Two year old Spanish water dog mix called Barkley (or Barkley the Jawless as he is known on his Instagram account) is a growing hit on social media. He’s a dog that has had a tough life and although he is now living with a loving family, this has not always been the case.
In December 2015 Barkley was rescued from the streets of Serbia by Lilly Ducik after being found with a gun shot wound to his face. It is still not known why he was shot, but whoever did it didn’t do a good enough job to kill him outright. More than likely it was their intention to harm him but not kill him, so the agony would continue for some time. Lilly was able to rush him to a local vet for help and it is for sure that without her help he would not have survived more than a few hours.
However, being found was not the transformation to Barkley’s life chances that he required. Veterianry surgery in Serbia, like in all other parts of the world, is costly and the surgery that this dog required meant that the vet wasn’t sure what to do. This is when social media came to the rescue. The vet and Lilly were able to put his story online and soon afterwards they had a reply.
Julia Jasicek who actually comes from Vienna in Austria found his page and couldn’t ignore Barkley’s plight. She already had a dog, a nine year old West Highland terrier named Abbey but she certainly could do with another (this is how she thought anyway!). She was willing to put the money in and the time to improve Barkley’s life.
Barkley’s injuries were very bad indeed and he needed six individual initial surgeries just to get through the first stage. He then had to be confined to a small space for four entire months to stop him from making it worse or cutting the stitches. In time however he recovered and Julia could not wait to adopt him. She was determined to bring him to Austria. Thankfully she had been able to be in touch with the rescue center where Barkley was, as well as his initial finder Lilly. In April 2016, after quite a long time of working with paperwork and necessary arrangements, Barkley made the move to Austria to live with Julia and Abbey.
His injuries were life changing and he no longer has much of his lower jaw or much of his tongue, but Julia is helping him through and he manages. He remains fearful of other dogs and sticks, perhaps clues of his previous Serbian life. He is also scared of mirrors, light reflections and glass ceilings, again perhaps clues of his past life and the abuse that he suffered. He seems to be particularly fearful of things being dropped on top of him from above. Thankfully, with every day that goes by he gets a bit stronger and a bit better, plus he gets on really well with Julia’s other dog Abbey, which is a good thing.
Serbia has a real issue with dog abuse and stray dogs. In 2011 the government estimated that there might be 15,000 stray dogs on the streets but this could be as much as 50,000, or so say some journalists. Ideally all of these dogs would be given homes but in reality this is far more difficult. The message from this story is that all dogs deserve a second chance and no matter their injuries you should not cast them aside.