From Rock 'n' Roll to Rawhide: Fostering a Shelter Dog

Cindy and Dennis Dunaway are best known for their work with the original Alice Cooper Band band. Cindy created their costumes, which trail-blazed the glam rock style, while Dennis played bass and helped pen some of rock's biggest hits, such as "School's Out." Dennis, along with the other members of the original Alice Cooper group, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

But we're not here to discuss glitter and gold records. We're here to discuss their newest house guest: Barley, a Pets for Patriots eligible dog for adoption.

Barley sits next to Dennis, leaning gratefully and beaming as Dennis pets his soft, apricot fur. Barley is a classic mutt; if you ask a child to draw a dog, they draw Barley. Barley is a resident at Pets for Patriots partner shelter Stamford Animal Care & Control in Connecticut. At the moment, he is enjoying a little break at the Dunaways'.

"We volunteer at the shelter, and have always admired Barley," Dennis tells me. "He's a laid-back, friendly and an all-around good dog. When Barley and I walk together, the stress of daily life melts away. He's always so happy and appreciative to be exploring the outdoors together. His enthusiasm would be a refreshing mood boost for anyone."

"It's so frustrating to me," Cindy says. "Barley's such a sweet dog, but has been in the shelter for years -- I can't figure it out. He's the kind of dog we all had growing up, so what I see in him is a loyal companion, a buddy. Despite living in a tiny kennel, he's nothing but a happy guy every time I visit him. He enthusiastically observes everything; he loves life and seems thankful for everything around us…the trees swaying, the squirrels playing…" Dennis adds, "Especially the squirrels!"

So the question on everyone's mind: who's Barley's favorite musician? Cindy guesses Bruce Springsteen. "A working guy's singer! And to answer your next question…yes, he looks fabulous in sequins."

"Someone rescue this dog!" Dennis quips.

Having to travel for work and having two rescued dogs of their own (one of them special needs), Cindy and Dennis will sadly have to return Barley back to the shelter. "We just wanted to give him some well-deserved home time, a break from the shelter," Cindy says. "Barley will go back into his cement kennel for 16 hours at a time, hoping that tomorrow, maybe his hero will come and see him for the good dog he is, and take him to his new home once and for all."

Dennis adds, "How wonderful if one of our returning soldiers or veterans adopted him -- they've done so much for us, they deserve a pet who will do nothing but give. He's also a natural follower, and could learn functions or tasks that might be helpful to his companion."

Barley's the kind of pet that Pets for Patriots encourages our military community to adopt: a down-right good dog. Even though most of us would love a pet as laid-back as Barley, he is overshadowed time and time again by shelter mates who are more vocal, energetic, or pleading as potential adopters walk by. His wagging tail and quiet smile are perhaps misconceived as complacency. Luckily, he is in a no-kill shelter with lots of volunteer interaction and socialization, though it doesn't even come close to being a true family.

Barley qualifies for the Pets for Patriots program, which entitles eligible military professionals to discounted care over the life of Barley through member veterinarians and direct financial support towards the purchase of pet food and other basics. To meet Barley, contact Martina at makhair@aol.com.