In loving memory of “Bailey” Bailey: June 2003 – December 2009
“Good morning, sweet Bubby…”, her first words of the day as Megan rolls over to find his big, white, smiling face, only inches from hers, so eager to start the day. She rubs his head and tries, unsuccessfully, to snuggle back under the covers, for just five more minutes. Melanie, slightly more sleepy than Meg, braces herself for the inevitable cold, wet nose that will soon be nudging her out of her slumber as well. She echoes Megs greeting, and this 60 pound bundle of love is satisfied that he has achieved his goal. And another glorious day in Bailey’s world has begun!
Less than ten minutes later, Bailey and Mel are outside; Mel, squinting in the morning sun and shaking off the last remnants of sleep, and Bailey, wide-eyed and filled with wonder at all the magnificent scents he is catching in the soft breeze. He is quite certain that there is a soup bone buried in this very spot beneath the lawn and if Mel would just let him dig it up, he would present it to her and Meg for their breakfast! Oh how delighted and proud they’d be! But alas, Bailey has not yet mastered the art of communication, so the bone will have to stay in its subterranean hiding place for the time being. Just then, he is distracted by a scent he does not recognize… hmmm, who was here last night on MY lawn? Smells like a… Labrador Retriever! Well, I’ll take care of THAT! Satisfied that he’s reclaimed his lawn, Bailey heads back inside ready for his first meal of the day.
Back in the house, Bailey is thrilled to see that Meg is still there! He runs over to where she’s sitting and putting his paw on her lap, lets her know that he is there to protect her and Mel. After a few minutes of mutual affection, he meanders over to Mel for some more. He looks longingly at Gracie the cat, knowing that she will never allow him to be her friend.
Meg starts moving toward the kitchen and Bailey stumbles over his own feet in his haste to follow. It’s BREAKFAST time! Bailey waits (im)patiently while Megan measures out his food, and pours it into the bowl. As he waits for the magic words “go ahead!”, Meg mumbles something and goes into the bathroom. What did she say??? Bailey is not sure. Should he begin eating and risk disappointing Meg and Mel, or worse yet, being called a “bad dog”? No, he decides to wait. More than anything, he wants to please his moms.
An agonizing five long minutes tick by, and the drool dripping from Bailey’s jaw is beginning to puddle in front of his paws. Finally, Mel shuffles into the kitchen to get some OJ, and quickly recognizes Bailey’s predicament. “Go ahead” she says, with tears in her eyes, alternately feeling sorry that he had to wait so long, and pride in his obedience. Bailey, unaware of his mom’s emotion, enthusiastically consumes his meal.
Mealtime over, Bailey wanders over to his bed and begins to ‘make’ it. He moves the blanket with his left paw, and then with his right. No, no, that’s not quite right. He pushes it forward with his nose until it is all bunched up, and then circles around to the other side, to push it back in the opposite direction. He is utterly unaware of the pleasure his moms are experiencing, watching their delightful, lovable canine diligently doing his part to help with the housework.
Exhausted from several more attempts at making his bed, Bailey is confident that it’s now “just right”, he positions himself over the crumpled blanket, spins three and a half times, and plops down for a well deserved nap. And dreams…
Sparkling spheres of wet color, that pop – and disappear – when you try to smell them! Where do they go? Run, run! You may be able to catch them! But wait, there’s more! Although he can’t count, the dreaming Bailey imagines that there must be hundreds of them! He remembers that it was his pal Dexter’s Dad who introduced him to these magical, transparent floaty things. His moms called them “bubbles!”…
As Melanie and Megan relax over a leisurely breakfast, they glance over from time to time at Bailey, who seems to be running and making little barking noises in his sleep. They marvel at how this full-grown, over-protective bundle of joy has completely stolen their hearts.
Bailey begins to snore, but the moment he detects movement, he is on his feet. His moms are moving through the rooms, getting all wet in the bathroom, and then putting on different clothes. Sometimes they put a cloth around Bailey’s neck and he feels very “handsome.” He doesn’t quite know what that means, but he knows it is a good thing because his moms show their teeth when they say it to him. He has learned that unlike other dogs who show their teeth when they are angry, his moms show their teeth when they are happy! He likes it when his moms show their teeth.
He listens intently to their words, trying to pick up one of the sounds he knows. His ears perk up when he hears Megan say WALK. After a lot more words go by, he hears it again – this time from Mel. Walk. We must be going for a WALK!!! Bailey begins to tremble and he runs around a couple of times to display his pleasure, and let his moms know that he would love to take them for a WALK!
He remembers the first time he walked with them in the woods… Mel and Meg hooked a rope to his collar (they call it a leash) and off they went! It was also the first time he met Sadie and Sam. He LOVES Sadie and Sam – they are his friends!
He never had friends in the old place, when he lived with the bad people. Those people who beat him, and burned his face. They didn’t love him like his moms do. Bailey feels so lucky to live with his moms, away from the bad people. But sometimes he still thinks about them and feels very afraid. He wonders if his moms will turn into ‘bad people’ too. The bad people used to be nice when he was a puppy… this worries Bailey.
Bailey looks up in time to see Sammy dart right past him and he thinks – Look at Sammy GO! How long could Sammy’s rope be? And then he realizes that Sammy is OFF his rope! He starts to chase Sammy, anticipating the rope that will tighten on his throat and yank him backward… but it never comes! As he runs with the wind in his face, it occurs to Bailey – I’M OFF MY ROPE!!! I’M FREER THAN I’VE EVER BEEN!
And so goes a day in the life of Bailey. This beautiful soul, who never deserved to be hurt so profoundly. His first 6 years were spent with a family, with two teenage sons. When Bailey was a puppy, the boys were young and playful, and spent time with him. But as the boys entered puberty, their personalities turned dark and ugly, and it was their dog, Bailey, who suffered at their hands. They hit him and burned him with hot sticks from an open fire. For four long years, Bailey endured not just physical pain, but the emotional loss of these boys who had previously been his friends, and treated him with love and respect. He must have wondered what bad deed he had done, to make them want to punish him so often and severely. He lived most of his life in the basement, alone and unloved.
Then one day, Melanie and Megan came into his life. They talked sweet to him and their voices, to Bailey, must have been like water in the desert. He responded eagerly to their touch and tried very hard to please them and protect them. Mel and Meg took Bailey home for a “trial period”, but from day one, it was clear that Bailey had captured their hearts. Ironically, Bailey would take Melanie’s last name and become “Bailey Bailey”.
Life was good. Mel and Meg showered Bailey with love and affection, and gave him all the toys, treats, and comforts they could find. They wanted to spend the rest of Bailey’s life making up for the years that he’d lost, and were blissfully unaware of how little time they would have to do this. Sadly, circumstances arose for Bailey that would not allow him to continue living a normal life. So it was with deepest despair, and painful agony, that Bailey’s moms had to make the ultimate decision to let him go. Bailey was euthanized, while sleeping, on Thursday afternoon. We hope he was chasing bubbles in his dreams…
As Mel and Meg wept themselves to sleep that night, they each whispered softly, “Goodnight, sweet Bubby.”