Barry Buddha, Bigger Than Life

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Christmas Eve – 2016

We buried one of my best buds today.

We returned his body to the earth… old school, but with a more biodegradable casket, just as he would’ve preferred. I know it’s much more common these days to cremate, but there was nothing common about Barry. He preferred fruit over fish, enjoyed large, noisy gatherings, and would simply meow at insects in wonderment, with no intention of harming them (unlike most of the other feline assassins he lived with). And when we meditated together, he would transform himself from an “adorable” ginger house cat, to a statuesque Shaolin Zen master. We often joked about how he must’ve been a monk in a previous life.

Barry was love – pure love – personified in a physical vessel many in our culture would find atypical of an enlightened being. Smiles broke out in his name, every day. Laughter followed him around the house. And to be in his presence was to be injected with the sweet crackle of life: the simple joy of being alive.

Barry loved the little things: Kibble and treats, drinking from his fountains and faucets, napping in the sunlight, hanging out wherever humans were conversing, stealing slices of banana or nectarine from his human mom’s breakfast plate, greeting guests at the door, and making biscuits on his favorite toy—a large turtle doll that was almost as big as he was. And when he spoke – which was often – it was with a distinctively warm baritone quack that poured over you like maple syrup. (His unique, low-pitched meow would earn him the name Barry in honor of soul singer, Barry White.) He was an unforgettable charactera colossal spirit, barely contained in a 10-pound shell. The fact that he is no longer with us in physical form is something I don’t believe I will ever fully get over.

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Tails From the Hood

Barry and his three siblings were born in the gutter of a gang-ridden neighborhood, in an exceedingly dangerous part of LA. My BFF, Minoo – who would become Barry’s human mom – and her friend Gio, were looking after a colony of feral cats there, and had been desperately trying to trap Barry’s pregnant mother, Gabby, before she gave birth. But she would always elude them. Meanwhile, folks in this neighborhood did not take warmly to the ferals, and bad things were starting to happen to some of them. So the big clock was ticking loudly from the day Barry was born.

Mama Gabby took her kittens from the gutter to a storage area in an apartment complex carport. But after repeated warnings to Gio about removing the “nuisance cat” (Gabby) who had been leaving paw prints on tenants’ cars, the apartment manager began the process of nailing the unit shut, in an effort to basically entomb Gabby and her kittens to their death.

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A recent shot of Barry with Mama Gabby

But their demise was not to be, at least if my BFF and Gio had anything to say about it. With a little help from a neighborhood teen, Gio grabbed the four kittens – who were just five days old now – and my BFF drove the “getaway car” and took them all back to her place. And so began that exhausting cycle of every-two-hours bottle-feeding, sleeping (for them), and plenty of poo, pee, and playtime. It would take a full year for them to finally catch Barry’s street-smart and trap-savvy momma.

I first met Barry and the gang right around this time and became one of the part-time bottle-feeders. Within a few short weeks, Barry would emerge as the “all-star” of the litter: first, with his unmistakably loud and bassy meow; second, with his prominent Buddha belly (despite having been dewormed); and then soon after that, with his astonishing level of awareness and empathy. (It would be the combination of his big belly and astute mindfulness that would earn him his middle name of “Buddha.”)

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That infamous Buddha belly

Living in the Animal Nirvana

My BFF kept Barry and his sister Lily, and found a great home for his brothers Bobby (hey, not my idea) and Timmy. For the rest of Barry’s life, that Northridge, CA house would always be the forever home for at least 10 other rescued animals, and a temporary refuge for many, many dozens more: some there only for a few days, others for more than a year. And we were consistently awestruck with how welcoming and intuitively supportive Barry was with all of the various cats and dogs who came through that door. He was somehow destined to play the MC role at the house, and he certainly had the personality, predisposition, and skill-set for it.

I’ll never forget the first time we noticed Barry’s heightened level of empathy:

My BFF had taken in a sick old chow named Bernie, probably 15-plus. Barry and his siblings loved Bernie and would constantly climb all over him, snag food from his “jaws of death” while he tried to eat, and cuddle up in his thick, black coat of fur. Likewise, Bernie loved them, which we always felt was a reason he continued to stick around.


A familiar sight back in the day:
Barry hanging out ON his Uncle Bernie

One day, Bernie’s health took a bad turn, and by that night, he was beginning to struggle. We got him situated in the middle of the floor, then put the kittens back in their cat condo for the night.  They all continued with their kitty antics, tumbling about and wrestling with each other… except for one.  It was Barry, anxiously awatch at the cage door, eyes fixed on Bernie, and “yelling” his meows at us with as much force as his little kitten lungs could generate.

“Hey, look at Barry,” I said to my BFF. “Do you think he knows something’s wrong with Bernie?”

“Of course he does!” she said. Then my BFF stepped over to the cage and opened the door. Barry ambled right over to Bernie and started grooming his face, then burrowed into his right cheek and would not leave his side all night. We were blown away. We also noticed Barry kept licking him around his right eye… the very same eye that would produce some blood the next day right before we had to put Bernie down. Clearly, Barry knew something was going on in that exact spot. This was our Barry Buddha… at only eight weeks old!

