Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bailey

Photo: Bailey he is 18yrs old.
Bailey

I was suffering a temporary season of losing my mind around the time I turned 19 and I had moved to Athens so I could date a boy my parents didn’t approve of and live a life my parents wouldn’t support. I moved in with a friend who was in school and shortly after, I had a fantastic job at the Athens Chamber of Commerce as Director of Operations. When I accepted this position I decided to move in to my own apartment by myself. I was living alone and was lonely. This was the very first time I had ever lived by myself. By this point though, I was back living a good life, had my parents support, and my temporary moment of insanity had passed.

Yet right before I started living by myself, I went to the Humane Society. I was looking for a friend. There I found a full blooded Shi Tzu. Before I even went to the shelter, I had his name “Bailey.” I knew I wanted a boy dog and when our eyes met, I had found my friend. He was four years old, dirty, squirmish, and perfect!
Like I said before, my season of temporary loss of my mind didn’t last that long and after encouragement of my sweet aunt and friend, Mary, I found my way home to Cartersville. My parents and I never talk about this season. It has always been as if I never lost my mind. If I start to ever bring it up my parents just say “don’t go there”. As a parent myself, I imagine that hurt I caused them still runs deep. Yet, when I came home so did my friend, Bailey. He was full of spunk and would pee anytime anyone came near him especially my Papa. I believe in his former life he had been abused. He was fun though. He sat at my feet and followed me everywhere I went. I loved this little bundle of fur.  

When Carson and I married, I brought Bailey with me there too. Shortly after our “I do” Carson made me get rid of the dog. Instead of having to find him a new home, my parents wanted Bailey. Mom and Dad learned last year that his last days were upon us. The call came that we would lose him and that I needed to prepare for that. My mom said his kidneys were failing him. I started sobbing.

I remember vividly those feelings when I looked into his eyes as he sat in a cage at the Athens Clarke County Humane Society. He became part of me. No, I haven’t lived with Bailey in quite some time. Nonetheless, he is extremely special to me. He was there for me when I was living my own struggle. Whether we talk about it or not, Bailey came into my life at a time I needed someone. I needed a reason to press forward and as I lived alone Bailey was that reason. He loved me when I felt pretty unlovable.  
I prayed that my parents wouldn’t have to make the difficult decision of putting him to sleep. I prayed God would just call Bailey home. And He did, about two weeks ago on a Monday night. We were on the campaign trail and Bailey was alone for the first time in days. He went running through those pearly gates. I’m not sure if animals go to Heaven but I’m going to believe they do. There’s no harm in that.

The process is hard. I’ve never lost an animal that meant so much. That saw me through so much. But Bailey is now RUNNING. Probably at the feet of my Papa. The next couple of months will be difficult for my parents but I know God will grant them peace and comfort.
I told them both as we prepared for his funeral, “thanks.” They opened up their home to him when he needed a place to go. Financially, they were able to care for him while he was so sick which is something I couldn’t have done. They loved him when I wasn’t able to. Yet, in those last days they knew I would hurt to and gave me the opportunity to say “goodbye” and to be there when they buried him.

The last time I saw Bailey, I told him to go. I just didn’t realize how sad it would be.

R.I.P Bailey Boy. I’ll see you one day, we can run, and play fetch.