Bailey’s Last Ride

While we are normally a pretty happy bunch, every now and then we have to say goodbye to a loved one. In this case, a beloved family pet.
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Through my tears, I’m writing down my thoughts about sweet Bailey because the pain is too raw to speak about her for now.     I always told her that she was my angel dog and now she truly is.    She was a love of a sweet dog to be an 80-pound girl.   When she was young, she would bound into the open door at full speed and slide all the way across the hardwood floors and screech to a stop at the other end of the room.    She knew how to open the fence gate and could escape and run like the wind in the neighborhood only to return when she was exhausted and muddy, or when I would get a call from a neighbor that she was visiting them.   Once, someone from Harpeth Hall School called to say that Bailey was visiting them during one of their school events and she was enjoying helping herself to the snacks that they had out on tables for their guests.
It was painful to watch her slowly deteriorate before my very eyes for the last three years.      I struggled with tending to her just as though she was an aging and loved human family member.   Her hips and hind legs would shake as she slowly struggled to stand and she was prone to falling.    She could not get herself up on hardwood floors and couldn’t walk on the slick floors at the vet’s office.   She started urinating in the house occasionally about three years ago and I was forced to put up gates and my kitchen became her home.    She seemed happy there with her gigantic therapeutic bed with sheets that I could change often when she soiled them.   I would have to help her up and show her to the door to get her outside and then sometimes go out and lead her back to the door to get her back inside.  When I was in the kitchen preparing meals, she would still get up and slowly make her way over to me and ask for treats, looking at me with her gorgeous big, brown eyes and wagging her tail which had gone from being a huge fluffy tail to a scraggly, almost hairless tail of a sweet, old dog.
She progressed from urinating in my kitchen every 4 or 5 hours to every 3 hours to almost every hour.     Her liver was failing and she drank water excessively, thus she urinated excessively.
In the months and weeks leading up to May 2, I struggled to make the right decision for her and for me.  She got to have as many treats as she wanted, lots of ham and human snacks, lots of hugs and extra kisses.   I talked about her condition with many friends and family members who offered support and listened as I recounted the trials and tribulations of caring for an aging pet.   I googled countless sites on the internet that offered advice for making the final decision for a beloved pet.   I consulted with several veterinarians looking for solace and peace of mind that I was doing the right thing.   I talked to Bailey about her life and asked her to help me do the right thing. I struggled with the decision and it haunts me now.    Rachel would come over and lie down on Bailey’s bed and snuggle with her so sweetly.    Rachel was 11 years old when we rescued Bailey from the streets of Columbia, TN.    I know Rachel will miss her as much as I will.
In the end, I knew that it was the last act of love that I could provide for her, not to let her suffer and languish to a slow, painful death.       So, I made the call to the vet to make an appointment for Bailey’s last ride.    I could barely talk to the person on the phone to give them the information.   It was simply too sad to bear.
There were sleepless nights leading up the morning of May 2.   I considered canceling the appointment and postponing the inevitable.    But I knew that it would not get any easier and postponing could make it even harder.     Bailey must have thought I had completely lost it, because I
would look at her big brown eyes, start crying and then go over to her and snuggle and kiss her.
Since she could no longer walk down the stairs in my house, I took her on a leash out the kitchen door and walked her down the hill towards the driveway and the waiting car.    At one point, she stopped and looked at me and pulled away like she knew what was about to happen.    I coaxed her to the car and helped her in.     Typically, she had a difficult time getting into the car, but this morning I lifted up her backside and helped her in with little difficulty.   I rolled the windows down and we took off.    She always loved riding in the back seat with the wind blowing across her face.    But, this time for the first time ever, she rested her face on the console between the front seats so that I could rub her head while I drove and she looked up at me with big sad, brown eyes.
My plan was to get her a cheeseburger on the way to the vet, so we drove straight to Wendy’s.   It was 10 am and they were closed.    So, we headed to Krystal and I ordered her two cheeseburgers.    She scarfed them up and licked her chops!    Then we headed towards the vets office and we passed a McDonald’s.   I made a u-turn and drove into McDonalds and ordered her another cheeseburger.   Who knew they don’t serve cheeseburgers for breakfast there, so I got her a sausage egg and cheese biscuit.
We made it to the vet’s office and I carefully helped her out of the car.    She sniffed every inch of grass there and then finished her sausage biscuit.    We went inside and I took her into the exam room to meet with the vet.    They brought in a blanket so she would be able to sit on the slick floor without falling.    I sat down on the floor with her, rubbing her head and ears and waited for the vet.    I wanted to take her and run out of there so badly.      Once I had talked with the vet, I told her that I would be unable to stay in the room and needed to leave.    I could not keep it together.  Through the tears, I hugged and kissed Bailey girl for the last time.    The vet called in her kind assistant to whisper sweet nothings in Bailey’s ear.
It’s not the same here at my house.   There is such an empty hole in my heart and I miss her so much.   Rufus looks sad and lonely and confused.
I don’t know how long the raw pain will last or when I will be able to speak about her and not cry like a baby.
Thank you to all my friends and family who helped me through this sad time.    I don’t know how I will explain to little Jack and Esme that Baybay is gone.
Sweet dreams to our sweet, sweet Bailey!   You were the sweetest girl ever!

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