As recently as this past July, just prior to Barry’s cancer diagnosis, he demonstrated his acute empathy and welcoming skills with Pasha, a dog who had just been rescued from Iran. Pasha had suffered some unspeakable cruelty and abuse over there and, understandably, had this manic, PTSD kind of energy he was carrying around.  Sometimes he would just freeze with fear in the middle of the room, with no provocation. Of course, Barry picked up on this immediately.

On his first day there, Pasha – frazzled and exhausted – laid down on the family room floor to take a snooze. Barry laid down right next to him, even mirroring his exact body posture, as if to attempt to develop some level of rapport with Pasha. (Fortunately, my BFF snapped a pic of this.) Once again, Barry eased the acclimation process for another… just as he’s been doing since he was a kitten.

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Barry working his magic

It’s important to point out that Barry played Chief Welcoming Officer to all of the animals who came into the house, even as some weren’t exactly so friendly to Barry.  In fact, Barry would often exhibit what we called “death wish” behavior to all new dog fosters, even if a dog had shown signs of irritation toward a persistently friendly Barry. It was like he was incapable of retaining any unpleasant information about anyone.

However, to really know Barry is to know this: Barry’s gonna do, what Barry’s gonna do, the way Barry’s gonna do it. And this unusual naiveté – or perhaps unlimited capacity for forgiveness – would remain one of Barry’s most endearing qualities. We were always glad that he became a house cat early on, because this trait would not have served him well on the street!

barryandmooshkaBarry was always relentlessly affectionate
toward his “little” sister, Mooshka

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Barry’s most recent animal family members,
minus his outdoor feral family
(From Barry’s FB page)

Sensitive Soul

Barry was also very emotional. My BFF and I often recount the time that Toby and Olivia – two foster kittens who Barry absolutely adored – finally went to their forever home. Barry was visibly depressed for at least three days after that, moping around the house with this strange, mournful elasticity to his meows, and refusing to eat. He was inconsolable. But the first time I saw him distraught was just before his first birthday.

My BFF went to Guatemala to rescue some street dogs, so she had me housesit and look after the gang for a few days. Of course, she loved all of her babies, but even by this point, Barry was her “golden boy,” and I felt extra pressure to ensure his health and safety while she was gone. This was the first time Barry would be apart from his human mom.

Within 24 hours, he became so despondent over her being away that he basically lost his voice. His powerhouse meows became these faint, airy squeaks, like the soft turn of a hinge on an old wooden door. He also lost all interest in food (forever a tell-tale sign that there is trouble in Barry-World). I freaked out at the prospect that something might happen to Barry on my watch, so we took an immediate trip to the emergency room. Absolutely no chances would be taken! They, of course, couldn’t find anything at all wrong with him, so we just had to chalk it up to a simple case of depression; Barry missed his momma. A sensitive soul, indeed.

That old saying about how “the eyes are the window to the soul” is especially relevant where Barry is concerned. Just by looking at his face, directly into his eyes, you could sense that he had a heightened level of empathy, lucidity, and awareness going on that you would typically only find in our most evolved beings. Oddly, though, Barry possessed a very uncatlike clumsiness (he would sometimes struggle to make simple floor-to-dresser leaps, or even randomly topple off the arm of a couch), and we would often speculate that it must be this holy man’s first time in a cat body.

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Barry loved his fruit:
yet another one of his many unique traits

Barry’s Journal

For all we might find to complain about social media, I am very thankful for Facebook right now… and, of course, my BFF.  A few years back, on a whim, she started a Facebook fan page for Barry (I Am Barry the Cat), and he quickly began to accumulate thousands of adoring fans and followers from all over the globe. The page would essentially cover various day-to-day trials and tribulations that Barry experienced at home, from his personal perspective, in his unique voice. I always marveled at how well my BFF was able to “channel” Barry for the numerous posts that have been logged there. Add to that the countless pictures and videos, and you have a very detailed encapsulation – a personal journal, really – of Barry’s life. What a gift it was while he was around, and what a blessing it is now that he’s no longer with us in physical form. I know I will be visiting his page often in the months ahead, just to try to ease the pain a bit.


Just one of many treasures from Barry’s FB fan page

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Barry has also been “immortalized” on a
number of occasions with his human dad

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A Beautiful Life

Barry has been a huge part of my life for the past 10 1/2 years.  My BFF, her entire family, and the endless parade of cats and dogs who have fallen under her and her husband Jackson’s care through the years, have become my “LA family.” And through holidays, birthdays, or even just a little hang time, their place has been the true family hang (in contrast to the more solitary, cave-like ambience of my own place, where I’ve always lived alone).

I mention this to underscore the fact that Barry and I have shared a lot of heavy-duty ups and downs together over this past decade… exactly as you might with any close friend or family member. There is no difference in my mind.

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A while back, when Barry was only three or four, it seemed that the ebb and flow of life for me had favored an infinite ebb. I wound up in what felt like an indefinite limbo state of frustration and regret. Things were arduous, directionless, and I slipped into an unusually heavy depression, which felt like a rhino sitting on my chest.  Then late one night, it all seemed to catch up with me.

