Tag Archives: Bailey

A Remembrance Day

I’ve reached the point where the memories are warm and fuzzy and don’t hurt as much as they did a couple years ago. I think some of that healing has to do with Tyler, my little man. I think Bailey must have arranged for Tyler to find me.

I remember my sweet girl Bailey with a smile and maybe a little bit of a misty eye. But the pain of her loss has gone numb. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or indicates that I love her any less. I think it’s an acceptance of reality. We all have to move on, right? Even so, I know that on this one day, January 15th, she will come to my mind and I’ll remember her. Sweet girl. Rest in peace.

12-8-08Bailey2

 

An Update on………Me!

My girl is now three weeks gone. My eyes tear up and my nose stings as I write that. But my tears are now more easily controlled. I miss her with an ache in my heart. But the exhaustion of standing upright has lessened. I’ve started to make plans on ways to remember her. I’ve made a change to her Dogster page. Friends continue to send condolence cards as the news spreads, and each new one brings on my tears–but it’s more like leaky eyes instead of a sobbing waterworks. Small steps.

I have not had an uninterrupted night’s sleep in four weeks. Her bed is still at the foot of my bed, the imprint from her body from that last night still there. Saying “Goodnight pup” has become a part of our bedtime ritual.

We realized tonight that we need to sweep the kitchen more–there’s no pooch to “vacuum” up the crumbs from under the table after we’ve eaten.

My heart continues to ache, but the ache is starting to get a little numb around the edges. Small steps.

Life after Bailey

I am trying to pick up the threads of my online life, but it’s difficult because Bailey is so deeply embedded in every profile or avatar I’ve ever created.  I haven’t been on Twitter in what seems like years–just don’t have the heart. I’ve tried to catch up on my favorite blogs on Google Reader, but I just loose interest. The closest I’ve come is to enter into a couple of arguments on a couple of forums that I haven’t messed with much in the past. But even there I feel like “Yeah. Right. Whatever.”

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk. Bailey’s bed is gone from underneath. But I still have the urge to put the plate that had my toast on it down on the floor so she can lick the crumbs off. I am a little desolate that I don’t “see” her–don’t people always say after they’ve lost a family member that they “see” them in the usual places? I sometimes “hear” her–a rustle in the newspapers, like she’s getting ready to rip a piece away and run with it because she knows I’ll chase her to try and take it away so she can’t eat it. Or a soft little inquiring moan, “Why aren’t you paying attention to me?” But I don’t “see” her.

Bit by bit, the little evidences of her life are being moved or disappearing. I have a box of meds on the kitchen table that I’m going to take to the GDHS, along with her left-over bags of food. It’s been there for over a week. Don’t have the energy to do it. We’ve moved her 2 dogbeds into our spare bedroom in preparation for “putting them away.” I don’t have the courage yet to do that with the bed at the foot of my bed. We’ve picked up all the ugly scatter rugs we put down so that she would have sure-footing over the wood floors. The babygate to my mom’s bedroom is now always open, which feels crazy because I know Bailey will get in there and tear into the toilet paper and anything else she finds. Not. I still close the babygate in my bedroom door when I go to bed at night. Not that I needed to for the past 5 years because once the lights were out Bailey would snooze and not get up to explore in the dark.

Oh my girl, I miss you so!

One Week Ago….

I can have a conversation about her without crying–that’s a step forward. My ability to concentrate is better than it was, and yesterday I found myself laughing over something. But my head still feels like I’m recovering from a bad head cold, and I continue to have an off-again-on-again low-grade headache.  I feel empty, but my head feels like it’s so full it might explode. And the greyness of January is doing nothing to pick up my spirits.

I’ve made a half-hearted attempt to gather some of Bailey’s stuff together to give to the shelter. It was easy to gather up the things she never used–the little tee-shirt that says “Leashes? We don’t need no stinkin’ leashes!” She hated that shirt! And the squeaky ball that she lost interest in several years ago (when I worked in the phone center on Saturdays, Bailey and I used to play soccer in the hallway outside of my boss’s office–she was a very aggressive player!). Her left-over meds. Her leftover food. The blue harness and leash that she hardly ever wore (she preferred her black set).

But there are still some things I can’t move–like her bed which still has the indentation of where she lay those last couple days.

I miss her cuddles, and the sunshine of her cheery little doggie smile.

Bailey on YouTube

Four years ago, just after Bailey had her cancer surgery, I purchased a digital camera that also took videos. At the time we thought her life would be very short because of our choice not to do chemo/radiation, and I wanted some good photos of her. Silly humans! Of course my contrary little dog would live longer than the dogtors said she would!

Five of the videos I took back then ended up on my YouTube channel. I see a difference in my girl between that time four years ago, and recently. The videos are Bailey in her prime–demanding, noisy, and singing for cookies. This is the way I want to remember her.

