I think one of the hardest things about divorce and betrayal is keeping the good memories, but not dwelling on the bad..it’s pretty tough. I just went back into my old picture files to find images of my dog Bailey.. this post is about my memories of her..if you love dogs this post will probably make you emotional. Going through the old images I had to relive very painful memories of my marriage and divorce. It’s so hard looking at the dog I loved and my children, but seeing images of my ex husband brought back pain and intense anger.. ( I am thinking again.. maybe I am changing my mind about thinking I could re-marry again..it seems like such a romance and passion killer ).. but here I go ..sorting out the good from the bad.
When I met my husband we fell in love;… probably too fast. He asked me to move into his cabin on the outskirts of town, right away.. I loved him .. I was happy to be with him. I asked him if we could get a puppy. Bailey picked us. As I went through the back gate of the neighbors farm.. this fat little tan lab-shepard pup waddled up to us.. as I copped a squat she bounded into my lap; she demanded our love and affection. That was that. She was our fur baby.. she slept with us for the first couple of weeks because she missed her mommy and siblings. I remember when she lost her first teeth.. just like a child. I would see her little teeth dangling out of her mouth, and find them in her food dish. I saved them, just like I do with my children now. Looking back now I can see how the relationship was doomed with my ex because I spent more time with my dog then him. Bailey was my running companion and she loved to help me garden.. by digging up what I just planted. Bailey was the one to comfort me when I cried.. more than he ever could..and it turned out he was the reason for most of my tears. But I don’t want to go too deeply into that .. I just want to remember her.
Just before Bailey was due to be fixed.. her appointment scheduled for just after Christmas… well.. as we were packing the truck to go to his parents for Christmas the dog right next door dug under the fence and gave Bailey a very merry Christmas. We got Bailey a morning-after-pill…but a few months later I noticed that Bailey wasn’t keeping up running beside me..and sure enough she was having puppies. Her puppies were beautiful.. I was a grandma at 25. The puppies and Bailey slept in our room.. every couple of hours we would hear the sounds of hungry babies and a nursing mother. It was a sweet and happy time. As the puppies got bigger and the weather got warmer we moved her and her pups outside. We sold all but one..we named him Bandit. Bandit and Bailey were hilarious together; she schooled him well as she payed very hard with him; they were both excellent running partners with me.. they could go the distance; they even carried their own water bottles as I attached them to their harnesses.
It wasn’t long before I was having babies of my own; and because Bailey had her own babies she was very protective and attentive of mine; she even taught her own son Bandit, if he became to excited or rough around my babies; she would snap at him to get him to calm down. Bailey would sit right on my feet when I nursed my babies.. when I would nurse my children outside in the yard she would act as if she was guarding us.. when I stood up to walk around the yard she would stay right beside us.. she was always watching out for our kids as they got older.
One day something horrible and tragic happened.. my then husband left the gate open; and Bandit rushed out after another dog. I was inside the house baking cupcakes for out daughters 3rd birthday. Even in the house, all the doors closed I heard the screeching of truck tires..and my husband yell his name ” BANDIT!” My blood ran cold. I rushed outside as he placed Bandit on the lawn; Bailey was beside him.. my ex said to me ” Come and say goodbye ” I called Bandit’s name.. he tried to stand up for me..as if to say ” don’t be sad Mom, I am OK” but his hips were shattered. As I came to sit beside him on the frozen ground, I saw the swelling on his head; I saw his hips twisted. I cried and stroked his soft black ears..and Bailey licked him.. my ex said ” I just turned around and he was gone.. I saw him flying through the air.” He was in shock as he begged me not to cry so loud. I then saw Bandit’s pupils blow out.. they expanded so large and black..and then he was gone. We buried him on our property. I bought and Angel statue holding a puppy to place on his grave.. and Bailey laid on his grave for weeks..
Bailey and Bandit used to sleep outside together in the shed but after he died I brought her into the house to sleep with us.. it took about 6 months for Bailey to be able to sleep outside on her own. I really believe that Bailey never stopped looking for him.. just like people do. I think she thought she could hear his bark now and then..and so did I. The grief was horrible.
But it brought my dog closer to me and the kids, as we were home most of the time. Bailey still helped me garden..and she dug up mice and chased skunks ..and scared marmots to hide under the shop. We went on long walks and hikes..and one day on a walk up a trail..along the side of a farmer’s field, Bailey became really excited about some wonderful musky smell. She practically dragged me right up to a huge grizzly bear! Bailey found her lovely smell.. it was 5 ft away from us up the top of the hill, when she found it. We both never ran so fast in our life!
In spite of my marriage problems she had a great life; I am a wonderful cook, and I have three kids that didn’t eat everything; she cleaned off a lot of plates and ate a lot of hotdogs that feel out of buns onto the grass. She loved Thanksgiving..she ate a ton of turkey skin and more than 3 day old leftovers..she loved to hover when the turkey was cooking.
She was 14 when my husband decided he didn’t want to be my husband anymore.. when he thought I was too fat and ugly from having babies; and he had an affair with a women who worked for our landscaping business.. she had a great body but an ugly face.. friends called her ( But-her-Face ) meaning everything hot but the face. He didn’t just turn his back on me and the kids.. he turned his back on Bailey too.. proving dogs are family.. but when he left even in her old age she consoled me. She slept in my room, sometimes in the bed ..I cried into her fur..she was a witness to my grief..the real ugly, harsh grief that I couldn’t put onto my children.. Bailey grieved too..she missed him and she didn’t understand how or why he would go either.. A year passed..and he didn’t come back.. Bailey aged a lot.. She couldn’t see past 5 ft in front of her..she couldn’t hear well and she was getting lost on the property. Then her eating dropped off dramatically..she was almost eating nothing. I knew it was time.
I scheduled the appointment with the vet to have her put down. My ex showed up, our girls who were 6 and 8 were in school, but our one year old son was with us..but he was really too young to know what was going on. The female vet and her pretty young assistant prepared Bailey on the table.. they injected her with the first needle to relax her.. but my ex wouldn’t stop texting his girlfriend..his phone kept going off.. the vet actually had to ask him to turn off his phone. He then started to flirt with the pretty assistant..He eventually left the room, using our son as an excuse. They were flabbergasted and disgusted with him. After I explained how he was going through a midlife crisis; me and the other women comforted each other and Bailey.. The vet said ” Are you ready for me to give her the needle that will put her down.” I knew it was mercy as I said ” yes” The needle filled with some of Bailey’s blood as it back-washed some..but she drifted off..and way from me.. they then left me alone with her body. I stroked her ears..I inhaled her scent for one last time.. I stayed with her until her body stared to cool..and I felt her spirit comfort me as I cried and wept.. still talking out loud to her.
I left to get my son from my ex in the parking lot.. we went to the florist to purchase white daisies and babies breath.. I picked up my girls from school..we went home and we decorated Bailey’s dog house with flowers.. They froze in February.. we moved out of the marital home that month..
It was the end of innocence.