I was lying on the couch of my practice room with the lights off, feeling like the last shreds of hope had escaped me. I saw no way out in that moment. And while I would never be one to take the ending of life into my own hands – it’s just not in my nature – I must admit I was curious about it… perhaps a bit more so than ever before.  I remember thinking, What would be the easiest way to just drift away?

So – purely out of grim curiosity – I removed my belt, tightened it around my neck, then slowly began to apply pressure. I knew for a fact as I was doing this that I wasn’t serious about it, and that it was probably just an act of pitiful self-loathing that I needed to exorcise in the moment. Still, I was genuinely interested to know if this was a viable way to do the deed. If I applied enough pressure, would I slowly just pass out, then fade away for good? Would I start gagging or choking first?

Moments later, I began to feel that restriction of blood to my face, as my lips, tongue, and cheeks began to tingle and go numb. And then there was a high-pitched tone inside my head… gradually increasing in volume… like a burglar alarm going off in the distance. Suddenly, I realized the absurdity of what I was doing and quickly loosened up on the belt, then forced myself out of the room and outside the building for some fresh air. It was ‪4:00 AM.

The first thing I saw was three or four of my feral cats gathered around something in the middle of the parking lot. I walked over to find them surrounding an injured possum, who they were no doubt conspiring to help into the hereafter. But I shooed them away to take a closer look, and found that this little guy needed immediate medical attention, as he appeared to have fallen out of a tree.  The wildlife rescue nearby wouldn’t be open for a few hours, so I didn’t know what to do with him in the interim.

Enter, my BFF: an expert in all things animal rescue-related. I called her at home and woke her up, then explained the situation. She told me to put the possum in a box and drive him over to her place immediately. We would have to place him in a cat carrier with a heating pad and keep him comfortable in a dark, quiet room until the wildlife center opened. So I found a box, scooped up our boy, then headed out. It seemed that the Universe had provided me with a necessary distraction at a moment I really needed it.

But on the 22-minute drive to her house, I could not get the images of what I had just gone through in the practice room out of my head. Could I have been serious? Would I be more serious next time? Do I really have it in me, but just never thought I did? I was extremely disturbed and distressed over the whole thing.

I pulled up to her house, left the little guy in the car for a minute, and went to her door and rang the bell to wake her. When she opened the door and I stepped in, I saw Barry immediately to my left, sitting on the arm of the couch. I swear he was waiting for me. So I reached down, picked him up, and gave him a big squeeze… then promptly started sobbing like a little schoolboy.

My BFF, taken aback, asked me what was wrong. I told her what had just happened in the practice room an hour earlier. And then, in that very moment, something clicked in my head as I was holding Barry. It was as if he was reminding me of the preciousness, beauty, and joy of life, and the privilege it is for each of us to be here right now, at this time. Barry was usually quick to get fidgety if you tried to hold him for longer than ten or fifteen seconds. But on this night, he was willing to tolerate a much longer embrace. I think he knew I was experiencing, quite literally, a healing moment. And sure enough, I would never, ever go that dark again.

This was how deep the bond was between Barry and I, and this is why it’s so strange for those of us closest to him to hear him regarded as simply a “pet.” He is Barry, a being of extraordinary light. He is family. He is our one-and-only.

meandbarry2

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Transitions

On July 14, 2016 – the day after my birthday – they found a tumor in Barry’s belly during a routine check-up. We all came unglued. It turned out to be a very aggressive form of cancer that was uncommon in cats: usually only dogs got this kind. (Again, Barry can never do anything normal.) They were initially concerned that this tumor could have been attached to some major organs, and that would’ve been immediately disastrous. But as it turned out, they were able to do a pretty clean removal… except for the varying amounts that had already metastasized.

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Barry, held in the highest regard,
as he sports his post-surgery cone

Obviously, no expense was spared along the way to implement the best possible forms of treatment for Barry, pre and post-surgery. The top specialists in Los Angeles were consulted, and multiple vet visits – which, true to his social nature, he actually seemed to very much enjoy – became part of Barry’s new lifestyle, as documented with humor and wit on his fan page.

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Making friends wherever he goes

Holistically speaking, I figured a 30-day healing meditation cycle with Barry couldn’t hurt, so that’s exactly what we did together. Besides rehearsals, tour prep, and a couple local events, I would be in LA from early September to early October.  So I drove over to my BFF’s house every day for four weeks and spent 30 minutes each visit meditating with Barry. I will never forget those times with him.

And what an accomplished little meditator Barry was! Initially, I had no idea how this was going to work. I figured, at worst, I could meditate in the room with Barry and he could meander about, drink from his fountain, nap, be annoyed that the door was closed, and meow at me incessantly until I was done. But that was not at all how it played out.

From our first session together, once the Tibetan bell music kicked in on my portable speaker and I assumed a cross-legged position, it was like he “remembered” what meditation was all about. He usually sat in front of me, with his eyes closed and ears sharply attentive. His face was intense but relaxed, and whatever Siamese blood he had in him seemed to rush to his head and outline those subtle Asian feline features around his cheeks and eyes. I swear he would transform into monk mode; he actually looked a little different.


