This is Barley. Barley is a golden retriever who lives in Amsterdam with his two favorite people, Zita Butler and Marc Wisselo.
But there’s another individual who’s very, very important to Barley — even if he’s an inanimate object.
And that’s Fluffy. Fluffy is a stuffed toy who happens to look just like Barley.
Barley and Fluffy have been together ever since Barley came to live with his favorite people.
“A week before Barley came home, we were in IKEA and noticed all the stuffed golden retrievers on the shelves,” Butler and Wisselo told The Dodo in an email. “We thought it would be fun for Barley to have a little friend… He’s totally besotted with his mini-me.”
Fluffy is an important part of Barley’s activities every single day: “They go for walks together, they chill together, they sleep next to each other. They even pee together,” Butler and Wisselo said. “Often you’ll just find them both snoozing together on the couch or watching TV.”
Fluffy also takes part in bigger adventures, too: “Fluffy must join us on our holidays,” Butler and Wisselo said. “So far Barley and Fluffy have explored the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Marc built a special ‘bakfiets’ (a special Dutch bike which parents use to ferry their kids around) for Barley so that he can travel with us all around the city.”
But not everything in a pup’s life is fun and games — and anyone who’s ever taken a dog to the vet to get neutered knows this very well.
So when Barley came home from getting neutered a few weeks ago, donning his cone of shame, he looked completely miserable and not at all his normal, cheerful self.
But then Barley’s favorite people had a brilliant idea.
If Fluffy did everything else with Barley, he could go through the cone of shame with him, too.
“He looked so sad and we felt so bad for him that we got a cone of shame for Fluffy, too,” Butler and Wisselo said. “It definitely improved his mood.”
Fluffy helped Barley breeze through that week in the lampshade.
“It was the sweetest thing to see Barley looking after Fluffy,” Butler and Wisselo added. “Both have since recovered and are doing well.”
Now that they’re fully recovered, Barley and his mini-me are back to their old tricks, with Barley’s favorite people competing with Fluffy for Barley’s attention.
But what if something ever happened to Fluffy? What if he got lost or suffered a tear?
“We have two Fluffies at home in case we ever lose one,” Butler and Wisselo said, adding that they wash both Fluffies frequently so they stay fresh.
“We’re due a trip to Ikea soon to stock up on some more,” Butler and Wisselo said. “It would be a disaster if IKEA discontinued the line — Barley would be very upset!”