Yesterday I lost my dog and best friend, Bailey Marie. My parents called 9 days prior while I was in Europe to tell me she had developed a red blood cell disease that came on very suddenly and they anticipated she would not last 24 hours. I panicked. Dragan and I had a trip planned to come to the USA only 2 days later, but to move our trip and our stop in DC would be very expensive. She received a blood transfusion and the next day we had good news that her blood count had gone up to 32 from 8, and that she should make it a few more days and they were hopeful she would pull through…()..but she would never fully recover and certainly could never again fly. This broke my heart as I moved to Europe in October last year and after taking a little time to settle in and travel, we had planned to bring Bailey home in September. I am so fortunate that during that time she was at my parents’ house because it feels like a second home and she was happy here and they loved her as I did…..not only as a dog, but as family. That being said, I had a hard enough time leaving her behind even for a short period, and to come to terms with that……..
I’m lucky because even though I moved, I spent over 3 of the past 9 months AT here at the home of my parents and when I was here…….Bailey had my full attention…….I would spend days with her……walking, snuggling, watching movies, taking her in the car……..you name it…….whereas in NYC she was often alone. You get it, I’m sure.
Well, after the first transfusion, she went down hill and the second transfusion only got her blood count to 22…..below the number needed to go home fully. We kept her on IV during the day, but starting Saturday the vet let us bring her home in the evenings. Her decline was evident and awful to watch. She couldn’t walk more than a few steps and by Sunday her BC was down to 18………Sunday night was even worse. She stopped eating on Thursday so she was weak and her liver wasn’t functioning so she became very yellow. I just lay with her and sang her songs and told her how much I loved her.
By Monday she wasn’t breathing well and her blood count was below 15 and the vet said another transfusion would most likely kill her. So we spent the day with her and I didn’t think she would make the night. By Tuesday morning it felt like her decline was making her uncomfortable so at 11am we all went with her to the vet and they helped her pass away peacefully in my arms.
I wanted to scream. I still do.
When you have a dog……you love them like family. Bailey always had a special place in my heart…..but when I took her with me to NYC, she became so much more, and I wanted to share what she did for me. I think when you don’t have children, your pets ARE your children………there is no perspective of the human child that comes first………the pet is your primary object of care and attention. Even more so when you are single and living alone.
In my case……even more so when moving to a huge city alone.
When I moved to NYC I was separated and getting a divorce. The dog I had shared with someone was now my own. I was broken-hearted but excited to be in this new place…..and I do think she suffered at first. Learning to survive there……..I left her alone too much and was often stressed and sad and crying. I think she knew though……bc she became a better dog. She obeyed me better b|c I believe she thought I needed it. 9 months later……….my dad suffered a massive heart attack and we thought he was going to die. He recovered after 2 weeks and we went back home. 3 weeks later……..my brother Ryan died suddenly in his sleep.
I won’t go on about that grief too much, b|c this is about Bailey. It was a tragic time and will always be a tragic and horrific loss for all of us.
But Bailey……..she became so much more than a dog for me. Those 10 months ate me up and I felt I would collapse under my grief. And……..I was alone. I was terrified to sleep…..terrified to do anything……..and beyond that, I felt my heart was going to close up. I wanted to put it in a box and never give it away. My heart was too heavy.
But Bailey…….she just was there. And not only that…..but she was so perfect and lovely and loved me so thoroughly that I poured my heart into her. It was safe and it was what, I believe, God gave me to see me through my darkness. In a dark day, I had to still take my girl out……I couldn’t sit. I had to take her and she would jump and chase squirrels and before I knew it, I would laugh and I would see the world in its glory. She gave that to me and I loved her more for it.
These past few years, I would date guys and I would have my heart “broken” again in the romantic love sense…….and everytime I could come home and she would love me………kiss away my tears……..put a hand on my leg…….look into my eyes…………and remind me not to close my heart from the world for the world keeps going and so does life. She needed me to get through it and she wanted me to be happy and I had to care for her. That care kept my life going and it kept my life balanced. I never partied too much or stayed out too late. She was my priority.
When I met Dragan and decided to move to Europe……I’m convinced I broke her heart, but I never went more than 2 months without coming back to spend time with her. My parents sent me photos everyday and she was happy here too as she was never alone. I would like to believe she understood I was going to come back for her and that I needed, as a human, to make the leap into a real relationship. I would like to believe that. When she got sick and the Vet didn’t think she would make it…….I have to believe she knew I was coming and that she waited for me. Even when she looked at me that last day, I knew she didn’t want to leave but that her body was just too worn out. I have to believe that without Bailey, my heart would not have been open enough to meet and fall in love with Dragan……..and that without Dragan…….my heart would not be able to cope with the loss of my dear sweet companion and friend…….Bailey.
I will always always cherish my 10 years with that angel who was sent to provide love and hope for my life in its darkest moments yet……………who provided me with laughter and joy with her antics………who knew just how to pose for a camera shot like me……….who traveled all over the USA with me in cars and planes and never misbehaved as she was so happy to go along just to be by my side………and who touched all the lives who encountered hers with her sweet spirit.
To my Bailey who takes a piece of my heart with her and who changed my life for good.