“The only thing wrong with dogs is that they can’t live forever.” – Unknown
January 19th, 2003 my college roommate and I went to love on all the dogs at the Humane Society inside Pet Supplies Plus in Knoxville, TN. We had a habit of doing this and we always walked out feeling better and WITHOUT a new pet. That day was different. While we were there a skinny little black and white pup they called “Promise” crawled up into my lap, licked my face and curled up in a little ball. DONE! SOLD! MELTED! After a few lies about where I lived and the pet policy, January 19th, 2003 is the day that I became a mom.
“Promise” was eventually renamed to “Bella” for a few short days until all of the neighbors decided to have dogs named “Bella”. It was then, after thoughts of coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream (black with notes of white and brown, like the rescue dog) that my baby was named “Bailey”. When I finally told my parents that “my boyfriend had gotten me a dog for Valentine’s Day” my father responded how I expected, “I didn’t say I would put a dog through college.” So there I was with a ton of new bills and responsibility at 20 years old. After waking up at 4am every day for a few weeks, I thought two things: 1- This was the worst decision of my life! 2- This was the BEST decision of my life! And over the next 12 to 12 and a half years it is the latter that remained true. Over that time frame we lived in 9 different homes across 4 states and she was a trooper through it all.
Today marks the one year anniversary of saying goodbye to my sweet, sweet Bailey Marie. Right now actually marks the exact time I kissed her muzzle one last time as I said, “You were the most AMAZING dog I could have ever asked for. You are so loved, and so appreciated and so many people send their love to you right now. You will be missed more than you know but mom will be okay, I promise, I’m in good hands. You can go now. Know that you took such great care of me for 12 and a half years and that I will be okay without you. I’m so grateful for you. Thank you for being so amazing, for being the sweetest dog in the world. You were my best friend and you saved my life so many times. It’s okay, you can go now. I love you.”
As I type this I am in tears. I still miss her every, single, day! Sometimes I think I hear her in the house. Her photo is on a canvas on my wall and a few photos are framed throughout the condo as well as her ashes. She was my first child. I don’t plan to have non-fur children so she will ALWAYS be my “first born”. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more loving, more comforting, and more beautiful little girl. I will never know the loss of a child for a parent but I do know my loss and what it taught me…what SHE taught me!
I look back at my Gratitude Journal (that I do a TERRIBLE job of keeping up with) but there is one thing that is consistently on my list of 5, Bailey! Oh how grateful I still am for her. Bailey taught me about:
- unconditional love
- personal responsibility
- time management
- financial responsibility
This time, this day, last year was the second hardest day of my life. Bailey was the one that got me going through the first. When my dad passed away I was in grad school and working full-time. I was exhausted and some days it was hard to keep going. But coming home to Bailey’s wiggly butt and wagging tail every night got me through it. Bailey would lick my tears and lean against me through the crying fits and hardest nights. I wasn’t alone because I had her there with me. That is the one thing I am most grateful for. I don’t think I could have gotten through losing my dad, finishing my masters and maintaining a job without her. Actually, I know I couldn’t have.
Today’s blog and my first blog in months is dedicated to my sweet Bailey girl, Bailey Marie. Oh how I miss you so. Thank you, again, for EVERYTHING! I will be forever grateful.
There’s a saying, “The first dog is the dog that gives you so much that the first dog is often the reason for the second dog.” I guess that’s where Maya came from. It was very hard to get Maya. Not that I don’t love her with all I have but just that she wasn’t BAILEY and I didn’t know if my heart was ready. Now I realize that that’s okay and that no one will ever replace her, but I can take all the love I gave to Bailey and give it to Maya. I never thought there could be a dog as sweet, loving, and kind as Bailey, but I’ve been proven wrong. I know that 12, 13, or 14 years from now I will be writing a very similar blog about “Maya Marie”.
Bailey Marie, “my heart will always wear, the pawprints left by you”. ❤
In loving memory of Bailey Marie LaViola, 7/1/02 – 4/14/15