Going deep with Barry…

For the first couple weeks, he would typically maintain his initial position for roughly the first 15 minutes, then ease into a variation for the second 15. But then, he started staying put in his opening position for the entire 30 minutes. It was impressive. And at least once for most of our sessions, I would have to break concentration for a moment and snap a pic or record a short vid of him “riding the infinite wave.” It was something really special to share this time with Barry.

On days when he was extra tired from the chemo, he had no problem just laying down before me and taking a nap. Nor did I have a problem with it. I would continue on anyway.  But this only happened a handful of times in what wound up being about 45 total sessions together, once you factor in our more sporadic meditation schedule in November and December. This was a special little soul.


Just prior to one of our medi sessions, Barry appears to say
“Love you” to me in English! Check it out…

In my experience, the idea of healing meditation is not so much about “forcing” a result through sheer intention. It’s more about cultivating an optimal healing environment through such an intention, so that a recovery of health can more easily and harmoniously manifest. However, the focus should always remain on the practice, and never the outcome.

With Barry, I must admit that I was a bit preoccupied with the desired outcome right out of the gate.  I wanted those “pirate cells” to heal and the cancer out of his body.  That was my intention. So I would talk quietly to Barry, intermittently throughout the session, and describe how we – or at least I – was “directing” this healing white-light energy into him, often with my open hands hovering over his back, belly, or head. I would also describe what I visualized going down on a cellular level throughout his torso. I could generally feel a warm, vibrational life-force flow surging softly between my hands and his body, and he would remain continuously engaged with that beautiful, gravelly purr of his.

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Sacred times with Barry

Strangely, though, I wasn’t getting this corroborating energy back from Barry. Instead, his energy would remain stoically neutral throughout the session. He was just present, in the moment, seemingly unattached to any potential outcome… just as any master Buddhist would be. So it was me – the human – who had to adjust the game plan after our first few sessions. Yes, I would still “till the soil” so that a healing could most easily happen. But I would also intend both joy and comfort for Barry: two tenets that I knew he would find useful, no matter the outcome.

As it played out, I guess two out of three is what was meant to be. Barry remained comfortable until his last 72 hours with us, and exhibited few symptoms in the months that followed diagnosis, with the exception of some lethargy here and there. (This alone belied doctor’s expectations, given the aggressiveness of Barry’s cancer.) And he continued to partake in all of the joyous “Barry” stuff he always loved—and then some. Believe me, his human mom and dad made damn sure that whatever Barry desired, Barry received… times ten.  As it should’ve been.

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For as much as Barry was a blessing to all of us,
his human mom was quite a blessing to him… 
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…as was his human dad!

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Into the Light

It all went down so quickly, so unexpectedly. About a week or so out, Barry began to show less interest in food. Five days out, he began skipping meals. Three days out, there was a notable change in demeanor and Barry was taken back to the vet as a precautionary measure. We were all starting to worry. Meanwhile, I was on the road doing a few shows, keeping up with things via texts and phone calls with the BFF.  It was a stunningly rapid decline.

When my BFF first told me that she felt like Barry could go “at any time,” I thought she was overreacting to what was surely a temporary set-back. But she had a few of Barry’s close LA peeps stop by to say goodbye, and I even did a quick FaceTime meditation session with Barry from a hotel room in Kentucky, on what turned out to be the day before he passed. He seemed really out of it and appeared to have trouble getting comfortable.

I had always envisioned that, when he was ready to make his transition, I would be there with him. So as things started winding down so quickly, I began making some radical alterations in my holiday travel plans and booked a flight back home to LA. I had a show the night of the 17th, but could be back to Barry as early as late ‪morning on the 18th. And that was after moving heaven and earth.

Accordingly, my BFF booked an at-home euthanasia appointment for Barry ‪at 1:00 PM: plenty of time for me to be there. She also warned me repeatedly that he could very well go before I got there. But surely Barry would wait for me, wouldn’t he?

Uhhh… no. (Perhaps he felt like it would be too hard on me to be there when he died.) Nor would he wait for the vet to come by the house with her needle. At 4:41 AM, December 18, as I was sitting on a tarmac in Charlotte about to head home, I received the following text: “He’s gone.” Barry had passed in his sleep with his human mom lying on the floor right next to him.

Barry’s gonna do, what Barry’s gonna do, the way Barry’s gonna do it.

And the 350 minutes I had to endure on that long flight home would be among the most agonizing I can recall.

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Once I hit LA, I Ubered over to my BFF and Jackson’s house, knowing that Barry’s body would still be around. I started to lose my composure as soon as we turned down their street.

As I was wheeling my big red suitcase up the driveway toward the front door, a flood of memories came over me involving the hundreds of times in the past that I approached this house, always looking forward to seeing Barry. I began to unravel a bit.

My BFF opened the door, then stepped forward to the front of the porch to greet me with a hug. I could not hold back the rush of tears.

We managed to drag my suitcase through the doorway, and there I saw Jackson and my BFF’s blood sister – my soul sister – Mitra, both visibly upset. I gave them each a hug, then turned to my left to see Barry’s body on the loveseat, mostly covered by a pillowcase, with flower petals and a few photos around him. I walked over, crouched down, then absolutely fell apart.

The harder you love, the harder you hurt.

