A Bond Beyond Life
by Gina Dial
A smiling Bailey
Bailey was a ball of fur I found one day on the side of the road. There was a man in a van chasing him, and I naturally thought I will stop my car to get out and help him catch his dog. When I opened my car door, Bailey jumped in and held onto me, whining and crying, and the man came over and closed my door saying, "Well, I guess he likes you better." So, I returned home with the little fur ball, gave him food and water, and removed the fleas and ticks as best I could. My 3 year old Lab Murphy (an only pup) was fascinated by this new playmate. I called the Vet and made an appointment for him the next day - that's when I found out he was a 6 month old purebred Australian Shepherd. He was severely underweight, and had a deep chain burn around his neck. We fixed him up and he and Murphy became fast friends for the next 13 years.
Murphy, at age 15 was failing daily. We still took our walks each day, but sometimes Murphy would flop down and couldn't get up. Bailey would stay with him until I came to get him, and we would return home. Murphy had a seizure one day, and looked up at me with pleading eyes saying, "Please, please make this stop." So, we decided to euthanize Murphy in one week's time, digging his grave and letting him pretty much do whatever he wanted. Bailey was very quiet during Murphy's last days, and finally, when Murphy was gone - Bailey became depressed.
We had brought in a Lab puppy a few years prior to Murphy leaving, so Bailey did have a companion, but Murphy was his constant friend (by the way, little Bailey was the dominant one, over the much larger Lab).
A few months later, Bailey stopped eating. I tried everything but he just wouldn't eat. I discovered a tumor in his mouth that ran along the gum line and immediately made an appointment for him. We decided to clean his teeth and take a biopsy of the tumor, when the Vet noticed from the blood screen that his kidneys levels were a bit high. We did the surgery, the tumor was benign, but 10 days later he went into stage 4 kidney failure. I was devastated - this was my heart dog, how could I make the decision to put him down?
Well, he grew sicker, lost more weight, and began to give me signs - things he never did before like coming into the bedroom and lying quietly beside me. I knew we had to do this, so I dug his grave beside Murphy's and planned the appointment. It was a sad, sad day - but I must say his last breath was a great big sigh... of relief I imagine, no more pain.
Bailey was in the ground a few days and our remaining Lab Connor was depressed - there used to be 3 dogs and now it was only him. I can't imagine what he was thinking. So, I put out a few feelers with shelters and rescues, looking for another Aussie. One day a gal called and said, I have a deaf Aussie/Border Collie mix, would I like to meet him? I said yes, I will come by and take a look - she said, no I will bring him to you.
So, a blue van drove up with this beautiful white dog in the passenger seat. She opened the door and he flew out of the car in a flash and was checking out the fenced yard. Meanwhile the Lab was going crazy in the house, so the gal said, "Let him out." Well, okay in my grief and the heat of the moment, I let Connor out. They growled at each other, a horrible sound, and I let them both into the house separating them with a baby gate. With Connor in the kitchen, and the white dog in the laundry room, they laid facing each other growling and snarling.
When I looked up, the gal began unloading her car with the white dog's (who I named Riley) stuff, bed, toys, food, etc. I said "Wait, I thought he was coming for a visit!", and she said "Keep him a few days and let me know how it goes....". And then she left.
When my husband got home, Riley began snarling and growling... and snapping at him too. I thought what have I gotten us into?
I was going on a business trip, so I called a great gal who works as a trainer and asked her to work with Riley, and we would keep him there at the facility while I was gone. I told Jenny that I'd like her to teach Riley obedience with sign language so we could communicate. When I got back and picked Riley up - he was a totally different dog - Jenny said it was because he could finally communicate, and he was much more comfortable. When I brought him home - no more growling and snarling, he and Connor hit it off and he didn't growl at my husband anymore either.
I am telling this story about Riley because I think that Bailey sent this dog to me - he knew I was going to be so upset that he was gone so he sent a special needs dog to take up all the attention I have, so I would stop grieving for him.
Fast-forward 11 mos. I was still grieving for Bailey as it was coming up on the 1 year anniversary of his passing (which happened to be the Christmas holidays). I was having a lunch for friends, all of whom are related to rescuing animals. I was very careful with Riley, as this was his home turf and these 12 strangers to him might threaten him. Well, he did fine until one of the guests decided he was going to play ball with Riley. Riley has a favorite ball that he carries around like a pacifier... and he might drop it, but it's not a good idea to try to take it from him. My guest, tried to take the ball from Riley and yep, he got nipped on the knuckle. Nothing a band aid couldn't handle, but I was mortified! I removed Riley from the group and put him outside with Connor. Then we decided to walk down to the grave sites of the horses, cats and dogs - and as we filed out of the gate into the pasture, Riley came up beside that same guest and nipped him on the leg. Again, I was horrified!
After that experience with Riley, I spoke with many trainers about what had happened - they all agreed it was not unusual as Riley was resource guarding, and overly agitated because this was too many people for him to deal with in what he now believed was his home.
Here is the point to the entire story - I spoke with a friend of mine, Brent Atwater who has written many books on pet reincarnation. I told her this very same story and she said, "Of course, Bailey sent you Riley to help with your grief and when Riley caused a commotion at the luncheon that was Bailey kicking you in the butt, saying cut it out, stop grieving for me, I am fine. Take care of this new dog and he will love you just as much."
And so, my wonderful beloved Bailey - still taking care of me!
*Just a note: The gal who dropped Riley off and left him with me? I found out later that she is a minister. I'm thinking that Bailey may have been on her wave length and she was the messenger, what do you think?