This is the story of Barney, the miracle dog – the beaten, battered and broken street dog from Bosnia who captured all our hearts. This is Barney’s miraculous story of how he cheated death more times than we could count. With his will to survive, bravery and infectious personality and love of humans, his story is one that will stay with you forever.
Please watch his amazing story on this video… if it doesn’t pull your heartstrings, then we sincerely believe nothing will! This story has a happy ending, and most importantly this story spreads LOVE! Barney has brought so many people together in a common cause, people who never knew each other before and who now will remain friends forever.
Barney’s story begins on the 20 October 2015
Animal Welfare Advocate and Rescuer, Edina Pasic from Sarajevo wrote:
“This truly left me speechless. Totally broke me. We went to feed the dogs on the streets today. And we went to one of our usual spots, where we always go when we have food. We started to call on the dogs and then we saw a horrible sight. One of the dogs we have been feeding for a long time lay on the ground and looked like he was sleeping. When he heard us, he lifted his head and then the rest of his body. Then he stopped and just looked at us for a few minutes. I wondered what was wrong with him because he’s always the first to run up to us. Then the darling tried to come over to us. Jumping little by little on his four legs with the first right leg totally fractured. He couldn’t walk on it at all.
I walked over to the man who’s guarding the area where these dogs stay and asked him about what had happened to him. He told me that there are a lot of dogs wondering abound that factory. Most of them are very scared of people, but this one was friendly and cuddly. He told me … Some monster hit the big dog with his car. Then, instead of helping him, he kicked both him and another dog and beat them with a bat he had in his car. The guard I was talking to ran out after the monster when this happened, but it all happened way to fast and he wasn’t fast enough to stop it. The guard said that the dogs weren’t doing anything wrong. They weren’t running after the car.”
AWABosnia asked Edina to rescue him. We would somehow find the money for treatment and care. She did. (And she also rescued the white dog, a female dog, also hurt by this terrible man). Both dogs were taken to the vet.
Edina named the big dog was named BARNEY.
22 October 2015, Edina wrote:
“Unfortunately Barney’s injury is complicated. He has an old elbow fracture and now has a new fracture in the same area. No one is able to operate on this here in Sarajevo, so amputation has been suggested. I’ve sent the pictures to Zagreb and Slovenia and am currently waiting for a response. I really hope that someone can fix his leg.
Barney is a big dog. Look what they did to him. He’s just skin and bones. He doesn’t even have the strength to eat. He’s totally broken. He is so battered. Can’t walk, can’t run. Why have humans done this to him? Can somebody just tell me why?”
Barney was transported to Zagreb where a vet would operate and treat him. So many supporters donated to cover the costs.
As soon as the vet examined Barney, he said Barney had been shot at some point in the past. The bullet fragments had made a big mess of his leg. X-rays revealed there were still bullet fragments in Barney’s leg. He had a broken bone on the same leg and a broken toe on his front leg.
Edina wrote on the 28th: “The vet didn’t want to operate on him immediately because of his anaemia and depression. He’s doing a lot better today. He’s wagging his tail at anyone who comes close. I also have to thank the kind people in Zagreb who have promised to visit him every day while he’s there. He doesn’t lack love there, so I’m very happy. He’s won all their hearts. He doesn’t have to stay in his box like the other dogs at the clinic. Instead they let him walk around the whole area of the clinic freely. They don’t want him to be in the box, so he’s helping them work by observing them. Our brave Barney. He knows that we all love him. He’ll be brave tomorrow because of all of you. Be strong our boy.”
AND THEN … THE BEST NEWS EVER:
31 October 2015, Edina wrote:
“Our Barney was operated on late last night. The operation lasted for 5 hours and it was successful. Barney has woken up from the anaesthesia. I’m thrilled! I just called the clinic; he’s going well. He’s awake and has lifted his head. He’s getting painkillers and sedatives to relax him. Everything is going according to the plan. Our brave darling. They also told me that it was a difficult and complicated operation, “aggressive” as they called it and that much is now relying on his ability to heal. They also have to keep his wounds cold. He’s got a long and hard way to recovery, but I know and believe that our brave Barney will pull through like the hero he is. In time he will be able to use his leg again.”
