattern.

All days with Barclay and Kay are good days!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 11, 2017.

The FBI and Marmaduk

As the FBI was placing the newly arrested Father Daniel Kerrigan, S.J. in the back seat of the FBI SUV, Marmaduke, the canine member of the William Stringfellow and Anthony Towne household on Block Island, walked to the passenger side of the vehicle, and – as if on behalf of Bill and Anthony and all things just – lifted his left leg on the front passenger side tire.

It was, said Bill, an act of God.

On this day, I join Marmaduke, the latter day prophet. Noting the FBI Director’s meddling in this year’s election campaign, I lift my glass to Mamaduke, the latter day prophet, and my leg to the FBI.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 3, 2016


Pouring over his 2,000 book collection today, Steve found “DAWGS!”, published in 1925. Six old friends call ourselves “The Dogs”. After receiving Steve’s e-mail, I read the inscription to Barclay, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel friend who naps with me every afternoon. Barclay liked it as much as the Dogs in Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota. Barclay looked up with sad eyes and repeated word for word: “Yes, Dad,” he said, “I’m your Guardian and Friend. I’ll be faithful to the end.”

Dogs Dawgs

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 18, 2016


Freed from the leash on 9/11

Yesterday, on the anniversary of  9/11, Kay and I hiked on the Echo Trail near Ely, MN with 2 year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Barclay. Barclay knows nothing about airplanes, falling buildings, religion, economics, terror, or war. He makes friends with everyone. He rejoices in the present, leaping in the air, joyful for no particular reason.

On the hike we set him free from his leash and watch him romp along the trail, out and away from us – but not too far – and then galloping back like a race horse when called. Unfortunately, Kay’s slow motion video wouldn’t load for viewing.

Freed of his leash

he runs and leaps

his feathery coat

and flopping ears

fill the stale air

with the breeze

of joy unleashed.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, September 12, 2015

Since we couldn’t upload yesterday’s slo-mo video, here’s a different view of Barclay’s playful spirit.

“Where’s Mom? I Need Mom!”



Barclay must have been begging for help during the night without a mother to hear his desperate pleas. Kay (Mom) has been out of town for a week.

When I approached his kennel this morning, there was an odor. But I thought to myself, that can’t be. Barq hasn’t had an accident in 18 months. His colitis is under control. I was just praising his habits to friends yesterday.

I opened the kennel door. Barclay rushed downstairs in a panic, leaving a trail behind him on the upstairs landing, down the flight of 18 steps, on the downstairs entry floor and carpet before I could get him outdoors Poor little guy.

So I’ve been cleaning up the mess, wiping the floors and soiled carpets, laundering his blankets, de-fumigating his kennel, bathing him, drying him, and brushing him out ever since. Barclay is resting comfortably now on the sofa while I go up and down the stairs wash doing the laundry.

On behalf of Barclay, I sent the following email to Kay, who this morning is with her six girlfriends at the retreat house in northeast Nebraska owned and operated by the Audubon Society.

He needs his mom badly. Bad mom! Bad mom!

“Where’s mom? I need mom!” he asks with those big brown eyes. “She’s in Nebraska with the birds,” I tell him. “Why is she in Nebraska, and what’s she doing with the birds? Does she like the birds more than me?” “No, Barq, she’s with her girlfriends at an Audubon sanctuary.” “What’s an Audubon? Is that like those fast highways they have in Germany? Is mom driving too fast? Will mom be safe driving?” “Yes, mom will be safe. She driving in a great big car today down to the Audubon river with her girlfriends.” “Car?! Ride in the car?!” “No, Barq, mom’s riding in the car with her girlfriends.” “Aw, Mom likes girls better than us? Why, dad, why? Is that why she wasn’t here last night to help me? Is that why you had to pick up my poop and pee – ‘cause it was a guy’s pee and poop? Is mom ever coming back? Are we alone here together, just the two of us, when only one of us can hear?” “No, mom loves you very much, Barq. No need to worry. She’s coming back on Monday. She’s driving back in her car….” “Car? Go for the ride in the car? Can we, Dad?” “Not right now, Barq, Dad has to continue to dry you out and comb you before we can do anything like that, and, besides, you’re not getting any breakfast this morning. Your stomach has to recover today.” “Mom would give me breakfast!!!” “No, she wouldn’t because you’re sick.” “I’m not a dick, Dad, I just don’t feel well. If mom thinks we’re both dicks and mom likes girls better than guys, do you think there’s a danger she might not come back, that she might stay with her girlfriends and the birds by the Autobahn?”

In short – we’re having a most exquisite Saturday morning.

– Gordon C. Stewart, lonely in Chaska, Minnesota, May 30, 2015.

Home is where your dog is


When we arrived last evening the little guy couldn’t contain himself. He ran back and forth between us, wagging his tail and jumping for joy. Barclay’s been accident-free for more than a year. When I picked him up the second time, his tummy was slightly wet. He was so relieved to have us home and we were equally relieved. -:) So was Kristin, his care-giver since Dec. 30, who announces our homecoming in this video.

Home is where your dog is.


Basking in the Light – “What a good boy!”


Apologies to you who foolishly stopped by today looking for something serious! We’ve been thinking about lesser things the last few days.

Like about cats and dogs and humans. It started with a verse from Steve Shoemaker about an old man and his dog, followed by a humorous fight between cat-lovers and dog-lovers on the social media site that begins with an ‘f’ and ends with a ‘k’. Then came Steve’s verse about his old cat, the Queen Cat, and this morning’s “Kennel-Mates, After Work” about a young Irish Wolfhound (Steve) and a tabby cat (Nadja). A few hours later the video of Sleepy Head Barclay reached us through cyberspace from back home in Minnesota.

While Kay and I are basking in the sun in St. Augustine, FL, Barclay the Soccer Dog had some quiet time this morning under an artificial SAD (“Seasonal Affect Disorder”) light back home in cold Minnesota. The voice belongs to his older sister Kristin. We’re not into philosophy, theology, politics, or global news this morning. I hope your world is lighter peeking behind the curtain of intimacy, you break into a smile for 35 seconds.