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Somewhere in the midst of the haze shortly after I got there, reality set in and logistics had to be dealt with. Before any of the standard options were considered, though, an idea hit my BFF in an inspired moment: Barry will have a traditional burial in a “pet” cemetery. Yes! It would be somewhere we eternally-grieving humans could engage the timeless ritual of going to a beautiful place, with trees, grass, and sunshine, and stand before a plot of California earth. And there, our beloved’s remains would be forever contained… even as his spirit could not be. It was decided in a moment, then we spent the remainder of the week finalizing all the particulars.

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Epilogue

barrysite

We buried one of my best buds today.

We all met at the pet cemetery on a sunny and cool So Cal day, and convened in and around a “viewing” room before the service: a room that a few of us had completely redecorated to better reflect the spirit and essence of Barry. There, for the final time, I glimpsed my friend’s little body in his pinewood casket, as candles burned all around us and the Tibetan bell music we meditated to played softly in the background. He was covered with flower petals and a small, fluffy white blanket, with just his feet and his face exposed. It looked like he was sleeping peacefully. I had no chance of containing myself and cried openly for my friend.


The “viewing room,”
at once peaceful and painful

And then me and Barry’s human dad, Jackson – my “bro-in-law” – carried the casket out to the gravesite, as Barry’s human mom, my BFF, walked with us. There was a small gathering of close friends and family awaiting us there. Mitra led us through a moving service, which turned out to be much more uplifting than sad.

Afterward, we watched that little wooden casket be lowered into the ground, then we each walked over, one by one, to toss orange and yellow rose petals – along with Barry’s favorite fruit – on top of it. And then three guys with shovels stepped forward and began filling up the grave with muddy dirt, as it had rained pretty hard the day before. That part, necessary as it may have been, was especially brutal to witness. But I’m sure Barry understood.

Here’s a slide-show video comprised of images from the service.
I wanted to share it here but, personally, I still find it difficult to watch
(Pics and slide-show by Lori Fusaro)

There have been a lot of tears this week, and no doubt many more to come. This is what the deepest grief looks like; this is how we humans do trauma, process sorrow. This is the price one pays for loving so recklessly. It’s just how things work around here, if you happen to outlive that which you loved so hard.

Most comforting for me, though, is the fact that I believe this is all in alignment with what Barry wanted. He is his own being, and for reasons we are not currently privy to, he was ready to bail from this realm. And for as much as he might have prolonged his transition for the benefit of us sure-to-be-heartbroken humans, once again, the fact remains: Barry’s gonna do, what Barry’s gonna do, the way Barry’s gonna do it. And now, as sure as I am about his spirit living on, I’m sure he will be occupying himself with other matters of concern to him… which, I’m pretty sure, will include keeping an eye on us heartbroken humans.

Infinite love, Barry.  See you on the other side…

Barry Buddha Rahbar-Galaxy
May 10, 2006 – December 18, 2016

barrytree

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Barry’s human parents, Minoo and Jackson, have started a fund in Barry’s honor to help folks who can’t afford life-saving veterinary treatment for their beloved companion animals. It’s called the Barry Fund (what else?), and if you’re able, a donation in any amount would be greatly appreciated:

http://jacksongalaxyfoundation.org/Get-Involved/The-Barry-Fund

Barry thanks you in advance…

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About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of seven books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. (He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford.) Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
This entry was posted in Mind/Body, Uncategorized, Veganism/Animal Issues and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Barry Buddha, Bigger Than Life

  1. Lyle Hartka says:

    Amazing post about your incredible cat! 🙂

  2. Melissa Hall says:

    I’m at a loss for words, Bobby….my heart is heavy reading your wonderful tribute to your friend…. I lost my mom in 2015 and her dog, that I cared for, passed in 2016….and the grief is overwhelming… You want so much for just ONE MORE DAY. My cat is now 16 years old and although me and my husband enjoy every day with him, we know that our grief will some day be the price we will pay for loving him so profoundly. You’re definitely in my thoughts.

  3. Fran Lindblom says:

    A beautiful tribute to a very special, very loved, cat.

  4. Lisamarie says:

    Lovely, enlightening, but sad story. Thank you for sharing.
    I will have to find out how the Barry Find works should, Heaven forbid, my car Sylvester ever gets sick and needs medical care. That is my one fear, because if he does I am afraid that I won’t be able to afford the vet and will not know what to do!
    Thank you, Barry (And Bobby) for this. ♡

  5. thehouseai says:

    I fell in love with Barry, in what seems like years ago. With his unique voice, I felt he was talking directly to Willow and I. Reading your account of Barry, I find myself jealous, that you really knew him, loved him, and he loved you back. I haven’t watched all the videos, as it’s just before bedtime, and I would be bawling all over the place. I don’t normally go all out over celebrities, but Barry is one in a million, and I am glad that his FB page is still around to visit, as will this blog entry. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  6. Cherrie Kerwell says:

    Beautiful life, beautiful love, beautiful Barry. ❤

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve loved Barry on FB for several years, and loved seeing his special soul. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I send you and all of Barry’s family a lot of love.

