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Fern Hill Gnarly Barley SR581829/05 ("Barley")
Sire: GMH HRCH UH Tidewaters Weekend Gladiator Can/Am CD WCX MH, CCA OS ("Drake")
Dam: Fern Hill Pennyroyal CDX JH NAP RE CGC TDI SR262975/06 ("Penny")
Born August 31, 2009
Height: 23 1/2" Weight: 74 pounds
Barley in January 2012

Barley lives in Massachusetts with Mark Letizi and Maggie Brewer, where he is Mark's hunting companion and a family pet. He was a bit of a tough puppy to raise, as he is too smart for his own good and a tad cocky. At a year old he finally got through his difficult teenage period and things have been smooth sailing since. He particularly loves hunting for pheasants and Mark says he has never had a dog who caught on as quickly or who has such a great nose! When it's not hunting season, he enjoys daily rambles with Mark and lots of time playing with their other golden, a rescue girl named Molly.

Barley was one of the smallest pups at birth but he has turned out to be a good sized dog at 23.5 inches and 74 pounds in good, fit condition. A strong, active puppy, he enjoyed playing with his brothers and sisters and was especially fond of attacking the stuffed skunk and other toys in the whelping box and puppy room. He had a tiny white line in his forehead that had pretty well disappeared by the time he left Fern Hill, and also has a small white blaze on his chest like his Dad. With his especially appealing little face and charming manner, you wouldn't expect him to be one of the boldest explorers, but he was -- the outside was intensely interesting! He was also the first of our male puppies since we began breeding to end up with an undescended testicle, which was surgically removed at 6 months of age.

News About Barley

January 30, 2012: Editor's note: We were pleased and delighted to have Maggi, Mark, Barley and Molly stop by for a visit on their way to Florida for vacation today. Pictures are wonderful, but there is nothing like seeing one of our puppies all grown up, in person! As has been the case with other visitors, Barley remembered us and was very excited to see his Mom again. Here are a few pictures from the visit:

Barley and Penny
Barley and family
Left, Penny says hello to Barley while Mark supervises
Above, Barley, Maggie (sorry about cutting off your head, Maggie!), Mama Penny, Aunt Callie and Grandma Hilfy

May 21, 2011: Here are a few recent pics of Barley in you can see, he loves to get dirty and wet! He is a mess, but he has always loved the mud and water. I think he gets so hot running so hard, and it feels good. We usually wash off in the creek after, so it isn't so bad, but everyone in the daily dog run group gets a kick out of him. Molly goes in the mud also, but just lays in it and doesn't dunk her head in. Yesterday there was a birthday party for three of the regular dogs in the group, who turned one, two, and three, and we had cake.

Barley wallowing in mud
Barley and buddies wash off in the creek
Barley is almost clean afterwards

April 18, 2011: Hi are some pics I took of Barley today...he usually spends an hour every morning at a local field where people bring their dogs to run and chase balls. He is usually the center of attention. We also took him to the Boston Marathon today, and he and Molly were very well behaved and received many compliments on their beautiful color.

Barley and Molly running
Barley in a crowd at the Boston Marathon

Barley in a high wind

April 15, 2011: Barley is hilarious. He is still a puppy - wants to play all the time. Now that Mark is retired the dogs get taken on a long run at least once a day, sometimes twice. Barley has a great nose which leads him to some exciting finds. At one point this winter he came proudly out of the woods carrying a deer head! Mark had to really work to get him to give it up. (I guess some hunter left the head behind - it wasn't an area where hunting is allowed) He is also very good at finding mouse or vole nests in the hay fields - even under lots of snow. He 'talks' a lot. He always whines and wags excitedly whenever any of us come home. His favorite game is being chased by Molly (our rescue golden). He will pick up a toy and prance in front of her until she chases him. They have worn a track in the back yard. I'll have Mark take some pictures soon and send them - before he loses his fluffy winter coat. He is a beautiful color.Ö

November 25, 2010:Right now Barley has just retrieved my hunting hat and is walking around the house with it squeaking and whining. I think he wants to go again!

November 24, 2010:just a quick update, as I don't want to keep boring you about Barley. He had a very impressive day today, on a cold and very windy day...he tracked a pheasant (not recently stocked either) from a field into a woodsy swamp, followed it for about five minutes and maybe 200 yds before he finally flushed him. I had to hurry to keep up, and missed the first shot, had an easy second shot but the gun jammed after the first shot. oh well...Thanksgiving pardon for that one. But it was very exciting and Barley's best job yet. He has such a good nose that he gets very birdy even in places where the birds had been around the day before, which was the case today...he acted very excited several times, tracked for several minutes at a couple of other locations, and I thought for sure something was going to go up, but no luck. I think they must have stocked Monday night for Tuesday...usually the word gets out and it is pretty crowded hunting on those days, so this bird was definitely a survivor. Today was great, it was just me and one else about. This may be our last hunting day, as the pheasant season ends this week, but it ended memorably, as you always remember the ones that get away. Anyway, Barley gets so hungry after hunting that I usually share some lunch with I didn't pack a lunch so we stopped at Wendys on the way home and he got a junior bacon burger (no cheese) and we shared a vanilla frosty, which he absolutely loved...he kept squeaking looking for more.

November 6, 2010:The limit is six birds a year, so we'll be out again next week. I don't go on the weekend...too crowded, since the hunting is limited to places that are stocked, and I would worry about Barley.

November 4, 2010:Barley was out hunting Tuesday with no luck, but today was better. Cold and rainy and miserable, but we got our first pheasant. He sniffed him out and flushed him...not so keen on retrieving it however...he just sort of kept nosing it. Not a problem...that will come. In only a few times out, Barley has learned so much, and he is hunting as well or better in his first season as any dog I have owned, even after many years of hunting experience...very impressive! In addition to this bird, he found another bird (dead) that had been shot earlier in the morning by another hunter, and then flushed another pheasant (which I did not shoot, since the limit is two birds). Hopefully I will learn how to attach pics...first picture is from Tuesday, second is from today. Let me know if you don't get the pics... Barley loves it!

dog with pheasant
Barley with a bird

Barley looking noble

October 30, 2010:Just an update on Barley. He flushed his first pheasant yesterday, on only his second trip out! He actually seems to know what weíre doing, just from smelling where the birds had been stocked (in Mass. we have not had any native birds for many years, probably because of coyotes and fishers and habitat loss). Anyway, we have to rely on birds stocked by the Mass. Division of Fish and Wildlife, and it is generally pretty tough hunting ... if you donít go on the days they have stocked, you generally donít find anything. Took him out last week and we found a dead bird that a fisher ate part of ... he thought it was quite interesting and rolled in it. Found a couple of other places where birds had been (feathers). Took him out again this week -- he found more 'birdy' places, as well as some perfectly aged horse manure to roll in. After three hours of nothing we were almost back to the car when he started acting 'birdy' again, sniffing around very intently and tail wagging. I thought it was just another feather pile, but holy smoke if a pheasant didnít burst up .... caught me completely by surprise. It was beautiful, but things went downhill from there. I aggravated an old neck injury this weekend and my right fingers are pretty numb, and I pulled the trigger and nothing. Seems like I didnít get the safety off the gun all the way. I did not get a shot off. Barley looked at me like 'what do I do now?'; Anyway, the bird flew into the woods; we tried finding him again but I believe he flew over a river, so no luck. But, Barley really surprised me, and he is so far ahead of any other golden I have owned at this young age, especially since I do not have an experienced dog to teach him. He really loves to hunt, and doesnít want to get back in the car to go home. Hope to have another update next weekend.

September 20, 2010:Loved the pictures of Jed. Barley does look a lot like him, and I expect he will even more as he grows to his full size. His head is massively wide but his nose is fairly short. Mark particularly like the last picture of Jed in the blind. Barley will try his first hunting season this fall - we'll see how it goes. This will be the first time Mark has not had an older dog to teach the new one what to do.

August 31, 2010:Thanks for the birthday wishes. It is hard to believe it's been a year. I remember how excited we were to hear the news of the litter. We have added another dog to our family recently. Molly, a 2 year old spayed female Golden who came from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. She is a darker red color with a white blaze on her chest; except for her face (more pointed nose) she and Barley are almost a matched set. We didn't expect to get a call from them until later in the fall, but they thought she might be a good fit in our house and I think they were right. She loves to play, run, and swim and is very agile. She and Barley are still working out some dominance issues but for the most part their wrestling is just hard play. She has some separation anxiety issues, not surprising given what we know of her history, but seems to be making progress. Mark took a bunch of pictures on his birthday, but none of them really captured how handsome he is. It is very hot here again (yes, this far north) and he's panting in most of the pictures.

portrait 1
portrait 2

dogs at ice cream stand
Barley at 1 year, September 1, 2010, getting birthday ice cream (left) with his new friend Molly (right)

June 4, 2010:Barley is settling down and I feel certain he will be a great dog for us. He's still a puppy and that is always work. His worst 'offense' now is that he loves to grab something that belongs to one of us (usually a shoe) and see if he can get us to chase him. We try not to play that particular game, but he does enjoy it. I have found several shoes, hats, and once a bra in the back yard where he has taken a prize through the doggy door with him. The world is very entertaining for Barley.

May 15, 2010:We got the registration from AKC. His official name is 'Fern Hill Gnarly Barley.' The attached photo is from last weekend when he and Mark were at retrieving class. He misbehaved and wouldn't come out of the swamp - Mark had to go and get him.... not his best day. He is squarely in the middle of the testing adolescent phase. I won't let him run off lead any more because I'm not always sure he will come back when called. We do our walks now with a very long lead so he can run but I can make him come back when he's called. We're continuing in obedience classes but I feel like we're at a bit of a plateau.


April 29, 2010:Thanks for the pictures of Penny and the updates. In the pictures you send Penny looks very much like Barley in the face. I had thought he favored Drake but now I'm not sure. We've decided to name him 'Fern Hill Gnarly Barley.' An archaic definition of Gnarl is to snarl or vocalize, which he certainly does frequently. I swear the dog is trying to talk. The modern definition - slang of course - is something that is either very good or very difficult - also suits him! As to the talkativeness - we sometimes call him "Mr. Squeaker" in homage to his grandfather. At times he sounds like a wookie from Star Wars.

March 11, 2010: Barley is about 60 pounds now. We had to change his food - he was having some diarrhea with the Iams. He's now eating Solid Gold Wolf Cub kibble (bison and salmon based - much more expensive, of course) but doing fine with it. I think it was the corn in the Iams that was bothering him. Barley just had his undescended testicle removed last week. It was very small and in the abdominal cavity. The past week has been trying - he's supposed to be calm and quiet and only go out on the leash for bathroom needs. Also he has to wear the Elizabethan collar to keep him away from the stitches.

March 14, 2010: Here are some photos of Barley at 6 months. Isn't he handsome? All of a sudden he looks like an adult rather than a puppy.

Barley at 6 months, March 2010
Still busy exploring! March 2010 (picture at right)

December 20, 2009:This is Barley in the snow this morning. He loves it. He is now about 32 lbs and a bundle of energy. His right testicle is still undescended. I have discussed it with my vet and we will probably remove the undescended one when he's 6 months old. I plan to wait until he's mature (a year and a half or so) to have him completely neutered based on the information you gave us [about the protective effect of hormones on growing bones and helping to prevent bone cancer]. Our only other health concern is that he has a fondness for eating rocks. We have been hyper-vigilant about it and he is no longer allowed in the backyard unsupervised. He was digging them up and eating them. My vet tells me that it is unlikely to persist after the puppy phase and we just need to keep him from doing it until then. The snow will really help. He is very vocal, we're working on having him not be so demanding if he feels we're not paying enough attention. He will start puppy kindergarten in early January and has been attending a puppy play group in the meantime. He has some dog friends in the neighborhood that he likes to play with every day. He is really enjoying having both boys home for the holidays. He has a new job, from his point of view. He thinks he has to chase any birds who come to the feeders in the back yard. He is a joy, but both Mark and I are feeling our age. We had forgotten how much energy a puppy takes - also this time we don't have an older dog at home to teach the new one the house rules.


November 17, 2009: Barley is sleeping through the night and was 17 pounds on the Tuesday after he turned 10 weeks old. The vet s ays he's just the right size - not at all fat. He's beginning to get that lanky puppy look - all legs and feet. Still waiting for that second testicle to descend. The vet says we have a little more time when it might come down on its own.

November 5, 2009: He knows, come, sit, down, and we're working on wait. He also loved helping to carve the pumpkins. [See picture below!]

October 29, 2010: This is Barley, last weekend, it's a little out of focus, but you can see his whole little body. He's grown and changed since then. His head is a little broader - more like Drake. I'll send another picture when I get one I think really captures him. He's about 10.5 pounds now, according to my bathroom scale. He would eat all the time if he had access to food. He loves to eat. We have to keep him out of the garden or he will eat the old tomatoes left from the frost! He has continued his adventurous ways, to a point. I swear he is creating a map of his new world in his head. Each time out he goes a little further - but only a little. He will run happily around the areas he knows and go much more cautiously into new territory. This is true both in our backyard (which is wooded, not lawn) and on walks in the neighborhood. He has a great nose and often sticks it up in the air when something interesting is around. He looked up when a flock of geese flew over yesterday! Can't wait to see what he does when he smells the wild turkeys that live near my father-in-law's house.Ö

Barley, end of October 2009
Helping to carve the pumpkins

October 21, 2009: We're all still tired from the trip but all is well - we have a puppy to make us smile. We have decided on Barley as Black Boy's name. I guess the official name will be something like Fern Hill's Barley. We took him to our vet today for the puppy check and have a small issue. His right testicle is undescended now. Is it possible that your vet mistook Red Boy for Black Boy? [Editor's note: Red Boy's testicle was undescended at 4 weeks but was down by 6 weeks; my vet never detected an undescended testicle on Barley]. It seems possible given how close they are in size and color. Are you certain he had both down last week? My vet tells me that it is not uncommon for puppies to retract a testicle if they are stressed; but it would be good to know if this is new or if it's possible it's an ongoing situation. We'll be taking him in again in the next few weeks and will certainly check it again. I'll keep you posted.Ö

October 20, 2009: We made it home very early this morning (about 3:15 am). Black boy (yet to be named - we'll decide in the next day or so) made a spectacular adjustment. He whined for a while, but after a couple of rest area explorations he settled down and napped - first on my lap, then Danny's. We finally learned that he really preferred the floor between the seats and he only whined when he needed to go out. He had only one small accident when he peed on Mark's jacket shortly after we got on the road. The rest of the time when he woke up he would chew on a towel, the toy or nylabone, then get a little more active, then whine a bit. When he whined we would stop for a romp and he would do his business. He will be extraordinarily easy to house train. All our Goldens have been easy, but this one is catching on very quickly (or he's training us).

When we got home in the middle of the night he whined in the crate and didn't like it at all. I got him up, gave him a drink and a few bites of kibble and put him back in, while I sat next to the crate so he knew I was there. He went right to sleep and slept several more hours. He got up at 7, ate breakfast, explored part of the back yard, and came back in for another nap. Now he's learning all about our kitchen. For now we have him gated in there when he's not right with us in the house.Ö

Baby Pictures

puppy with new family
Barley, who was known here as Black Boy, now lives with Mark Letizi and Maggie Brewer and their sons John and Danny in Massachusetts, where he will be a pet and Mark's hunting companion.

Black Boy, 6 weeks, 10/11/09
Black Boy, 5 weeks, 10/4/09
Black Boy, 4 weeks, 9/28/09
Black Boy, 3 weeks, 9/20/09
Black Boy, 2 weeks, 09/14/09
One Week portrait, 9/7/09
Day old portrait, 9/1/09

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