We bought Bailey from a local farm here in Salt Lake when Taylor was eight and Courtney was four. The first time we went, the kids played with all the puppies. But Bailey seemed to rise above the rest. She loved Taylor and whether she picked Taylor, or Taylor picked her out of the bunch, we will never know. It was a long few weeks that we waited until she was old enough to bring home. Finally we got to pick her up. We had a box that we put her in on the back seat of the car. She jumped around in excitement and I don’t think she stayed in the box very long. When we got home the kids took their Subway sandwiches and Bailey out on the back lawn to have a picnic. We turned our backs for a minute only to find Bailey eating Courtney’s sandwich. This was the first of many things Bailey helped herself to…any food was her food.
That first night I felt guilty taking her from her mother so I remember sitting on the kitchen floor holding her and kissing her and telling her that I would be her mom and I’d love her and take care of her until the end. I remember feeling so in love with that puppy. She was so cute and so innocent and her love for us was palpable. The kids wanted to spend the nights with her so they slept a night or two in their sleeping bags on the kitchen floor with their new pup.
It didn’t take long to learn that Bailey couldn’t be left unattended so we quickly bought her a crate and a leash and collar. It was time to potty train her. So we crated her during the day and had puppy pads for her to go potty on when she was in the kitchen. Needless to say, Bailey had different ideas for how to use those puppy pads. On more than one occasion we came home to find the blue pads in hundreds of pieces all over the floor. We bagged that method of potty training.
About a month after we got Bailey our cat, KC, died. So we got a new kitten, Spike, and brought him home. Spike and Bailey were instant siblings – or maybe partners in crime. The first Christmas they ran through the house chasing each other and skidding across the hardwood floor until they smashed into the Christmas tree. That was the last real Christmas tree we had until they were much older.
Every year on the first day of school we took a photo of Bailey with the kids on the front porch. We have these wonderful photos showing how all three of them grew. There was a time or two when I stayed home from work so I could take Bailey to one of the kids’ classes for show and tell. I would have to hold Bailey back; once she saw the children she would bounce into the classroom and take over.
The kids taught her many tricks including rolling over and playing dead when they pointed their hand in the shape of a gun at her. They would say, “Bang” and she would roll over on her back and play dead. She loved tennis balls and would chase Frisbees or anything we would throw for her. Bailey would do just about anything for a treat. She also loved rough housing and wrestling with Taylor. As she got older this was harder for her to do.Bailey absolutely loved having her belly rubbed. She would kick her back leg whenever Taylor would rub her soft, warm belly.
When we had her groomed she always looked like a lamb when she was shaved for the summer. She would still have fur on her head, and her big ears and tail, but the rest of her was fuzzy and pudgy. Sometimes they’d put pink bows on her head and we’d always rip them off immediately. Bailey was too cool for silly bows.
This pup almost never had accidents in the house, once she was potty trained. There were a few times, though, when she got so excited she peed. I recall many puddles on the cement when she was young and kids were around.
She loved to lick Taylor’s hands but she never really licked anyone else’s. Probably because the rest of us would say, “Eeewww” and wipe our hands off.
Bailey was born around the Fourth of July and came to live with us at the end of August or beginning of September. We were still potty training her after that first snow fell and I remember standing at the door telling her to hurry and pee because it was cold. She was so eager to please that she learned fast. She always loved to do anything that made us happy.
One day I came home from work and she had pulled a piece of the Berber carpet in the basement. She had it in her mouth and looked so happy – like she’d had a fantastic day. When I went downstairs I saw that she had unraveled the carpet all the way across the room. That was not a good day. Bailey loved to run and play in the snow, eating and chasing snow balls. She would come in with snow balls hanging from her flanks and stuck between her toes.
One fall, I planted dozens of tulip bulbs in the backyard. The next morning she had “retrieved” each of the bulbs. The yard was a mess. She used to like to dig random holes in the dirt…we never could figure out what she was after. Bailey was definitely a retriever… if we’d throw our socks to the laundry basket, she would retrieve them, and anything else she could find. This became quickly embarrassing as she retrieved things we never wanted to see again.
Bailey had numerous stuffed animals over the years; they were her babies. Most recently she had a stuffed skunk that she carried around the house. She would lay down and throw it around and she loved a good game of tug of war with anything she had in her mouth. It was funny to watch her pull and growl as she hung tight to her prized possessions.
When we lived in our old house the kids took her to the Gulley where she loved to swim in the water with the other dogs. This was a big treat and usually reserved for right before her grooming appointments as she’d smell horrible after these outings.
One of the first years we were in the new house I had made a birthday cake for Taylor. I made it the night before the party so everything would be ready in the morning when his friends came. In the middle of the night I heard some noises that sounded like someone was sick. I turned on the lights to find Bailey lapping water out of the toilet as fast as she could. Her face was covered with the chocolate from the cake and her eyes looked like they were rolling back in her head. This was one sick pup. I took her out to the back yard where she eventually got better. The cake dish, still on the kitchen counter, was licked so clean you would think it had just come out of the dishwasher. This dog was nocturnal and sweetly mischievous! She would steal things off the counters, and out of the trash, throughout her life. One time she took our cobs of corn out through the dog door (one at a time), husked them on the back lawn and ate them. We often thought she had an accomplice (namingly the cat). I threatened to get a doggy cam but never did.
Another time the kids and I drove to the Bay Area to visit family. So we took Bailey with us. That night, in the hotel room in Winnemucca, Nevada, she jumped on the hotel bed with the kids. So adorable!
Bailey used to have “spaz attacks” where she would run circles through the house as fast as she could. It was like she had these bursts of energy and couldn’t be stopped. We would clap, which made her run faster, and then she’d crash into a ball on the floor with what looked like a big, panting smile on her face.
A few years ago Chip came into the family and brought his dog Zeus. Zeus took some getting used to and Bailey was fairly tolerant. It was Zeus’ constant attempts to mount Bailey that caused her to snap. A girl can only take so much.
She was there through our bad times, when we were sick, and through all the good times and celebrations. She truly was part of our family. Bailey never stopped loving, never had harsh words, almost always did what she was told, and seemed to have an unending desire to please. If she ever got scolded, Bailey would crawl across the floor like an army man, with her head down. She would not make eye contact with us and would head out the door as soon as she could. It was hard to stay mad at that pup for very long.
So her perfect life has come to an end and we are all better for having her as part of our family. I will cherish that adorable face, and all of these memories. There will never be another dog like Bailey. You’re forever in our hearts sweet girl.