  8. Christina T. says:

    Thank you for sharing Barry’s story with us. Now i truly have an understanding of just how remarkable he was. I’m an animal lover but cats have always been right at the very top. Every since i can remember, my love of felines has been strong. Hearing about Barry really touched my heart and yes, i did shed quite a few tears while reading, especially there towards the end. I have had my own fair share of losses over the years. Most recently, one of my oldest cats passed away from kidney failure. So the tears this morning, as i read about your memories of your beloved friend, felt almost therapeutic in a way. Bless you and Barry’s human family, i hope time will lighten your grief along with the knowledge that he is up in Heaven watching over you in his own special way and one day, you will all be reunited once again.

  9. mary smith says:

    Heartbreakingly beautiful. Lost my furry soulmate November 2012. Miss her every moment of every day. Thank you for sharing Barry’s story with us.

  10. miems lombard says:

    I followed Barry on Facebook and fell in love with him instantly. I feel your pain. Thank you for this lovely tribute.

  11. Lois says:

    What a beautiful trubute to Barry!

  12. Susan says:

    Thank you! You’re beautiful tribute to your beloved Barry touched me deeply as I too recently suffered a tremendous loss. I found your words so very comforting, and after 2 months of suffering with this gaping hole in my heart I believe I can commence the process of healing. Thanks again for articulating what so few can.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful blog and thanks for Barry’s human mom and dad for sharing his beautiful life. I’ve cried so much over reading and watching the dedication posts and videos. I too wish I could have known Barry more than just a FB page with the wonderful stories of his life. Last year I lost my “Barry.” His name was Mr. Butters, and he was an angel sent to me from above. I know I’ll always have and adopt many more fur babies, but he was and always will be my special boy. How I wish every day I could share just a few minutes with him on my lap again, petting, kissing and loving him. Bless you all for all you do. Thank you all again for sharing such a special angel with all of us.

  14. Karen Lynn says:

    What a wonderful tribute that helps explain how Barry was able to touch so many lives, including those who knew him only through Facebook. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those of you who shared so much more of him. It is very true that sometimes the price you have to pay for loving so deeply is to mourn just as deeply.

  15. Jackie says:

    Thank you for your words Bobby, Barry was truly a special cat. He pulled me in the moment I saw his page on Facebook. Mainly it was his eyes and sweet face. Then I heard his lovely voice and had to keep up with him and his adventures. I love how you loved each other and it’s so wonderful to have had a true empath in your life. I miss checking in on what he is up to, I can only imagine the void his loss has made at his home. I think of Minoo and Jackson all the time. I know how much I missed my zen cat after he died. I never really got over losing him. He was special, like Barry. I always tell myself I was so lucky to have known such a special feline. You were so lucky to know Barry from his beginning and you have a very special heart to have been there for him all his years. Hugs to you Bobby. I’m so sorry for your loss, he was a wonderful cat.

  16. Madison Moreno says:

    Beautifully written. I never met Barry, but my heart aches and I think of him daily. I heard his meow, as well as my husband did, in the first video and immediately the tears began. Oh how I’ll miss that meow.

    My husband anD I have 9 rescues, foster occasionally, and care for 30 ferals. Yrs we TNR. We will continue to care for kitties stray, feral or domestic as I know Barry would want us to. We will do all that we can in Barry’s memory.

    Our hearts go out to all of you and we are praying for you. The pain will never end, but I hope it becomes a little easier as each day passes.

    God bless you all for what you do for animals. We will continue the same job with as much love here in Florida.

    God bless.

    Namaste

  17. Dee says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to Barry as I read this through my tears. I can’t even imagine your heartache as I have been so sad losing Barry and I have only known him through his FB posts. Such a great spirit he was. I loved reading his posts and eagerly awaited new ones! So sorry for you and the Galaxy family’s loss. Prayers for you all.

  18. Madison Moren says:

    Beautifully written. I never met Barry, but my heart aches and I think of him daily. I heard his meow, as well as my husband did, in the first video and immediately the tears began. Oh how I’ll miss that meow.

    My husband anD I have 9 rescues, foster occasionally, and care for 30 ferals. Yrs we TNR. We will continue to care for kitties stray, feral or domestic as I know Barry would want us to. We will do all that we can in Barry’s memory.

    Our hearts go out to all of you and we are praying for you. The pain will never end, but I hope it becomes a little easier as each day passes.

    God bless you all for what you do for animals. We will continue the same job with as much love here in Florida.

    God bless.

    Namaste

  19. May Diaz says:

    Words can not come to compare to how this post has moved me. I’d started to follow Barry not too long ago, maybe a year or so and my heart aches and cries with all of you as it celebrates having had the opportunity to have found him on my Facebook. I got to witness a wondrous, wonderful and funny boy. My heart cried, ached and prayed for Barry when he got sick and I hugged my own furry babies tighter as I told him about the wonderful Barry. Your post has helped me find a way to join in the celebration of such a wonderful life, soul and spirit. I know I will be hugging my babies closer tonight as I smile, cry and rejoice in having had the honor of knowing Barry a little bit more today than I did yesterday; thanks to this post. I will hope and pray for blessings for all of you, his human and furry family. I will continue to hope and pray for the joy of Barry to always accompany you all when the moments become too much. What a testimony to witness as so many come together in love and compassion for a spirit that did his best to build the ties around them in love. May those ties always continue, May the love of Barry always keep you comforted and May Barry’s spirit fly free to touch others with the same sympathy, compassion and love with which he lived… cause “Barry’s gonna do, what Barry’s gonna do, the way Barry’s gonna do it.”

