Goodbye Bailey

There was no coincidence that it was raining this morning.  Although it was a steady light shower, it felt like more of a downpour.

I bathed my 13 year old lab this past Monday and could feel, not only the tumors she had had on her side over the last three years, but that now she felt emaciated; able to feel her skeletal structure as I lathered her coat with shampoo.  My mom made a statement that struck a chord.  She said, “I can’t believe you’re letting her live like that, Heather.  My goodness, you should know.  You’re a nurse for heaven’s sake.”

I don’t know that being a nurse had anything to do with it, but it was evident that my husband and I were in denial as to the current state of our dog’s health.  We couldn’t bring ourselves to discuss the issue.  Even though we consistently had to clean up accidents, which she didn’t even know she was having, we just didn’t speak of the end.  Even though our dog declined food, scratched the door to come in and out and in and out from confusion, and was challenged with mobility from arthritis, we simply did not communicate letting her go.    That is, until this past Monday when I called to make an appointment with our vet for today, Saturday April 13, 2013, to discuss these issues regarding our beloved pet.

A flood of emotion accompanied the words as we begin to give an account of our dog’s condition.  And that emotion only continued as we proceeded with what we knew was inevitable…. saying goodbye to our Bailey Ann.

We took her into a big room and spread out our big blanket that she loved to lay on when we have movie night.  I gave her treats as she relaxed on the blanket with us.  The vet delicately and lovingly gave her a shot to make her sleep, and then came back to administer that last shot.  I snuggled her and repeatedly told her, “I love you, Bailey.”

We carried her to our car and brought her back home where she belongs; with us.  On that drive I reminisced of the beautiful spring day that my husband and I went to get her.  Our sweet dog never completely lost that playful puppy spirit.  Her body deteriorated but her spirit never did; which is what made it so hard to let go.

In the thirteen years we had to enjoy Bailey, she welcomed home all four of our children and guarded them as if they were her own, she survived being run over four times, she graced the photo of every Christmas card and she greeted us each time we pulled in the driveway or walked in the door.  She was a part of our family before we became a family.

We close a chapter as we bid farewell to our precious pet.  I should only be filled with joy to have had the blessing of such an amazing dog for so many years. I imagine there will never be another like her, our Bailey Ann.


Bailey Ann ~ Spring 2000


Bailey and me ~ Spring 2013















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7 thoughts on “Goodbye Bailey

    • We have always been sensitive to the loss of a pet, but today we grew even more in our compassion. Thank you for sharing about your little Zoey. They are forever a part of our lives, aren’t they?

  1. This story will only touch people who truly count their pets as “part of the family”. It is not a story for people who have ‘hunting dogs’ which are kept in a pen & only let out when being hunted with, nor is it for people whose ‘Christmas pupply’ is now an adult dog and stays outside (no matter what the weather’s like) & very seldom interacts with the family. But instead it brings tears to the eyes of every pet owner who knows the pain your family is going through now because at sometime we too have had to make that unselfish decision. The memory I have of Bailey that will always remain strong in my heart is watching her take Daisey (your 7 month old Lab.) all over this farm. Many times I have looked outside my window and there they both would be walking from the North end to the South, & from the East to the West, the pup who is full of excitement & adventure and the old dog full of arthritis but determined as if she was saying, “Daisey this is your home now and I’m showing you all of it while I’m here & still can.” Yes Bailey, you will be terribly missed, but a part of you will live forever in the hearts of those you touched!

    • So many memories we have to reflect on. THAT is the blessing! Thought your most cherished memory would be when you ran over her and then backed up, not sure of what you had run over, just to run over her again! Bailey was undoubtedly a tough girl! Wish I didn’t have to let her go. I loved her so much.

  2. I am saddened to hear of your loss, Meadows family! Our pets truly are a gift from above. I found this poem a few years ago, and when I heard the news today it made me think of Bailey.

    Bailey’s Prayer

    My people are so precious, Lord;
    I know you think so, too
    And I believe you put me here
    To love them just for You!

    They take such gentle care of me
    And have such tender hearts,
    Please use me, Lord to comfort them
    Whenever teardrops start.

    They face a lot of battles
    As they live and work each day
    They need me, Lord, to make them smile
    And show them how to play.

    The world is full of people,
    But sometimes real friends are few
    Please let my love and loyalty
    Remind them, Lord, of you.

    And when my final moment comes,
    Lord, tell them as we part
    I was a made-to-order gift
    From Your great and loving heart!

    • Misty– these words are so incredibly touching. Thank you for sharing them with us. I remember praying over Bailey during nursing school asking the Lord that she would make it through that time. She already had the tumors, but I just couldn’t bear losing her during that time. She’d nudge my arm when I’d be in the office typing a paper or study guide, I’d give her my affection and she’d just plop down beside me. Just to be near me. She’s not on my floor today, but she is FOREVER in my heart.

  3. Ohhh so sad! She had a good life. I’m crying thinking about halloweens where we dressed her up. She will be missed. So sorry for your loss.

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