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The Rainbow Bridge

                 inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

Welcome Home, Bailey B.

Adjusting

The thoughts are fleeting, but they occur throughout the day.

We’d better get home, I bet Bailey has to go potty.

Who is going to walk the dog?

Every time we come home, after saying hello to Remi, who is always waiting for us at the top of the stairs, I look down the hall to find Bailey. He was always on his bed on the kids’ bedroom floor. Only now his spot is empty. But still, I look.

The rabbit thumping around in his cage sounds like Bailey’s feet on the floor. The spurting water sounds like Bailey running in his sleep, as he always did.

He is everywhere, and nowhere.

But, as usually happens with time, we are healing.

Remembering.

Missing. 

Adjusting.

Rest in Peace, Bailey B.

It all began with four little words: “Free black lab puppy.”

  Those seemingly simple words changed our lives forever.  They brought us you, Bailey B.

And what a treasure you turned out to be. Loving. Patient. Loyal. Energetic. Absolutely wonderful.

But time flew by and your endless, youthful energy slowly gave way. Those legs that used to carry you over the river and through the woods gave out. Your eyes pleading, “What do I do?” I stared back, my heart breaking. The very same question on my mind. “What do I do?”

We weren’t ready to let you go, but then again, we never would be. We humans are selfish. We would rather have you here. But today you told us that it was time to let you go. We had to honor that request.  

And as we stood beside you, the breath slowly leaving your body, I knew there would never be another as wonderful as you. 

Did we deserve you? Did we do good by you? Did we do enough? I hope with all my heart that we did.

How are we supposed to live without you? How do we go camping without our Bailey B? How do we do anything without you by our side?

I know you are in a better place. You are young again, chasing your tennis ball for hours on end. I know you are not in pain. I know that eventually every sun must set. And you, after a lifetime of touching so many hearts, had a beautiful sunset indeed.

I love you, Bailey. I always have and always will. Forever. For always… Rest in Peace, Dear One. Rest in Peace.

Bailey B.
March 1999 - April 12, 2012

Sweet Bailey B.

When Bailey got out of bed yesterday morning, he could barely walk. He was shaking and could hardly keep his legs under him. I took him outside to go potty, only to watch him stumble around the grass like a drunk man. Every time he tried to shake his head, he fell over.

When Rob arrived home, he noticed that Bailey’s eyes were flicking back and forth, almost like he were dizzy and couldn’t focus on anything. We made an appointment with the vet for today, and watched as Bailey’s condition remained unchanged through the evening. We were hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, because we couldn’t let our sweet old boy suffer.  

All five of us went to the vet with Bailey today, because if we had to let him go, then we were all going to be there to say good-bye to one of our beloved family members. The kids grew up chewing on Bailey’s ears and riding on his back, and through it all, Bailey never said a word. No barks. No growls. Nothing. He has always been such a good boy.

At the vet’s office, we found out that the part in Bailey’s brain that keeps his balance most likely ruptured. Apparently it happens often in older dogs. Most of them recover, they just have to re-learn which way is up and which way is down. He will most likely have another repeat or two of yesterday, but after some re-wiring, he will be fine. Thank goodness!! He is still a happy boy, loves his food and can’t wait to go for rides in the car. He is getting old, but doesn’ t appear to be suffering, so we brought our sweet boy home.

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy and relieved we all were.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of meeting Bailey, let me tell you a little bit about him. 

He has cataracts and cysts, growths and dandruff. He has chronic yeast infections in his ears that stink to high heaven. He can’t hear, can barely see. He can poke an eye out with his hips. His skin is dry and he sheds like crazy. He sleeps through everything. His breathing sounds like a freight train. He is a very well-travelled dog, having flown all the way to Alaska and back. He loves his tennis ball, slobbers profusely and has very bad gas. He yips when he has to go potty and woofs when he is convinced you have forgotten to feed him, but if a stranger were to break into the house, he wouldn’t say a word. He would most likely sleep right through it.   

And you know what? He is the best gosh-darned dog there ever was. You can look into his eyes and see right into his big, beautiful heart. 

13 years ago this month, a little black lab puppy was born in Helena, MT. That puppy, who, through a strange turn of events, came to live with us, has changed our lives, and we are grateful for everyday we get to spend with him. There are many adventures yet to come, and Bailey’s going to be right there, leading the way. 

WE LOVE YOU, BAILEY B.!!!! 

Bath Time For Bailey

He might dive voluntarily into the river in mid-February, but if you want Bailey in the bath, you are going to have to pick him up and put him in it. This he will not do without force. To him, bath time is the ultimate betrayal. The look on his face all but yells, “How can you do this to me? I thought you loved me?” Ah but Bailey, I do this because I love you. 

When he was younger, his stench was maddening. It didn’t matter what shampoo you used or how often you bathed him, he always stank. He stank going into the bath and he stank coming out of it. Nowadays, it is part of his charm. It wouldn’t be Bailey if he didn’t bring along his… aroma.

The whole time I am massaging shampoo into his fur, I am telling him how much I love him and what a good boy he is, but I know he cannot hear me anymore. The only sound he appears to be able to hear is the squeak from one particular drawer in the kitchen. Close the drawer and the dog came running. Rob finally oiled it.

  

My mind always tends to wander when I am giving Bailey a bath. Tonight my thoughts returned to when he was younger, and how much our lives changed the day we brought him home. I have an image of him in my head. He is sucking on a peanut better filled Kong, front half flattened to the ground, back half sticking up in the air, tail wagging, happy as can be. Then there was the time the little piggy ate all the fermented apples that had fallen off the tree. Poor little guy had to spend the night in the animal hospital.

When Bailey is all done in the bath, he runs around like a lunatic, rubbing all over the floor, trying desperately to get the clean off. No worries, I tell him, you still stink. He proceeds to lick his feet, one of his favorite things to do, while I go make another dog out of the hair he left me in the bathroom.

Lucky for me, Bailey always forgives me for humiliating him in the bath. A little treat never hurt, though. There you go, Bailey, all better.