November 8, 2020

Goodbye, Dear Bailey

 


Have you ever had a pet that when it passed away, left you crouched on a closet floor, crying and yelling out in pain and loss?  

Have you ever made the decision to end a dog or cat's life, sure you are doing what is best for the animal but still agonizing over the decision, wondering if you could have done more?

When we bring a pet into our lives, we accept the reality that one day it will leave us, that its all too brief life will mark us for the rest of our days, with great joy and almost unbearable grief.

And, we willingly do it again and again. In our case, Bailey was our fifth dog in the 44 years of our marriage. Each time we said goodbye, our insides broke, and our home was instantly quiet, still, and empty.

Human beings have a bond with a pet that really defies reason. We know it will break our hearts, but we keep putting ourselves back on the path of certain loss. I have never had a cat, but I assume that the relationship is just as strong. 

What does a dog in your life do? It teaches responsibility, it alters your life, it makes you think of another living creature that is totally dependent on you for its survival and comfort. It demands little, just the chance to share its heart with you.

Bailey was near death in early July. She had begun bleeding internally. After thousands of dollars and what seemed like oceans of tears, we brought her home to die with family. A tumor on her liver was large and inoperable because of her spontaneous bleeding problems. While steroids and other meds kept her comfortable, she was obviously struggling.

Literally, one hour before we were to take her to the vet to be put to sleep, she suddenly started to perk up. She got up, wanted to play, and started acting like a puppy...a healthy puppy. She ran around the house, wanting to tug on her favorite toys. She begged to go outside to explore. We knew in our hearts her time was limited, but we saw it as a blessing that she could be part of the family for a while longer.

In mid-October, things started deteriorating again. She couldn't catch her breath, stopped wanting to leave the house for walks, lost most of her appetite, and was showing us it was time for us to let her go.

October 26th, we said goodbye to our darling dog. While surrounded by family, crouched on the floor of a room at the pet hospital, she slipped into a deep sleep, and within a few seconds, her chest stopped moving. The vet nodded to confirm what was obvious. 

The next day, I was a basket case, tearing up, crying, and despondent. At the exact time she had died 24 hours earlier, I lost it, worse than I remember for any of our other pets. She was Daddy's girl and never left my side. Now, that space was a painful hole.

A few days later, I had regained control of my emotions. I was able to look at pictures of her and smile. I could laugh and relive memories of the great times we had together. I still have moments when I look for her or say her name, but they are less frequent.

At some point, it is likely Betty and I will decide to ask another dog to share some of our life. We will find a rescue dog that needs a home, love, attention, and everything we can do to make its time with us special.

Why this post, now? After a political and election season that refuses to end, I wanted to focus on something that involved pure love and sharing. I needed to remember something so good and positive in my life, untouched by discord. For over eight years, something that was a daily reminder that loving and being loved is powerful and affirming.

Goodbye, Dear Bailey. Thank you for the gift of your personality, your love, and for sharing your life with us. You will never be forgotten.




37 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, tearing up for you. She was a beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Losing a beloved fur baby is one of life’s greatest tragedies. Having them for however long we are able is one of life’s greatest joys. Bailey was a sweetheart, and will always have a place in your heart. You made her life a good one, with endless adventures and love. She is now pain free, but make no mistake, she will always be with you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We are so sorry for your loss. Bailey was a beautiful girl, such warm and loving eyes! We totally understand the loss you're feeling ❤ We tell ourselves 'no more' so we never have to go through that pain again, but our willingness to open our home and hearts is because of the immeasurable joy they bring and we're lucky enough to receive. We jumped in again, 6 years after losing our last pet, and got a rescue 2 years ago. Zeke came to us by way of Missouri and Texas before his arrival in Michigan at a Zoo adoption event. Quite funny when I tell people we got our dog from the zoo. It's certain your next dog will find you and Betty if and when it's time. Enjoy your many memories of Beautiful Bailey. Teri, Rick and Zeke

