SDOS – Episode 13 – All Dogs Go To Heaven

Episode 13 – Some really sad news to share with you on today’s episode because Barry, Dom (and Beths) beloved Dogue de Bordeaux sadly passed away. On this bonus episode Dom’s reminisces about Barry and talks about the unfortunate but ultimate responsibility we all have as our dogs keepers.

Dom :    Hello me bonny bairns and welcome to The Superhero Dog Owner Show. This is a bonus extra episode, I suppose you could say. We’ve deviated from our once a week podcast this week Alex because I wanted to do a special bonus extra episode because anybody’s who’s on my email list will know, Alex the video guy is well aware of it as well. And people that follow us on social media too. Barry, my Dogue de Bordeaux, he sadly passed away last week. We had to have him put down. It was really, really sad and I wanted to talk a little bit about Barry today because I don’t know whether … it happens to people all the time, isn’t it Alex.

We’ve been talking about puppies for months and months and getting lots of great tips, and advice, and stuff. I think it’s, obviously, for every time people are getting puppies people are losing dogs as well, aren’t they, because they’re getting old.

Alex:      Oh yeah

Dom :    I thought it might be nice to have a bit of a chat about this. It might be a bit of a comfort to some people who might be losing their dogs at this particular time.

Alex:      Like you say, it’s a little talked about issue I think.

Dom :    Yeah, yeah, yeah. To tell you about Barry. We adopted Barry when he was eighteen months old. We had been after a Dogue de Bordeaux for a little while actually. We already had a dog, but we fancied a Dogue de Bordeaux. We contacted the Dogue de Bordeaux rescue and they had four dogs in at the time, three of which were a little bit aggressive, so not really suitable for us because we had younger children at the time. Barry had come from a family, he wasn’t called Barry actually, he was called something else Alex, when he came to us. Beth took one look at him and christened him Barry, so there you go. Then that was me just forever shouting “Barry!” As I was running to the park all the time.

Alex :     I can’t imagine anything different for him.

Dom :    He fairly grew into his name didn’t he? Yeah, definitely.

He came to us, he was very underweight, and he took a little bit of settling in. He was quite quite high energy actually for a Dogue de Bordeaux, I wasn’t expecting him to be as high energy as that. I had to exercise him a lot, I used to jog with him and we used to take him out on the bike as well. Used to quite like doing quite high intensity sprints, not for very long but I used to find that he would settle better once he, well as we know now obviously, that the dogs who exercise better generally eat and sleep and behave better as well. But I was a lot less knowledgeable dog owner then to what I am now, so this took me a little while to learn.


He settled in with the family pretty much great straight away. He went on to become a firm favourite for everybody who follows the page or the podcast, or the book, he even got himself a starring place on the front cover of the book in his superhero outfit which Julia created. You knew him Alex didn’t you? You know what I mean? What was your first impressions of Barry? Was he … obviously you’ve got a experience, you know what I mean? Was he intimidating to you? Or was he … what was your first impression of Barry?

Alex :     Yeah, at first, to be honest, because I’ve never really, I’ve never been a full-time dog owner, so I haven’t really had that much experience with bigger dogs. I haven’t known anyone who’s had a bigger dog. Yeah, when we first started making videos and I first saw him I thought, bloody hell, big Barry, you know what I mean? Big old Barry. It didn’t take long to … For his true nature and character to come out and me to just feel completely comfortable with him. He had a lovely temperament and as much as is his nature, every time I came to your house and knocked on the door he would always be barking. As soon as I was in the, or anyone who came in, he just wanted to say hi and be friendly.

Dom :    He did, he did, he was just happy to get … Lie by your feet and get his tummy rubbed He had a lot of guarding tricks, obviously being a guarding breed, that’s what he was bred for. I think that took us by surprise as well, which shows how little research we did into it really, although we thought, at least we did at the time. He had a couple of issues, some things that … He wasn’t comfortable with strangers touching him. That was something that I had to … Took me a little while to understand really, not being a very knowledgeable dog owner.

Alex :     Must have been quite difficult walking him.

Dom :    Yeah it was because I think people, because he was such a good looking dog, well to us he was. People really liked him and they wanted to touch him and stuff like that but it made Barry uncomfortable so that was one of the occasions where I kind of had to listen to the dog. Eventually I listened to the dog and the dog was telling me look I don’t want to be touched be strangers. He was doing little air bites and things and we were getting really worried at the time, in the end I just had to say to it Beth, “Right, that’s it we don’t let anybody touch him.” Unless it’s somebody that he specifically knows, like a relative or good friend or something, then we don’t let them touch him. If that annoys the person, if that upsets the person … because people are very well meaning but sometimes they’re a bit selfish as well and they say oh, I’m fine with dogs, and you have to be the one who says look, hey my dog doesn’t like it, I know my dog doesn’t like it. If you know your dog doesn’t like something, don’t let people touch him or don’t make him feel like he has to defend himself in any way or the thing that he’s got.

That was an issue that we had to overcome but on the whole he was a superb dog. I taught him to swim at the caravan, that was really funny. That turned out to be something that you think to yourself, well why did I do that again, because we couldn’t keep him out of the water could we? He loved it.

Come on, come on, good boy! Come on! There’s a good lad! That’s a clever boy. You have to wait. You have to wait for everybody.

Alex :     He’s bounding towards the beach isn’t he? Every time.

Dom :    We got lots of videos of Barry swimming with a Gopro on, splashing about in the water, he was a big clumsy old thing.