AND THEN … THE WORST NEWS EVER, JUST A FEW DAYS LATER…
1 November 2015, Edina wrote:
“TERRIBLE NEWS ABOUT BARNEY! This morning I got a call from the vet in Zagreb saying BARNEY HAS ESCAPED FROM THE CLINIC. This happened last night and I am only finding out this morning. They did not call me. I am driving there now. I cannot stay in Sarajevo. I have to be there. It is a six hour drive. I cannot believe this! He cannot go far on that leg. He MUST be found. Please please please send him your wishes to stay near the clinic and not to hide. Please everyone! Barney needs your help now MORE THAN EVER. How did the clinic let this happen? A lot of people are there looking for him. This cannot happen to him, not to Barney”
Two days later, Edina wrote:
“With a heavy heart, I have to inform you that we still haven’t found Barney. We will not stop looking, but this is really hard on me. We even contacted people with search dogs today and the dog had a trace, but lost it. I’m really desperate. We’ve also been hanging up posters around the city. We will be looking all night tonight and the whole day tomorrow until we find him. … My only priority now is that we find him. I’m very worried because he can get gangrene infection or sepsis. And he’s also hungry. And his painkillers will also wear off soon and he will be in a lot of pain. Please pray that we find him. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far with sharing his post and looking for him and to all of you who will help in the days to come. Please Barney, come back to me. Please don’t do this to me.”
On 5th November, with Barney having been operated on barely a week ago, Edina wrote:
“Unfortunately, we still haven’t found Barney. Where are you my darling? All of the media, newspapers, internet based newspapers have heard his story and shared it. I really wish to thank them for doing so. We’ve visited all the vet stations and put up posters. Today, along with some friends, we put up posters on the bus stations and tram stations. We’ve left posters in the trams, we have given them to taxi drivers. We’ve even made some small ones that we left on the cars parked outside. We will not stop looking for him. My darling Barney, I feel I will find you so just hold on.”
A few days later Edina wrote:
“My darling Barney… We’re still looking for my darling Barney… I feel that he’s alive so I can’t give up on him… Last night a boy told us that he had seen Barney on his way home from school, on the bus station Dubica… We searched the whole area along with our friends and stayed there the whole night in our car… We didn’t leave the place for one minute, but unfortunately we didn’t have any luck this time either… I repeat that I still feel that he’s alive… And thanks to everyone who is helping with the positive messages on not to give up hope… It gets worse as the days go by… Just imagine yourself in a different country, in a different city, trying to find your pet or your child… It’s the same thing to me… And you get calls from people claiming to have seen him… Every time your heart stops, you start to cry and run to the place where he was seen… I can`t explain how I, and all the others here looking, feel… Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind..”
Edina and Caki searched and searched all over Zagreb. Svend, a volunteer helper for DogLost (a group in the UK helping reunite lost dogs with their owners) had been following the story and gave support and encouragement and advice, but after 20 days of searching Edina had to return to Sarajevo to take care of her small son and to check on her other rescues who were in pension.
Caki stayed on, he couldn’t give up…. He wouldn’t give up… and nor would Svend, who enlisted the help of other DogLost volunteers with vast experience of catching lost dogs… After 33 days of searching for nearly every hour in the day, Caki also had to go back to Sarajevo but he and Edina kept returning to Zagreb (it’s a seven hour drive), and a wonderful local team of rescuers from Zagreb gathered to continue looking for Barney. The team included the wonderful Mirchi, Daria, and Marina – supported by their long-suffering partners.
Thousands of people followed Barney’s story on Facebook, and there were articles about him in the Croatian newspapers… (and, sadly, some people even thought his escape from the veterinary surgery was fabricated to get donations…in spite of there being CCVT video footage from the surgery showing how in fact it happened and how he escaped the clinic!)