    ReplyDelete
  4. you put in to words so well what we go through every time we have to say goodbye to one of our beloved pets. We have a 14 year old Wheaton that we rescued when she was 9 and we know our time with her is short. She is our 4th dog and what a character; they have all been special. So sorry for your loss and I hope you find another furry friend soon.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a moving tribute! And yes, it's the same with cats. We lost Precious almost a year and a half ago and I still occasionally write letters to her. During the first few weeks, those letters were the best therapy I could have imagined.
    Another interesting phenomenon concerns grief. Shopping normally stresses me out and puts me on edge, but the day after Precious flew off with the angels, I was in the grocery store, seemingly encased in a bubble of tranquility. None of the usual trivia could even touch me. It seems that grief pushes many other emotions aside, at least temporarily, and expands our capacity for love. Because love heals!
    Peace to you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Where has the time gone? I remember you getting Bailey. I am so sorry for your loss. What a sweet pup.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh I am so sorry. I’ve had dogs all my life and have had to put three to sleep and one died after surgery for a burst gall bladder. It surely breaks your heart. They are truly like children. And they depend on you and love you unconditionally....

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for sharing Pure Love with us when you are hurting so much inside. Very sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I’ve only had three pets in my life and it was heartbreaking when each of them died. The loss of our two cats is still fresh after over a year. Their presence brings so much joy, comfort and even entertainment. I went through everything you described and kept thinking, it’s just a cat. No, they are so much more. No other dog can take the place of Bailey but I hope you find another furry friend who needs your love. ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely tribute to a great dog Bob. We had to say goodbye to our special boy, Copper, back in January. It's never easy.

    Derek

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is so hard to lose our loving dog companions. So sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ahh, I'm tearing up reading this. We had this exact experience with our beloved dog on August 21. I can talk about it without crying now, but there are still many things that happen around the house that remind me he's gone. It's really hard. We're not sure about another right now, but I suspect eventually we'll get another rescue.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such a beautiful tribute, Bob, and we are so, so very sorry for your loss, and for Betty's.

    The love for, and of, a pet is a reminder of love in it's purest form, and when we are graced by it, it then elevates us as humans. But it also breaks our hearts open when removed from our lives for the very same reason.

    When we put down our last dog, Lady, I sobbed for days and struggled under the weight of questioning whether we had made the right decision. My pain was enormous, and still is some five years later. I don't know that I could handle having to make that decision again, and thus I have avoided getting another dog. I admire you, sincerely, for being open to going through the pain again with another pet at some point in the future. Your pets are so fortunate to have you and Betty.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's a terrible loss, but you've written a wonderful testament to her. We went through this in April 2019 and are still debating when/if we should get another dog. Somehow it almost seems disloyal. But time goes by and eventually you want that part of life back again. Btw, Bailey was one nice looking dog!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Bob, I'm so sorry to read this. I know this loss, it is so painful. All those of us who have ever loved a pet know exactly what you are going through.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry for your loss, but glad you had such a good friend.
    Our dogs have all been the best people we have known.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm sorry. My heart and hugs go out to you. We put our Bengal cat Pepe' over the rainbow bridge early in August-short of his 12th birthday. Lymphoma already advanced by the time he started showing us all was not well with him.

    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Our sweet fur babies love us unconditionally Our grief is so huge when they leave us!! Our last kitty was the hardest loss,also,for some reason.I think our emotions become even more vulnerable as we get older.Not so much defenses as we used to have. Ken broke down pretty badly.. cause Noah was “his boy..’ I loved him Too of course! But he followed Ken around like a puppy dog..they gardened together,read together, watched TV together.. I was basically a slave, lol! And his last month was rough. This past 2 years is the first time is 48 years we have had no pets.We had a lot of travel planned.Well, that’s out the window..debating about adoption.. just not sure my heart can take it.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. P.S. Bailey has the sweetest little face!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Our sweet fur babies love us unconditionally Our grief is so huge when they leave us!! Our last kitty was the hardest loss,also,for some reason.I think our emotions become even more vulnerable as we get older.Not so much defenses as we used to have. Ken broke down pretty badly.. cause Noah was “his boy..’ I loved him Too of course! But he followed Ken around like a puppy dog..they gardened together,read together, watched TV together.. I was basically a slave, lol! And his last month was rough. This past 2 years is the first time is 48 years we have had no pets.We had a lot of travel planned.Well, that’s out the window..debating about adoption.. just not sure my heart can take it.....