  20. Jacque says:

    You had such a special connection to an amazing creature. We are blessed to have these furry loves in our lives

  21. Leighland Borg says:

    Even if I never met Barry, I can honestly say that I love that cat. Thank you for sharing his and your story. He was certainly an exceptional cat. And yes, I believe too that he had the soul of an enlightened being. I am so glad I got to read about him. I lost my brother in November of 2015. Even though it was from natural causes, it was sudden and unexpected. He loved animals and believed we should do everything we can to rescue as many as we can. He once saved a pigeon from the middle of a busy intersection. He took it to a wildlife rehab center for care. I think Barry would have approved. I know my brother is there keeping Barry company. My deepest condolences for your loss. ☝❤💜💝💖💙💚❤ Barry is missed by all of us here too.God Bless.

  22. Joanne Baylis says:

    What a wonderful piece. Made me laugh & cry. Greatest respect for you Bobby writing this & sharing it with us all. Light love & peace. Xx

  23. amoyer2013 says:

    This whole excerpt was written for Barry a true inspiration for you, but for me the stand out moment in this saga was your practice room. I have to tell you that you have been an inspiration for many just as Barry has been for you. Many people play the drums and push them farther because of your teachings. Many people are alive because of your clean lifestyle. There is never a win in taking ones life. It is the ultimate evil. It is the dark one who commands these souls and not one ounce of light shines out of it. Barry’s heart would have broke and so would many others I am sure. Until you check out of this world naturally, many animals and people will love the good you do. And I hope you always find inspiration in that. I hope it kills the darkest depression. For me, Christ does that, but we all have our own ways of dealing with dark moments. Keep shining! Big “A”

  24. Joanne Baylis says:

    Wonderful piece Bobby. Made me laugh & cry. Thank you for sharing this. Some lively pictures too. Had been following Barry for some time & feel privileged to have shared a little bit of his life. Light love & peace. Xx

  25. Linda shapiro says:

    I love this tribute to Barry. I had to read it in pieces. It made me laugh and cry and touched me deeply in so many ways. I didn’t know Barry in person but like so many others fell in love with him via Facebook. Thank you for sharing your experiences and life with Barry with us. My deepest condolences on your loss

  26. Julie Robinson says:

    What a beautiful tribute Bobby, thank you for sharing your special times with Barry, Barry is one in a million, and will always be remembered, so sorry for loss of your special friend

  27. Barry es un gran maestro, les dejo a ustedes como familia una gran enseñanza, y a todos nosotros nos dejó un gran amor y un gran trabajo para ayudar a sus hermanos gatos, así como el lo quiere.Desde la ciudad de México reciban un gran abrazo y bendiciones a cada uno de ustedes.

  28. Terry Lack says:

    I’ve known for a long time Bobby is one the great drummers, but I didn’t know he was one of the great cats too. Barry had a great life, no cat could ask for more. Bobby’s ranking as a drummer and humanitarian just went up a notch with me.

  29. Marti Widner says:

    They leave forever footprints on our hearts. Couldn’t hold back the tears and the memories of my special kitty loves

  30. Candy Murray says:

    Bobby, Your heart touching story left me with tears. Two years ago we lost our Maine Coon Bullet due to cancer. By time it was discovered it was too late to save him. We did everything to help him that we could. But he got weaker and weaker. The day that he died our 3 other cats just laid around him bathing and comforting him. All the family was around him but my oldest son (Bullet owned him) He was on the road as a trucker and was coming in that night. He came in and we made the decision to free Bullet of his suffering. We drove to the veterinarians office and as we pulled into the parking lot, he died in my husbands arms. He went on his own terms just like Barry did. Many cats and dogs have come through my life, but there is always that one that stay’s in your heart forever.

  31. Beth Smith says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing yourself and Barry with us.
    This is so moving and emotional.

    I also enjoyed the last song. Is that yours and where can I find it.

    You’ve written this because you loved completely. It’s beautiful

    I lost my brother 2 1/2 years ago
    I’m glad you found Barry in your time of depression.

  32. Helene Goretsky says:

    I lost my cat son Hank on November 3, 2016. I had him 14 years and he looked alot like Barry – he too was an orange tabby. I miss him every day and the tears are still in my eyes many times each day. I hope Hank meets and plays with Barry on the other side.

  33. Peg Labrecque says:

    Thank you.that was beautiful.i am crying.blessings to you and your family-humans and pets.

  34. Julie Pielaay2 says:

    For those of of us fortunate enough to have the depth and capacity to love without reservation, we celebrate Barry’s remarkable life, and mourn Barry’s departure from those who adored him. God blessed Barry with humans who connected with him, and God has a special place in heaven for him. Thank you, God, for your Creation, and allowing us to dwell with, and care for, and deeply love the animals You created for our pleasure. Thank you for trusting us to return to them the love that you intended. Barry was blessed.