It’s been lovely, and recently what’s happened is we recently moved house. We feel like we’ve been packing up boxes for months, really, well Beth has mostly. We’ve been packing up and there’s been boxes around and he was a bit not himself. We thought it was because of the move, we were thinking that it was chewing him a little bit with all the boxes and stuff. Then we eventually moved and he still really wasn’t himself and he was off his food. We took him to the vets and eventually after various visits, blood tests and stuff, he was diagnosed with this pancreatitis, which had … It was making him not like food basically. When he was smelling food it making this enzyme, giving him a heartburn-y type feeling, from what we can research from it. It was putting him off food, and this was weird because Barry … was one thing that he did like it was food. He was a greedy dog, he was a greedy dog, he just loved his food.

I don’t know if there was anything else going on in his tummy as well, Alex. Whether there was something even worse than that, but he just, he basically didn’t really get any better. We tried various, various things, and he lost so much weight in the end. You saw him didn’t you? The last week that he was [crosstalk 00:08:01].

Alex :     Yeah it shocked me because I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks.

Dom :    Yeah, because you’d been away hadn’t you?

He lost a lot of weight and in the end we just couldn’t get him to want to eat. That was it, we tried to … I was force feeding him in the end. He was such a placid dog he would let me force feed him. I was pureeing up chicken and rice and all of our friends were so supportive. Dog people, nurses, “Have you tried this, have you tried that? Have you tried different kinds of food?” Nutritional people were getting into, “Have you tried this, have you tried that?” Nothing really worked. Like I said in the end I was force feeding poor Barry and, we did that for about a week, and he was still losing weight and he was getting weaker and weaker. We had to make the decision really. It’s a weird thing, it’s something that you never really … You don’t know until you’ve experienced it, and I know a lot of people are watching would have experienced it themselves. I talk a lot about being a responsible dog owner don’t I, when you’re out and about. That your dog is good for your community and you’re looking after him.

It hammered home to me the fact that you have the ultimate responsibility at the end of the day don’t you? Which is over your dog’s life. We had to take that responsibility and say look, this dog isn’t very happy. He didn’t look very happy. Who are we keeping him alive for here? Is he going to get any better? No. Is he probably going to get worse? Yeah, he probably was. That was the decision. I took Barry along to his last visit to the vets. I took him along, it was a really nice day actually, it was a similar day to today, a little bit warmer. We had five minutes outside beforehand whilst we waited, I asked the receptionist to give us a shout when it was our turn. We had five minutes just sitting in the sun, me and Barry. Then we went in and he managed to get up the steps okay. When I went to see the vet he just sat next to me. Barry normally would be … He wasn’t aggressive in the vets or anything but he didn’t particularly like going. You could tell he was a little bit …

Alex :     He knew where he was.

Dom :    Yeah, he knew where he was. You could tell he was happy to get out of there. This time he just didn’t seem bothered, people have said because he was ready, and I don’t know, maybe he was. It was just weird, he was so peaceful and I sat next to while I talked to the vet. Talked it over and Barry just laid down on my leg, he seemed ready. Honestly it was bizarre, which wasn’t the case with my previous dog, when she went. Then the vet did it and like I said, he was almost asleep before it, before the vet finished it. That was it, and I just had a couple of minutes with Barry and that’s it. Then he’s gone and it was really upsetting obviously, it was upsetting for everybody, Beth and the kids as well.

The response that we got from our friends was amazing, people who followed him on social media, followed his Facebook page, people on my email list. I had hundreds of replies to the email that I sent out to people. There was comments galore and people loved seeing his cheeky face. That was really nice and it was really nice and I really appreciated everybody. It helped us a lot, certainly that first night. I don’t regret doing it, I think it had to be done. He … It was nice for all it was weird the next day getting up and not having him there, every little movements that you do you just expect to see the dog there and he’s not there anymore. It was a relief as well to know that I wasn’t having to put him through that whole force feeding thing that I knew wasn’t working and I knew he wasn’t really enjoying. That was nice too.

If you’ve lost a dog lately, then I know what you’re going through, and yeah, it’s a really, really sad time. People have asked are we getting another one, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet really. We haven’t really talked about it very much.

Alex:      You have time too adjust …

Dom:     Yeah, definitely. Last time we lost Flor, we did end up getting Sydney about six weeks later, but I think the time was different then, Barry was an easier dog, I don’t know, we were just ready for it then. No rush to get another one. Yeah, that was it really, I just wanted to share with you what had happened with Barry because … Just to reassure people as well, not that you need reassurance from me, but whatever you do is the right thing for your dog. As upsetting as it is, everybody who emailed said they’ve been through that as well and you have to do what’s right for the dog. You have to take that responsibility of being the owner, the person who loves the dog, and if you love him you need to do what’s best for the dog at all times. All throughout his life, and then ultimately at the end of his life as well.

That’s the end of the episode Alex. We’ll be back on track with the normal, with our usual podcast then. I just wanted to share with everybody who watched the podcast who maybe just wasn’t in our email list, that what had happened with Barry. Barry will be around still. Obviously we’ve shot loads of videos haven’t we, over the last 18 months. He’ll be cropping up on videos still. You’ll see his cheeky face messing about in the water or eating Kongs or pinching biscuits and things like that. You’ll see Barry, he’ll still be around. He’ll still be with me on the podcast cover as well.

That’s that really, that was a little shout out for our Barry. We’ll see you next time.

Yes! That’s a squeaker! Sit. Barry. All right, we’ll just leave that one and put him back in the van.


Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson