March 13, 2013

At Home With Bailey: It's Been A Year Already



On March 6, 2012, Bailey became part of our life. After a three month search in Phoenix, and eventually on-line, we found her in Missouri. The money was paid, shipping arrangements set up, and an 8 week old Cocker-King Charles mix was on her way.

We had several dogs before Bailey but our home had been petless for several years. Retirement and the freedom to come and go with few responsibilities lead us to decide against adding a puppy. Then, for some reason in late 2011 the idea of a dog struck both Betty and me as a great idea.

Yes, we'd lose some of the ability to just pick up and go. Our home would go from being baby-proofed for the grandkids to being doggie-proofed for Bailey. The long-sealed off doggie door in the laundry room would have to be pried back open. Cleaning stains on the carpet and poop pickups in the backyard would go back on our to-do list. Training classes would be needed.

Our life hasn't been the same since. Bailey has added a missing ingredient back into our home - a rambunctious, fun-loving, cuddle-crazy pet. True, she hasn't been cheap. Between the purchase price, the vet bills, food, supplies, toys, and shots she added over $1,600 to our expenses in the first 9 months. But, not for one second have we regretted the cost.

She continues to bark at sounds only she can hear. Even if one of us is gone for only 30 minutes upon our return she still gets so excited she leaps all over the furniture, yelps in joy, and then has a little nervous piddle. I don't think she will go outside to do her business when we are gone for fear of missing our return. But, she doesn't have accidents anymore so she must have a strong bladder!

She tries to catch birds in the backyard and fails every time - but keeps trying. Other dogs make her nervous enough she still barks and tries to hide behind us. If one of us walks to the side yard where the RV is parked she makes a beeline for the motor home's door to make sure we don't leave on a trip without her.

At night she jumps up into bed and positions herself so her legs touch one of us and her head the other. After we wake up, go downstairs and take her to the doggie door so she can do her business, she curls up on the couch and slowly, very slowly, wakes up to begin her day.

Throwing the same toy 30 times across the room doesn't bore her, it thrills her. If one of us mentions her name her ears perk up and she gives us that doggie stare that asks if something exciting is about to happen.

Bailey has done well on the three short RV trips we have taken so far. The big test comes in April when we leave town for over 3 weeks. How will she fare? How will we do? That is for another post.

There have been some struggles. I think being shipped to Phoenix on a plane at 8 weeks stressed her rather severely. To this day she remains nervous. In fact, we have her on special calming pills for dogs to help her be less fearful. But, even a slamming cabinet door will give her the shakes.

She is the pickiest eater, ever. We went to the vet just last week to get some guidance. Dog food, whether dry or wet, doesn't interest her much. At the moment she eats lots of boiled chicken. Sliced cheese remains our go-to food to wrap up vitamins so she gets the proper nutrients.

She seems to produce too much stomach acid overnight which causes her to throw up some bile once a week or so. The vet wants us to give her Pepcid AC to see if that helps her acidic stomach.

But, even with those problems Bailey has enriched our life, re-taught us patience, and blessed us with the type of adoration and unconditional love only a dog can offer. Our satisfying retirement is better for it.

One year together and here's hoping for many more. Happy anniversary, Bailey.















20 comments:

  1. What a sweet post. She is a cutie and certainly found a good home!

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    1. She is a cutie, and knows it. She has us wrapped around her paws.

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  2. From our "old girl" schnauzer to Bailey....DOGS RULE!!! Remember to watch out for those coyotes. As the weather warms they become more active and jump over even 6 foot walls.

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    1. I was reading last night about the huge increase in coyotes in cities across America. They have become a major problem.

      Actually, they have already hit very close to home. Three years ago a neighbor just a few doors away from us had their small dog killed by a coyote who did just that: jumped a 6 foot block wall to get into the backyard.

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    2. We were house-shopping in an area and freaked out when we heard about the aggressive coyotes. We also realized that "Coyote Loop" and "Coyote Acres" means something more than just a pretty name for a housing development!

      The desire for some acreage went away pretty fast after we heard that. Besides, the beagles just want to hang out on the couch with us.

      Bob, I have enjoyed reading about your RV travels with the new rig and the new puppy. We have 3 dogs of our own, including one who joined our life back in Janauary 2012. Oddly enough, the name she came with was Bayley, but we changed her name to Annabel.