After endless and fruitless “chasing” and “searching”, and despite numerous sightings during November and December and the extensive efforts of numerous helpers, Barney proved impossible to even get close to.
Then, in February 2016, after a long period with no sightings, the team had a lucky break with a sighting of Barney several kilometers south of the Sava river in a semi-rural area near the airport.
The team (which was constantly growing in numbers) had to establish a feeding station that Barney visited regularly, and then to make and install a suitable trap. The trap and feeding station needed twice daily visits and, once “set”, continuous observation throughout every night!
By using a trail camera sent from the UK by Svend, the team were able to confirm Barney was visiting their feeding station. And with some coaching they were able to get a suitable trap made (not something they could buy or borrow in Croatia!), and over a period of one month they gradually enticed Barney to go into the trap, before setting it. This was not a process familiar to anyone in Zagreb, but they followed detailed advice via a Facebook chat (more than 500 messages!)
AND THEN … the news we had all been waiting to hear:
BARNEY is FOUND and is SAFE….! FOUR MONTHS AFTER HE ESCAPED!
6 March 2016, Edina wrote:
“As many of you will remember, Barney has been missing in Zagreb, with a broken leg, since 1 November of last year. On 4 March, he was finally back in safe hands! Finally, after more than 4 months out on his own, all our efforts have proved worthwhile. Barney has been caught.
Barney has had a preliminary vet check today (lots of ticks to be removed, and some antibiotics for an infection), and will go back on Monday for x-rays of his leg. Meanwhile, tonight he is “enjoying” a bath and manicure!
A HUGE “WELL DONE” and thank you to Svend, Mirchi, Daria, Marina, and the many other who helped at various stages, including Olja, Suzana, Rina, Drazen and others. A full list of all the people involved is at the end of this article, who all deserve to be thanked.
But of course Barney’s story did not end there…
7 March 2016: “Today Barney went for x-rays at the vet clinic “Zarko Cirica”. Everyone at the clinic recognized him and gave him lots of hugs and kisses. They were all pleasantly surprised because Barney didn’t have sepsis, despite living on his own for four months. He’s had urine, blood and faeces samples, and everything looks good – even the blood test, despite having over 70 ticks removed. On Wednesday he’s due to have a bone biopsy of his leg, which hasn’t healed as it should have, of course. He also has an infection in the joint, although the vet said Barney is a special phenomenon for going this long without antibiotics.
In addition to the problems on one leg, he has an in-growing claw on one of his paws, and a tooth that is in such a bad condition that it has to be pulled: all of this will be done on Wednesday, too. Once his leg has been sorted out, he will need physio and hydro-therapy, to re-learn to use his leg. His reflexes are great so the vet thinks that the problem is all in Barney’s head because he has become used to doing everything on three legs!
Barney has a very strong-smelling dark urine. Because of a large number of ticks (70) we had spotted on his body it is assumed he may suffer from babesiosis.
We had his blood work done again and everything was fine but the vet didn’t want to risk it and put him under anaesthetic before making sure he was ready for that. (As he said – his paw and leg will not run away). He is a well-known vet and he doesn’t want to rush it. Barney has lots of friends in the clinic!
Barney had a huge ear wound that was deepened by his permanent scratching. The vets thought it was mange but after they had done the swab it was clear he didn’t have it.
“Barney is a lucky guy because he has Hari and Mirchi as his temporary foster family who are giving him love and support and they will take care of him as far as he will need hydrotherapy and of course he will be able to use his leg again. Mirchi made a sponge sock to stop him scratching it. Our friends from Zagreb bought him a GPS which is built into his collar so as to be able to follow him at every turn via smart phone App (ALL OVER THE WORLD). THEY ARE AMAZING!”
13 March 2016: “Barney has now been to the vets three times in the last week. The surgery planned for Wednesday was delayed until Friday, to allow for further blood tests. He has now had bone samples taken, and test results are expected next week. He’s also had a couple of decayed teeth removed, which should make him feel a bit better and while he was under general anaesthetic, he was also neutered. What appeared to be an “in-grown” claw on his front right paw turned out to be a historical fractured toe: the vet hasn’t done anything with this at the moment, as he wouldn’t be able to use that leg after surgery.