  35. Rachel says:

    My heart breaks with yours. What a beautiful soul. I can’t stop crying. ❤

  36. Carmen says:

    This was a beautiful tribute. As I sat here reading this, my baby, Gracie came to comfort me on my lap. Thank you for sharing his story. I think everything all of you do is honorable.
    2 years ago, I had found a bump right where her brow whiskers reside. Hair would fall out as I would massage it. After a month I decided it was time for a check up. Hoping it was just a pimple I knew I couldn’t take any chances, so I begged my mom to come with me. After a long agonizing wait for the Doc. to return, I decided to go pay for the bill in advance (after all, I had to get to work pretty darn soon). When the Dr. came back, somewhat I can’t even explain it. It was like waiting for molasses to fall and a train wreck at the same time. She came back with “it’s cancerous” and gave me all of the necessary options. I couldn’t breath. This was my best friend she was talking about. Of course I was going to do the right thing, we were doing surgery. Thank God he came through for us. I don’t know what I’d do if I was too late to help my baby.
    With that being said, my heart and Gracie’s purrs go out to all of you!!!! Keep up the hard work you are doing and may God and the love of the animals help you through this tragic time.

  37. Paula says:

    What a beautiful and touching story and what a wonderful tribute to your friend / family. I too lost a precious member of my family 4 1/2 months ago: Caesar my fur baby passed as a result of cancer at 7 years old. I miss my precious boy as does his sister Chloe.

  38. Paula McFafden says:

    I am in tears, hysterically crying. I had 6 fur babies, 2 crossed over the rainbow bridge, It was so devastating to me, that both times I lost day’s from work. It is just me and my babies, Precious, Baby love, Baby Jade, and ItyBity. I do for them before I do for myself. They are my family. What a beautiful, fitting tribute to Barry. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  39. Diane Vandenhaak says:

    They are incredible, beautiful beings. Like angels sent from heaven. I too ache every day for the recent loss of my sweet Pepper. The house is so empty. My arms are so empty. My chest is so empty. It is very gratifying to read your piece. We could write volumes, couldn’t we?

  40. Angie Torres says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I had a fur baby named Dylan from 90210 that we had for 19 1/2 years. oh how we loved him. After reading your story it brought back so many memories. Barry seemed like an amazing fur baby. May he SIP with all the fur babies. I am truly sorry about your lost from the bottom of my heart. God bless you for all you have done and will continue to do in the future. Thank you again for sharing such a touchy story.

  41. Carole Young says:

    WONDERFUL story SPECIAL kitty ..thanks for sharing about Barry💝💝🐯 it’s never enough time

  42. Patricia Heath says:

    Bobby Rock I am very sorry for you loss. I had to put my service dog Amber Rose to sleep a year ago and I still miss her. It’s hard when they have touched your life so deeply and made a difference in it and more. So my heart goes out to you and Micah and Izzy my babies send you some licks on the face letting you know they care as well.

  43. Vannessa ward says:

    Thinking of you at this sad time. My beautiful cat George also has cancer 😢. He is the love of my life and I’m so sad.

  44. Amy says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss… I understand so well the grief of losing your loved one… I too lost an amazing little cat in December 2016 and she was only 9, the best 9 years having her in my life was a gift from God … she was an answered prayer on the day of my mothers funeral in 2007… she brought joy and happiness and lots of laughter in our home.. she got real sick and was suffering … I still cry I miss her so much … these little beings are not just pets , they are family ❤and the love is true and deep for them ….. just wanted to share with you… I am truly sorry for your loss

  45. Helmut says:

    No loss no gain, time well spent. Many lives altered here, many lives affected downstream. Nice.

  46. Cathy says:

    Omg I just read your whole story and watched every video. I’m typing this through tears as this is one of the most moving cat story’s I have ever had the privilege to witness and experience. I am a true cat person, always have been. I foster rescued kittens and get them to the stage where they can go to forever homes. I love each and every one of them and am known to cry when they go. The tears are happy tears as well though. I know only too well of the loss and grief when one of your own fur babies are taken from you. It is the saddest deepest pain ever especially for a cat like Barry was. What a blessing that he crossed your paths. Bloody awesome in fact! Be thankful, be grateful and remember it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. To love something is to take a risk but not to love is taking the biggest risk of all. Thank you so much for sharing Barry’s story, I love you all. CAThy X

  47. Cindy says:

    What a beautiful tribute. I’m sitting here crying and am hugging my kitties a little longer. He sounded like a wonderful cat. Sorry for your loss.

  48. Wilma says:

    I still go to see Barry’s fb page to see if I wasn’t dreaming and boy Barry mr. B is still there. This tribute is truly amazing and make me smile and breaks my heart same time. Mr. B was a extraordinary little dude and he is missed so much. Though I believe he wisphers in mooska’s ear to take over his duties. Minoo and Jackson and all his family. Barry is loved and will be for ever

  49. Gail says:

    Rest in peace sweet Barry for you made each life you touched that much sweeter!

  50. Lori says:

    Crying over here. Beautifully said. Deep condolences from Ontario Canada. XO

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