Dog lovers generous with support for Barney 1,100 letters are sent to cancer-stricken canine

March 21, 1996|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

Barney, the cancer-stricken search dog, sniffed over the 1,100 envelopes stacked on the floor at Baltimore County fire headquarters yesterday but could not possibly realize the outpouring of love and generosity they represented.

The 6-year-old golden retriever turned his attention to finding someone to nuzzle.

The envelopes were a response to the Fire Department's public appeal last week for help to pay for chemotherapy treatment after Barney was diagnosed earlier this month with lymphosarcoma.

"The response has been phenomenal," said Battalion Chief Stephen G. Lancaster, head of the department's rescue unit, who has been collecting the mail.

Most of it went to Falls Road Animal Hospital, whose veterinarians have provided free care for the county's three search dogs since 1989.

The department says it has more than enough to cover the estimated $2,000 to $3,000 cost of treatment, with money left over for a Barney Fund bank account to cover future medical care for the three search dogs.

"We will respond to every one of these cards and gifts," said Barney's handler, Lt. Donald E. Kluge.

The donations won't be counted until next week, but some gifts are known. An 86-year-old retired county policeman from Monkton offered a donation if someone could come to his house for it. Lieutenant Kluge said he took Barney to the man's home Friday, "and he gave us $1,000." The first day, a woman put a $600 donation on her credit card at the animal hospital.

Barney has become such a celebrity, Lieutenant Kluge said, that it took him 10 minutes to get through the headquarters lobby yesterday with so many people wanting to pet the dog and ask about his condition.

Barney's second chemotherapy treatment, on Monday, hit him harder than the first one, but the dog had recovered his good spirit yesterday, Lieutenant Kluge said. The only evidence of his problem is that his legs have been shaved for the injections.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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