Stuart Schenendorf of Manhattan first met his best buddy Barney at an ASPCA adopt-a-thon in 1998. He saw Barney’s cute mug in a photo, and immediately wanted to meet the charming pup. “When they opened his kennel, Barney ran out to me, spun around, sat at my feet, leaned back against my legs and looked up over his shoulder at me as if to say ‘I’m yours,’” Stuart recalls. “He is an incredibly affectionate dog and thrives on attention.”
Fast forward 12 years, and you have a deeply bonded pair who’ve been through many of life’s most significant moments together. One such life-changing experience occurred just a few months after the pair met. Deviating from their normal routine, they went for a long walk to a dog run in midtown Manhattan.
“Barney usually keeps to himself in dog runs, but that evening he started playing with a chocolate Lab,” explains Stuart. “I started talking to the dog’s owner, a beautiful, down-to-earth woman named Patti. Soon Patti and I started meeting at the dog run on a regular basis, watching Barney and her dog, Bailey, and getting to know each other along the way.”
Stuart adds: “Two years later, Bailey and Patti moved in with Barney and me, and six months later, Patti and I were married. The dogs remained just friends.”
Earlier this summer, Stuart and Patti started joking around about having a party for Barney to honor his thirteenth birthday. “When a Jewish boy or girl turns 13, the occasion is celebrated with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah—so why not host a 'Bark Mitzvah' for Barney?” Stuart laughs. “We thought we would make it fun and light, and not take it too seriously. We invited friends and their dogs, and asked for donations to the ASPCA.”
Held on June 19 in Manhattan’s Carl Schurz Park, the event was a rousing success and raised $200 for the ASPCA. The human guests enjoyed salad and sandwiches, while Barney’s four-legged friends munched on ample treats. Mazel tov, Barney!
For more successful adoption stories, please visit our Happy Tails Archive. Or to learn how you can give back to the ASPCA in a special way, please visit our Honor Giving page.