On Sunday we said goodbye to our sweet Bailey. We ordered her a pizza, took one last family walk and then sent her to heaven. Life will be very different around here- quite an adjustment as we don’t know life as a family without her. 💔🐶
It was April of 2001 that she came into our lives. One night, after attending a wedding, Mike and I walked by our neighborhood pet store to find the most adorable litter of black and white “lab-terrier mix” puppies. I wanted the tiny one, the runt. Mike said to pump the breaks, but at the same time gave me a smirk because he knows how relentless I can be. That Monday. I went to back to the store with a friend. The store owner shared that they were only 5 weeks old and were abandoned by their mom, so they couldn’t be properly weened. That was that. It was serendipitous- that “runt” that I had wanted all along came up and snuggled up to me. I was not leaving that store without her. I was so excited, I called Mike at work and said “I’m coming to introduce you to your new daughter.” I could imagine him rolling his eyes while he laughed on the other side of the phone.
I put her in the kennel in the backseat of my car and set off on our way. As soon as the car started moving she started whimpering loudly. Like any new mother with a crying “ human” baby, you become extremely anxious, so I pulled over and put her in my lap while I drove. Bad idea. Being the runt, she was a mere 2.5 lbs and wiggled off of my lap in between the drivers seat and the door. I finagled her back into the kennel, clenching the steering wheel through her yelping and finally made it to Mike’s office.
Because I got to pick her out I left the naming rights to her daddy. Champ Bailey, who played footbal for his two favorite teams; College ball at UGA and at the time was recently drafted to the Redskins, so Bailey seemed quite a fitting name.
She had so many nicknames- B, B Girl, Bail, Bailbo, Boo, Boodies, Bailey Louise Parker Salmon the First (when she was in trouble.) Mike even tried changing her name to Portis after Champ Bailey was replaced by Clinton Portis, but that just didn’t stick. She also quickly became known as the World’s Best Bad Dog. Whether it be getting kicked out of obedience training, acquiring police citations, jumping out of a window from a second story because she was so excited to greet me that she couldn’t wait until I got upstairs, eating a pack of gum, and having a grand mal seizure, eating a frog and foaming at the mouth, eating a cellphone, stealing burgers (her specialty) or begging incessantly. She was so, so bad and so stubborn. But so awesome- she truly had the personality of a human. I always thought if she could present herself in human form, she’d be Sofia from the Golden Girls. She didn’t give a f%^k.
She was our everything. So much that when Mike proposed to me, he pretended that Bailey was choking and when I went down to tend to her, there was the ring, shining in my face. Exactly one year later, at our wedding my brother-in-law gave his best man toast he said “let’s all hope that their kids will be better behaved than Bailey.” Everyone laughed because they knew what a punk dog she was. And as we came back from our honeymoon, we received word from our friends that were watching her that she literally ate through our kitchen wall while we were gone.
In September 2005, the week before E was born we were marinating buffalo chicken on skewers that we would grill later that night. We left them on the kitchen counter while we ran out for a bit. We came home to the casserole dish that the skewers were in left perfectly placed on the floor. There was no chicken or wooden skewers. We looked around the kitchen thinking she couldn’t possibly had eaten them all, but alas, she did. We called the vet and they said that we were in for a rough night. But there were no repercussions- in fact she slept through the night and had a solid poop the next morning. The vet called to check on her the next day and after Mike told them that she was fine, the tech joked “we are going to reclassify her as a goat.” That was our girl- raw chicken, wooden skewers, even chocolate.. She ate it all, without consequence or hesitation.
Her shenanigans kept up until we brought E home from the hospital. The moment we walked through the door with that sweet baby girl, it was like a miraculous exorcism had occurred. Suddenly Bailey had a job- to look after her baby. And that she did. B never left our girls’ side. We called her “ Nurse B” as she laid in bed with them when they were sick. She licked their tears when they cried and often times was conflicted as to who she would sleep with, so she slept in between their rooms. Then there was that time when E was a baby. She was the best napper- we’re talking four hours on weekends. Mike and I took this time to catch up on our Netflix shows. We were nearly through the end of an epic Weeds marathon when Bail started barking at the base of the steps and kept looking up the stairs, as if she was saying“open this god damn baby gate!”. We tried everything to shut her up so she wouldn’t wake the baby, but then the crying from upstairs began. As soon as we opened the gate she darted into E’s room. As the light filled the room we could see blood on the walls and in her crib. Somehow she had gotten a bloody nose during her nap- Bail was trying to let us know that her baby was in trouble.
She was so good, and so sweet, but still such a pain in the ass. Friday nights are pizza nights in the Salmon house. Mike made the mistake of giving her his crust once and from that point on nobody was safe from Bailey’s demands for the their crust. Our pizza delivery guy knew her. It was almost like she could smell him driving down the street. The drool started as his car turned the corner.
About two years ago, she really started slowing down. First she stopped jumping up on the bed for cuddles, and soon after, she refused to even attempt to go upstairs. We thought the end was near so we started talking about looking for a puppy because we knew this family couldn’t go long without a dog in the house. That’s when Lola came into our lives. Bailey tolerated Lola, but Lola loooooved Bailey. B made sure that her little sister knew who was boss and constantly put her in her place when she fell out of line.
Bailey taught Lola how to be a member of this family and most importantly how to love and support our girls. It was now time for her to pass the baton. It was now time for us to let her go. We didn’t want to do it, but she has given us so much, giving her a peaceful ending was the least we could do for her. So now she is up in heaven watching over us and eating all of the pizza crust she could imagine. We miss you Bailbo- you will be forever in our hearts.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. A must read for all dog lovers.
So here is Lola’s story….
Two and a half months ago I received a call from a Bernese Mountain Dog Breeder that we know asking for help. She had a Berner (Lola) who was poorly cared for and had lived in a barn her entire life. Her previous owners bred her way too young (she had 10 puppies!) and we think that stunted her growth. A pure-bred 2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog should weigh approximately 120 lbs, she weighed 48. We were thrilled to adopt her and couldn’t wait to spoil her to pieces but were heartbroken that two of her puppies were left behind in the barn. The conditions in the barn were beyond horrible and the water bowls were frozen solid. I couldn’t bear them being left in the freezing weather without their momma to keep them warm! So I reached out to everyone I knew and as it turns out, our friends down the street adopted BOTH puppies.
Meet my grand-puppies… Stella Bella and Sadie Grace. Their dad was a Golden Retriever.
We are so thrilled to have Lola in our lives. We are fairly certain that she was abused because she is terrified of all inanimate objects and any sudden movement. She’s now up to 59 lbs. and has come so incredibly far. In fact, I’d say she’s feeling quite comfortable these days. Maybe a little too comfortable. Every time we think we’re almost there with the potty training.. she leaves us a little present. It may take a little more time, after all- she was raised in a barn!
Oh, yes.. and Bailey is just fine!