I’m unsure how to even start this. Just the thought of writing this brings me to tears. My son, Nolan, and I lost one of our most wonderful and loved family members recently. This is the story of Bailey the Beagle…may she run the green pastures of my farm for evermore.
Dogs are not dogs. Dogs are angels placed in our lives to remind us of our humanity, to insure that we are loved unconditionally, and to give us purpose other than ourselves.
The dogs in my life have never been dogs. They’re family members…daughters with gifts, best friends, and constant companions. They always went with me everywhere. If you saw me, you saw my four-legged daughter.
My former daughter, Lucy, lived a full and rich life and I did the most difficult and honorable thing I could do for her when she was no longer able to function and was in pain. I missed her horribly. In due time, I found my current daughter, Rockette, a Border Collie/Poodle cross and I adore her. She was a puppy when I got her (a breeding mistake from Texas) and I spent an inordinate amount of time and training with her.
At this time, Nolan and I were living in a cute, little house in downtown Clermont. It had a fenced in backyard with big, beautiful trees. Perfect for Rockette and for us. I had gone to Singapore and left Nolan in charge.
Nolan picked me up at the airport upon my return (26 hour flight). I opened the passenger door to the car and there was this brown thing in my seat. “What the heck is that?” I asked Nolan. “A dog”, he replied. “Yes, I can see it’s a dog, but why is it in my car and in my seat and where in the heck did it come from?” I asked a little exasperated as I’ve been in a plane for more than a day and was a little cranky. “I was walking down our street and this gypsey woman walked up to me and threw this dog at me and ran away”, he said. Words escaped me for about 5 seconds. “Gypsey woman on our street in downtown Clermont? Really? She threw this dog at you and ran away?” I said in disbelief still holding open the car door and looking at the brown thing. “Yes.” is all he said.
With a sigh, I told the brown thing to get out of my seat and got into the car. We named the brown thing, Rosie. And I told Nolan that I had a dog and that this one – Rosie- was going to be his dog and his responsibility. He said that’s exactly what he wanted and explained that each time he had a dog, the dog ended up liking me and not him. “That’s because I took care of the dog. Fed the dog. Walked the dog. Bathed the dog. De-fleaed the dog and on and on.” I said. “You want this dog to be your dog, you do all that.” I explained as only a mother can do. “Deal”, he said. Three days later Nolan was gone for a week working on a video project. Guess who took care of the dog? How many mothers out there have said those exact same words and had the exact same thing happen? Yeah, I thought so.
Except Rosie was different. Rosie was in love with Nolan. How did I know this? The day after he left, I opened the door to take Rosie to the fenced in backyard and she took off. Straight out ran as fast as she could away from me. I gave chase. She would just look over her shoulder at me and keep on going. Oh crap. She was gone. I got in the car and looked for her. Up and down the streets. No beagle dog. Nolan was going to think I lost her on purpose. He knew I wasn’t happy about this. No way was I going to live with that kind of guilt. I renewed my efforts and found said beagle tied to a chair in front of a little restaurant. I hopped out of the car, ran to the dog tied to the chair, untied her and then noticed two young girls looking at me like I was a monster. In a rush I said: “This is my son’s dog and if I don’t have her at home when he gets there, he’s going to be unbelievably upset with me”, and I took off with the dog. The next day I took said misbehaving beagle to the dog groomer to have it bathed (as she smelled awful). When I dropped her off I decided to go back to that little restaurant and see if I could find those two little girls and explain myself a little more coherently.
I walked into the restaurant, found the owner and told her about what had happened the day before. She laughed. The two little girls were her daughters and the dog belonged to a woman they knew here in town and they thought they were doing the woman a favor. I explained my side the of the story and she laughed even more. She gave me the name and phone number for the woman who had owned Bailey. “Bailey?” I said. “That’s her name”, explained the woman. So, I went home and called the woman and didn’t know what was going to happen. Would Nolan be mad at me or would he be happy Bailey was back with her owner? Here goes: “Hi, my name is “Sucker” (I didn’t say sucker, but I did think it) and I think I have your beagle dog, Bailey”, I said to the woman that answered the phone. “You can keep her”, is how the woman replied. “What?” I said in surprise. “That dog runs away all the time. I can’t keep her anymore she just won’t stay. I think she’s looking for the man that used to own her. He would take her everywhere…mostly bars…and she would sit with him at the bar and eat peanuts. She ate a ton of peanuts. Well, the man died and I got Bailey and I think she’s still looking for him”, the woman explained. “So, you take her and good luck,” she said as she finished the call.
I managed not to lose Bailey till Nolan got home. I told him what happened to Bailey (surprise – new name). He scooped Bailey into his lap and the two of them were bonded for life.
Travels with Bailey coming up in the next post…