Barney is now wearing his GPS collar! Mirchi and Marina kindly paid for the collar, but we have bought a 1 year subscription (it uses a mobile phone SIM card and App).”
Barney continued to receive veterinary treatment, because although his leg healed well he wasn’t using it at all, and so he was prescribed a course of hydrotherapy sessions to help him regain use of his leg.
None of this could have happened without the generous support of Edina and Caki’s followers, of course. Barney had amassed SO many followers and fans!
2 May 2016, Edina wrote: “Barney is doing OK and is now up to 42kg bodyweight, but the infection in his bone has caused a screw to come loose, so he has had an operation to take it out.
When they removed the loose screw, Barney’s leg was not looking good. They took a sample of that tissue and found out that his bone had started to dissolve because it was constantly infected by all screws and pieces of bullet in his elbow.
So they put him on very strong antibiotics for almost 2 months and decided to take all the screws out as well as bullet pieces.”
Barney had long recovery (3 months) after that surgery, but he finally started using that leg again – more and more every day. “He is using it more than ever these days and he is extremely fast now!”
21 September 2016, eleven months after his initial rescue and seven months after he was found after escaping the vet practise, BARNEY HAS A FOREVER HOME IN CANADA WAITING FOR HIM! With an incredible family who fell in love with Barney from the start.
But once again we need your help to get him there. And this is why …
The most beautiful outcome of Barney’s story is that most of the people involved in his story, did not know each other. So, thank you Barney for bringing people together and creating friendships that will last forever as a result of their love for you. You are a special boy, Barney. It is this reason why we feel so passionate about getting him to his forever home in Canada, he crosses continents with his love, with the people who love him.
What started as a Mission Impossible and concluded with an EPIC Mission Accomplished. We would like to thank all the people involved in Barney’s story and we are sure that Barney would like to thank them also. These people volunteered their time, money, resources, equipment, connections, networks and kept hope alive.
These people volunteered their time, money, resources, equipment, connections, networks and gave us hope. If we have missed anyone, please know that you are acknowledged.
But most of, we want to thank all the people, from all over the world, who followed and supported Barney’s story and donated funds and who forged new friendships through Barney’s story… the list is too long to write here but includes…
Svend, Edina, Caki, Marina, Olja, Mladen, Mirchi, Daria, Marko, Hari, Zrinka, Miho, Draze, Brankica, Sasa, Maja, Marijana, Ana, Suzana, Rina, Hrvoje, Tanja, Aida, Josip. Samra., Mirjana. Petra, Maja, Dubravka and Duda.
And thank you Snezana Tigerman and family who have been waiting all this time to give Barney a forever home in Canada!
But most of, we want to thank all the people, from all over the world, who followed and supported Barney’s story and who forged new friendships through Barney’s story. His story will continue with his own Facebook Page very soon.
If you have learned anything from Barney or the people involved in Barney’s life from watching his video story, then PLEASE help us raise the funds for Barney’s travel costs so that Barney can finally be in his forever home in Canada. The YouCaring fundraiser is here. UPDATE! 29 SEPTEMBER:All funds were raised thanks to incredible support and Barney is now in CANADA! We’ll make a post soon!!
THANK YOU ALL FOR LOVING AND SUPPORTING BARNEY.
A MIRACLE DOG.
A DOG LIKE NO OTHER.
BECAUSE HE SHOWED US THAT IF YOU BELIEVE IN SOMETHING, MIRACLES WILL HAPPEN.
Funds are needed to help individual rescues, for spay-neuter projects, for education also to continue advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there. Donations are managed by AWABosnia, an independent group of animal advocates. On their website, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia, you can set up a monthly donation via PayPal, or if you want to make a one-off donation, please go to your PayPal account (or set one up, it’s very easy) and send the money to: email@example.com. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.
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This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.