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.