A couple of years ago, we met Bailey, a beautiful 3 year old basset/beagle mix, through an ad on Craigslist, so we got to see her every time her pet parents went out of town. As time went by, our home became a second home for Bailey, and although I was the one that walked and fed her the most, Bailey’s heart belonged to Cynthia. Every morning they had a routine: Cynthia would sit on the floor and Bailey would sit on her lap; Cynthia would then scoop her up in her arms like a baby while Bailey looked delighted with such show of affection; and finally, Cynthia would whisper sweet nothings to her. This love fest would last 5, 10, 15 minutes. Sometimes I had to tell Cynthia, “Come on, let’s go. They need to take a walk and do their business.” Cynthia’s heart, as it was clear to me, belonged to Bailey. Every time we have a dog staying with us, the dog chooses one of us, and Bailey chose Cynthia. It was beautiful to see them on the floor oblivious to everything around them because they were doing their “love fest routine.”
Time went by, and on January 2012 Bailey and her parents moved to California. On her last visit with us, we went to the beach and Cynthia took a lot of pictures of both Bailey and Alex. The dictionary should have under the definition of happy the above picture of Bailey. That picture to me, from the very first time I saw it, showed what happy should look like.
Although I knew Bailey was leaving, what surprised me was how this affected me for although I did love her, I never knew how much. When I lost my aunt Maria to liver cancer in 2007 I was sad and anxious and I hated feeling like that. Bailey’s departure made me feel that way again and that night I had a hard time falling asleep. Bailey’s mom started a blog, and once a week I would take a look at it always hoping that I could see pictures of Bailey. A couple of months ago, I started to get a little concerned when I did not see any new posts since December of last year. I told Cynthia, “I think something is going on. I hope they’re ok.” I wanted to contact them, but I felt it would be inappropriate and intrusive so I just kept looking at Cara’s blog, Bailey’s mom, every week and wishing that soon she’d post something.
Then, on March 23rd of this year I received an e-mail from Ryan, Bailey’s dad, letting us know that Bailey had a form of bone marrow cancer and she was to be put down the next day. Ryan told me that they did everything they could, but you know what? I already knew that. Bailey was not only deeply loved by her parents, but also well cared for since they were willing to drive all the way from Arlington, VA to Odenton, MD to drop off or pick up Bailey when they had to travel. For those that are not familiar with this area that is a trip of about 40 minutes without traffic, and up to 2 hours when you hit traffic.
Ryan also asked in his e-mail if we wanted to see Bailey one last time via Skype, to what I promptly replied, “Yes.” Ryan and Cara looked beyond sad and although Cynthia is always the strong one, for I am the one that cries quite easy, this time she was the one crying so hard that at times when we were talking to them, she moved away from the camera to cry her eyes out. We were fortunate enough to see Bailey one last time and for that we’ll be forever grateful to Bailey’s parents. Thank you Ryan and Cara for giving us the opportunity to say bye and see Bailey one last time. You two are amazing people for sharing Bailey with us.
Afterwards, Cynthia and I just sat at the dining room table, held hands and cried. Cynthia kept asking me, “Why did she have to die so young?” The only thing I could come up with was, “Maybe because whatever her mission was on this earth she got to accomplish it.” I said this to Cynthia as a way to comfort her as well as convince myself that that was true, otherwise Bailey’s departure, at least in my eyes, would have been unfair.
Lately, Cynthia kept asking me why I haven’t posted anything about Bailey, and my excuse was, “You have to sit with me to pick the pictures I’ll post in my blog.” But the truth was that I avoided writing about Bailey because I felt as if by delaying this post I could hold on to her a little longer. Crazy? I don’t know. What I do know is that the heart does not rationalize, it just feels. And my heart wanted to hold on to Bailey for as long as I could, but my head kept telling me to get on with it and write about her, so I finally did.
Dear Bailey, or as Cynthia used to call her, BaBailey, please know that you were very much loved by your pet parents, the people that were fortunate enough to know you, like us, and the dogs you met along the way because your presence brought lots of laughter, joy, and love. You left such a hole in our hearts, but we don’t regret loving you. See you later “our” beautiful BaBailey, we love you dearly.