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bob, my heart is breaking for you. I didn't realized that you had Bailey that long. Seems like just yesterday when you got her. Prayers for comfort for you both. Lost my only pet, a black cat named "Lucky", in 1999 and I still look for the little stinker! My husband and I said she owned the house and we were allowed to live there to serve her! "Dogs think they're human and cats think they're gods"

    ReplyDelete
  22. So sorry for your loss of Bailey !

    ReplyDelete
  23. So so sorry you and Bailey had to part ways. No matter how it happens it's never easy with a beloved pet.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so sorry to read this. I have experienced that pain and know what the hole in your heart and your life feels like. As terrible as you feel now, I'm sure your hearts will open wide again and embrace another dog to share your home. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Bob...same exact experience with my 11 year old cocker spaniel Buck....

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am sorry to hear about Bailey. It was very touching to hear your story. In some ways, I, with I’m sure many other readers, feel she has touched our lives too, through your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am so very sorry for the passing of your Bailey. What an adorable pup he is. How I feel for you. I have wept for dogs that have passed away in my family. In fact, I feel like I am closer to them than to some members of family. I adopt Sr. dogs (10 so far in 22 years) and I already know that time with them is much less than with a puppy. However, these dogs are often passed over for adoption but they still have love to get and receive. Our present dogs are 11, 12 and 12. I know that I will sob when the time comes to say goodbye. I feel that our animals give so much to our lives. I have tears now as I think about you and Betty as your grieve your precious furry family member Bailey who is no longer with you. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  28. When my only dog ever, Sadie, was killed by a car, I left the car running on the road and lay down on the asphalt beside her and cried. It was so hard!

    ReplyDelete
  29. My sincerest condolences, Bob. I'm more of a lurker here, but I sometimes comment, and now is one of those times. Many of us know the loss you and Betty are feeling right now. I am so very sorry.
    May you both find peace in each other and the days ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Bob, your touching and heartwarming tribute to Bailey reflects your love for her and underscores her standing as a member of your family. My heart and my condolences go out to you and Betty on the loss of your beloved Bailey. I hope that happy memories of the past will continue to help ease the pain of your loss in the days ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dog are better than us they truely teach us what unconditional love is sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Bob, we've experienced this loss multiple times and you have our sympathy. Bailey was fortunate to have you and Betty as caretakers.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Bob, your story about bailey make me cry. When my Abby passed I could never find the courage to replace her knowing that I would have to go through it again. But your story has me rethinking things.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Bob, It was so sad to hear about Bailey. My heart goes out to you and Betty. I had to put my little girl dog, Peaches, to sleep at age 10 this spring due to her heart issues. I guess, just remembering the wonderful years you had with Bailey is the best remedy for getting over your grief... and yes, getting another dog to love always helps:)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I know how much you loved her and what a happy little spirit she was in your life. Like you, I've always had dogs, and I loved them all, but there are always the special ones, like Bailey. And you are right about the timing of this post -- a reminder that no matter what, love touches our hearts and heals our souls.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am so so sorry. Being a cat mom, I know your pain & heartache well. Wishing you peace as you mourn your beautiful Baily. Pets - I truly love them more than most people. Because they love you unconditionally. May the pictures, memories & funny times with Baily comfort your broken heart.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Bob, I am so sorry to read about Bailey’s passing. We also lost our dear dog, Kate, this summer, and it has left a big hole in our lives and hearts.

    Jude

    ReplyDelete

Inappropriate comments will be deleted