I thought I would brighten everyone’s day by talking about the light of my life: my dog, Bailey. I’ve talked about him quite a bit, but never properly introduced him.
Bailey is a 9-year-old Border collie mix we adopted in summer of 2011. I was volunteering to walk dogs at a local animal shelter when I fell in love with him and begged my parents to get him. Our family dog at the time, a Pomeranian called Coco, was getting old and I couldn’t imagine living without a furry friend. I promised my parents I would do everything for Bailey: bathe him, feed him, walk him, clean up after him… the lot. They give me a hard time now for not doing everything, but they should know that I would have promised them the moon if it meant we could take Bailey home.
He was one at the time we adopted him, so he was quite big, but not fully grown. I remember thinking his paws seemed to big for his body, but he grew into them. He was really energetic and it truly took a village to break him in. My least favorite thing was “morning duty,” where we would have to let Bailey out whenever he started barking to go to the bathroom, clean up whatever was left in his cage overnight and take him for a walk all before leaving for school by 7:30AM. Similarly, “night duty” called for another walk, feeding and play time. We (myself, my brothers and my dad) took him to puppy training where he learned a lot, the most important being an emergency recall, which we’ve used often when he went bolting out the front door and “come” wasn’t quite enough.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Bailey become more obedient (or rather, fearful of my dad, who ruled with an iron fist) and required less attention. Although I like to think I’m his favorite, it’s almost certainly my mom as they spend the most time together. He’s an amazing companion to her and such a sweet, loving boy towards everyone.
Two especially weird, idiosyncratic things he does is sunbathing and he “gets it.” Whenever he stands by the back door, we always ask him in a playful voice, “Are you going it get it?! What’s out there?!” and other things to get him excited and when we open the door, he runs like a bat out of hell to the corner of our yard. We’re not sure what he thinks he’s “getting,” and I don’t think he knows either. Sunbathing seems to be quite common in domestic pets, but Bailey, a black dog, does it in the harsh Arizona summer sun. Not only that, if you try to move him, he’ll try to bite you. He’s very serious about getting his tan on.
Bailey is also especially funny because he’s so intelligent and sometimes has his way of outsmarting us. For example, just recently, my dad told me that as he and my mom were getting ready to leave, Bailey was barking like mad from inside the house, as he always does. My dad demanded he go to his crate. The barking stopped for a moment, then continued from further away… he was barking from inside his crate around the corner. Naughty, naughty.
Things Bailey loves
- Peanut butter: Of all his people food, I think peanut butter is one of his favorites. He used to go crazy for whipped cream (literally sprint into the kitchen and practically jump on the counter when he heard the can go), but for some reason, he’s grown out of it.
- Walks and car rides
- Swimming: As soon as he sees me in my swimsuit, he knows what’s about to happen. He spends more time running around the pool than actually swimming, but he always enters through the steps and swims to another step and splashes, barks and drinks the pool water (no matter how much I try to stop him).
- Being dried off: I have a theory that he goes swimming just so he can be dried off. As soon as he sees a towel, he gets excited and rubs himself all over it.
- The dog park
- His toys: Bailey is so spoiled. Every month, he gets a Bark Box with several new toys and he plays with them all. He rips the stuffing and squeakers out when he can and my dad thinks he’s been ingesting the stuffing as he’s been ill lately. His all-time favorite toy is probably a tug rope, but he’s recently taking a liking to a really loud stuffed squeaky toy and plastic wishbone.
Things Bailey hates
- Vacuum cleaners and hair dryers
- Being harassed when he’s eating or in his crate: I have actually been bitten by Bailey before. He was just begging and I reached down to give him a hug and he turned around and bit me. My brother Kyle has gotten away with a lot worse, so I’m not quite sure what I did to provoke him that much!
- My mom leaving
- The pool guy: For some reason, Bailey cannot stand the pool guy. I think the fact that he wears a hat and sunglasses make him look like a suspicious character. Bailey goes absolutely berserk every time he comes, barking the whole way through his visit and tearing up the house trying to get the best vantage point to watch him from.
And now, for the man himself:
Bailey is adorable, smart, sweet and fun and I miss him so much, but I know he is happy at home and getting the attention he needs.