Goodbye Bailey8:58 PM
One of the reasons I haven't posted anything in a few weeks (aside from the crazy busy Christmas days) is that I dreaded writing this one.
Last Wednesday, my beloved Golden Retriever, Bailey, passed away. She would have been 11 years old this month. And she was, without a doubt, the greatest dog in the world.
She was my second Golden, but held first place in my heart. My first Golden, purchased ignorantly from a backyard breeder who had no clue about Goldens (and neither did I at the time) developed such extreme hip dysplasia that she had to be put down before she was even 8 months old. Horrible, awful stuff.
So Bailey came into our lives after much more education and a whole lot of prayers and kindness on God's part. I was fortunate to find a fantastic breeder in Greenville, MS who had a litter of puppies and was a serious Golden owner. She showed her dogs and really knew her stuff.
I will never forget driving to Greenville with my friend Sarah, to pick up Bailey. I hadn't told Kyle I was going, so I was so excited to surprise him with a puppy.
That began my 11 year bond with a beautiful dog that I called "Bug", "Bailey-Bug", "Bugaboo", "Bug-Bug" and of course, "Bailey".
Due to some random turns of events, Kyle and I found ourselves the owner of a show-quality Golden. We had much to learn. But we had no kids, extra income and free weekends, and so for a few years of our lives, we traipsed around the south with a few handler friends of ours, showing our Bailey! She was a gorgeous girl and would have won a lot more had her primary handler not been a very amateurish ME. Along with being highly political and intensely competitive, the majority of winning Goldens are shown by professional handlers. The owner/handlers out there are usually also breeders. Not me! Just out their for funsies.
We won some, but it was mostly just fun for us. And an incredible experience. And very bonding for me and Bailey.
The perfect Golden temperament - fantastic with kids and other dogs....loving, sensitive, playful, affectionate...
If you recall a post I did a few weeks ago, Bailey collapsed and we didn't know why. This was the first of several occasions since then, and after much research, I strongly believe she had hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer that isn't uncommon in older Goldens.
She was happy and normal over our Christmas weekend, but on Wednesday, something was obviously bad wrong. No eating, swollen belly, pale gums...she couldn't get up from the floor. I knew it was time.
So, on Wednesday, Kyle and I were holding our sweet girl as she left this world. I haven't sobbed that much, that hard, in YEARS. There is a huge hole in my heart. I keep seeing her reflection in the back door, waiting to be let in from outside...hearing her feet pad down the hallway to me...feeling her cold nose nudge my hand to pet her...seeing her lift her paw up for me to massage it...
We were so truly blessed to have had Bailey be part of our family for so long. I wish everyone could have the unconditional love and devotion of a Bailey. My heart aches for her, but I also am truly grateful that I know what it means to have a constant companion..to have been loved the way she loved me and our family...she will be greatly missed by us and all who knew her.