This last one has had over 40,000 views!! All I can think of is that it’s sitting on somebody’s website racking up views.

OK, if you really want to make yourself nuts, hit the go button on all five videos at the same time.

The Last Day

I look back now and realize that Bailey’s illness didn’t happen overnight. It’s been going on since before Thanksgiving.

On a normal evening, I’d lay down on the couch and read or watch TV or whatever and Bailey would always cuddle up with me. But several weeks ago her cuddle positioning changed. Though she tried to lay as she normally would, she could not seem to get comfortable and so would move to the end of the coach in a kind of a frustrated huff. A couple of times she even gave a very soft yelp, as if she hurt herself.

This also happened at bedtime. We had a routine–I’d put a couple of kibbles under her pillow, and after she ate them she would crawl under the covers, cuddle for a while, and then move back up to her pillow. But her cuddle position changed, again as if she couldn’t get comfy.

This never struck me as something major–in fact, I’m not even sure I conciously thought about it until Thursday night.

Watching her on Thursday, I realized that all week I had been seeing her gait degenerate, especially her back legs. As she walked, her butt was swaying left-and-right and her back legs seemed to swing outward and away from her body instead of just back-and-forth.

Over the week, her squats when she pottied had become more-and-more clumsy till she finally just wouldn’t squat anymore. By Wednesday I would carry her outside, she would look like she couldn’t figure out what to do, and then walk back to the door to be let in. Twice her bladder released its load just as we got inside the door. I know now she could no longer squat.

I gave up trying to get her outside to potty. I kept her gated in my room/office. She was welcome to pee on my carpet.  And for once she made no objection to being barred in the room. In fact, she didn’t seem to want to leave her bed. When she looked up at me, it was like she didn’t see me, as if she were in her own world. It might have been the drugs–I kept her pumped with pain meds–but I don’t think so. I’m not sure the pain meds were taking care of all her pain.

Thursday evening I again brought her out to the sofa to join us. The prior evenings she seemed to notice we were there and every time I got up she kept track of where I was. This time she had no interest. And she could not get comfortable. I finally carried her back into her bed in my bedroom.

And I started thinking about the times when she seemed to be experiencing what I thought was arthritis pains, and the light bulb went on–we’d been looking in the wrong places. The problem was in the area around her back legs. Over the past week, it was her hind end that had gotten progressively weaker and troubling.

I left her in her own bed. During the night I heard her get up and lay on the carpet. Around 3 she shifted again and I realized she had again had an involuntary bladder release while she slept. By 6 AM I think I had made the decision. I gathered her up, put her on my bed and lay down beside her to tell her it would soon be over. She allowed this to go on for maybe 10 minutes and then indicated that she wanted down. Up until Thursday she made an attempt to indulge my cuddles. Now she wanted none of it.

For the third morning, I called Dr. B to speak with her before her appointments started. I told her about my theory about Bailey’s hind end. She agreed that it made sense and we both wondered if perhaps the cancer was back.

Doing x-rays of the area would cause her needless pain because of the way her body would have to be twisted (we had been forced to do this a couple years ago and I had promised myself I would never put her through that again). Even if we did discover it was the cancer, we had already made the decision of no chemo/surgery.

And now that I knew where to look I could see that with all the treatments we had tried over the week there was no progress, only degeneration in her condition. She was not responding. She was in pain. So we made an appointment for the big sleep.

For the 3rd morning, Bailey was coaxed into her Sherpa bag and my mom and I drove to the clinic. We were met at the door by one of the techs and taken to an exam room. We talked through what was going to happen–all of us in tears. Bailey’s groomer, Aunt T came in to say goodbye. My little pooch touched so many hearts at the clinic! They took her back to the hospital area and put a catheter into the vein in her leg, then brought her back to us. My mom and I had spread one of Bailey’s blankets out on the table. Dr. B joined us. We said our goodbyes to her and as Dr. B gave her the final injection through the catheter she so peacefully hid her head in the folds of the blanket just like she used to do when we would go to bed at night. Eventually, Dr. B wrapped her in another blanket and took her away. She really looked like she was just having a good sleep.

As we left, we were hugged by the receptionists. Later that day I heard from Dr. T–he was not at the clinic on Friday, but her had called in for something and they told him that Bailey was gone. Friday evening T (Bailey’s groomer) called us to see how we were doing. She told me that everyone at the clinic was affected by Bailey’s passing. They are such wonderful people and took such good care of my girl.

So many people–friends, family, co-workers, neighbors–have reached out to me with kindness. It warms me to think that Bailey had such a large group of friends and fans, and I am so grateful for the thoughts and prayers that you all have shared. Thank you so much.

I look at her bed that still holds the indentation of where she lay only 48 hours ago, and I feel the empty loneliness of her absence. I miss her so much.