A woman in Story City was selling her Yorkie (I can never understand how some people regard pets as disposable). By the time I went up to meet the dog she had already sold it to someone else (even though she knew I was coming up). I guess she couldn't wait to get rid of the dog.
I found Bailey in Boone in a home that had a lot of Yorkies. I would not describe it as a Puppy Mill per se because the dogs lived all over their home with them. Not in Kennels but running and climbing all over them. One of the dogs and I bonded and after checking me out they let me purchase him. This began my time with my best friend.
First he had to have a name. For some reason the name Bailey popped into my mind. Also Gizmo because he looked a little like Gizmo from the movie Gremlin. Because I have Irish in my background I put the three together and named him Bailey's Irish Gizmo or B.I.G. Later I realized that the guy who owned the Yorkie I first met had the last name Bailey. It seemed appropriate.
Bailey was a lot of fun to live with. He was always chipper and bright and he loved to play. He somehow got so that he would push a soccer ball around. Always had to have something in his mouth when he did so. Sometimes it was a plush toy, once he came out with an empty pop can. The plush banana was the funniest. He would chase after the ball which was bigger than he was get behind it and then push it down the hall at "ninety miles a minute" till he got it back to me. If someone else was here he always took turns, taking it first to one and then to another.
He would sleep with me at night and I had steps so he could climb into and out of the bed. Lots of times he would join me on the recliner, resting between my legs leaning against the right leg. It was comforting to have him.
When I first got him I kept him in a kennel during the day but eventually he got the "run of the house" - From then on I told people that it was Bailey's house and I just lived here to take care of him.
The past several years he did less and less of the playing and more sleeping. He would circle around and find a spot and sleep for hours. Not so much playing but he would still let me pick him up and hold him and scratch behind his ears. Eventually he lost a lot (if not all) of his eyesight and would not be able to find his way back after being let outside. So we had puppy pads (which he sometimes missed) and I watched him occasionally having to look to see if he was still breathing.
I almost lost him earlier this year. He was not eating and dehydrated. Also he had an infection in his eyes. Thus began the drops in the eyes (which he did not like but put up with) and the artificial tears. I also changed his food and would hold him and his dish while he snarfed his food down. His appetite was good and we had good times twice a day while he ate. If I didn't hold him he would wander away and not be able to find his dish again. No matter that was what I was there for.
Last Tuesday I woke up in the night and picked him up and held him for several hours. He liked my warmth and would snuggle and sleep on me. Eventually he wanted down and I let him down and dozed off. He woke me up with his legs going as if he was running or trying to get up. I went over and noticed foam coming out of him mouth..He was having some sort of a seizure. I called my vet who lives right up the street and she came down and we decided that he need not suffer and so she "did the last thing you can do for a pet" to make sure that they do not have to suffer. He went peacefully in my arms and it was over.
Except it is not over. I still look around to see where he is sleeping when I get up from my chair. I still think about finding him to pick him up for nap time and some hugs. I still remember the kisses and the joy he gave me and I always will. There is a piece by Thomas Wolfe that I found that helps me when I think about dying...Now I think about it when I think of Bailey.
"Something has spoken to me in the night,Burning the tapers of the waning year;Something has spoken in the night,And told me I shall die, I know not where.
Saying:"To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing;To lose the life you have, for greater life;To leave the friends you loved, for greater loving;To find a land more kind than home, more larger than earth-
"Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded,Toward which the conscience of the world is tending-A wind is rising, and the rivers flow."
You Can't Go Home Again
I have not lost Bailey, He has gone to be One with the Universe to where I shall someday join him and we shall play and love each other again. A wind is rising and the rivers are flowing.