      Yes, they can be expensive and require a lot from us, but I keep thinking we get much more than we give.

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    3. Luckily Bailey likes to be inside with us unless she is doing her business or playing with in the backyard with us. There are occasional coyotes in our neighborhood.

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  3. Our Cocker Spaniel Jules loves the RV. But she's only been on weekend trips. I'm curious how Bailey will do on your 3 week trip.

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    1. The most she has handled so far is several 2 night-three day trips. The only real hassle for us and her is the lack of a doggie door and enclosed place to do her business. We have talked about a portable enclosure but I doubt that will work since she normally likes to piddle well away from the door.

      April will be a nice test. Another will be when we drive our car to Portland and back during our August escape from the heat. We have rented a condo so the RV will stay at home. She has never spent the night in a motel so that will be a test, too.

      By the time we get to our 2-3 week RV trip to California in October she should be an old hand at it all.

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  4. I'm looking forward to dog-sitting my favorite black Lab in a couple weeks. That ought to give me a good doggy fix for now. But I'm seriously starting to hear the call for my own. We'll see. I love that part about Bailey's sleeping arrangement. I miss that . . .

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    1. Maybe she read this post ahead of time, but last night Bailey decided on a different sleeping arrangement. She spent the night stretched out on the sofa in the family room. That meant Betty and I could stretch out, too. It was a nice change to have plenty of room for my legs.

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  5. She is a doll! I know you've had growing pains, but it's all worth it!

    We have 2 Cockapoo's and can't imagine life without them. Yes, it's an expense...yes, we need sitter's to travel, but life would feel so empty without them. There's nothing like the unconditional love of a pet.

    We have a neurotic one, too. Buddy was a puppy mill rescue and he's skittish, but he's very smart and so much fun! Sydney, aka Princess Pissypants, rules the roost. We've had 2 dogs, (in varying combos), for years. But Sydney's the first girl in the mix. I've never seen such a little love story like we have with these 2. He licks her face, they sleep snuggled together, it's really sweet!

    Nothing beats a pet or 2!
    b

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    1. Until Bailey, we generally had two dogs at a time, the main dog and the "emergency backup dog." The older dog taught the younger one the household rules..it worked well.

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    2. The first time we got a '2nd dog' was happenstance. The 2nd time it was because our older dog was having a break down after a move and the Vet, the Dog Sitter, everyone kept telling us to get him a buddy. They said, 'People tend to get cats in pairs and they couldn't care less, but dogs are social and love having a buddy.' It's held true! It was kind of the basis of The Duffy Chronicles!
      b

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    3. I believe that dogs do much better in pairs. We'd consider that but one dog in a 30 foot RV is enough.

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  6. Beautiful dog, Bob. There is something about a sleeping dog that always tugs at the heartstrings. Deb has been pushing for a dog but I have tended her off; not sure how much longer I'll hold out. Besides, it will probably become more my dog anyhow; for some reason they always take to me. Glad you and Betty are enjoying this time.

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    1. Bailey has been a joy but also teaches us some patience with her eating habits and barking. While sleeping she is adorable (and quiet!)

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  7. Gosh, has it been a year already? I remember when you first got Bailey and how you were worried about the three of you getting along in your retired lifestyle. I'm glad to hear things are working out! She is such a cutie, and I loved the story about the sleeping arrangements! I'll be interested to read about her reaction to the longer RV trip, because Oliver and I will be doing our first weeklong RV adventure sometime in April.

    I can definitely relate to the past affecting the dog's present. My Oliver was in kennels and shelters the first 3 years of his life, and he's been with me for 4 years now. He still barks like crazy if anyone comes to the door, and I have to keep him on a leash when someone comes in or he'll try and nip at them. My trainer said he isn't aggressive but that he's very protective of his mama, based on his early years.

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    1. I think her barking is the same thing. When we take her for a walk around the neighborhood or to the local park she doesn't bark nearly as much as when inside the home. She doesn't nip at anyone but is protective. Interestingly, once someone is in the house, she is pretty quick to accept them.

      Your first RV trip? Great! Let us know how you and Oliver do.

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  8. Well, she has cornered the market on cuteness, that's for sure. I am always interested in your Bailey posts because I continue to be on the fence about another dog in my life. I'll wait until I'm sure. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy fur love vicariously.

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    1. You'll have the chance to meet her in August when we come up for our heat escape. Once she gets to know you may not be able to leave her!

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