There are no words to describe just how much I miss you my sweet girl. I’ve been trying for months now to write this but nothing seems to do this grief justice. I think of you every day since your body decided it was time for you to go. For almost twelve years you and Molly were the one constant in my daily routine and I’m still trying to find a way to make the world to stop spinning out of control since you’ve gone. Of course, as with any death, I’ve had to find a way to continue on without you but life will never be the same. Our home is a little less comfortable now; a little less of a safe place for me. Not in the traditional sense of the word “safe” but in the emotional sense.
Becoming a parent was something I always wanted and absolutely love but it’s a constant struggle; a constant source of stress. Am I making the right choices for Kylie; am I helping her to become the kind of person that can handle the world that she is growing up in; or am I just completely screwing everything up and she’s going to end up with a terrible life because of something I’ve chosen to do now? I never had those worries with you. I could just love you and I always knew that I was making the best choices that I could for you with the resources I had and I could see that you were thriving and happy. You were always my happy girl despite the health problems you faced. Being a dog mommy was so much easier and I needed you girls to help keep life in balance. Every night I would just look at you two and, while I was questioning everything about how the rest of the day had gone, I could just give you both hugs and kisses and know that I had at least done one thing right that day. I had loved my girls and they loved me back without question.
I have felt you both around me so much lately. I was dreading Christmas because I have been feeling guilty about not spending last Christmas with you. I never dreamed that I would lose both of you in the same year. But, since we had volunteered to dog-sit over the winter break, we faced spending the holidays without the distraction of family to help me through missing you. I have to say though, and people can call me crazy if they want to, I know that you had a hand in arranging it all. Each of the three dogs that we hosted in our home seemed to act as a messenger for the two of you at different times. When I would start to feel sad and missing you either Roo would poke her head into the shower like Rudy & Molly used to do, Saffie would nudge my like Molly always did or Jax would come lay on my feet or beg for cuddles like you always did. They didn’t do it all the time, just when I was thinking of you and missing you. It felt like maybe you were using them to let me know that you were still here; like you were saying “hello”. It has helped me so much.
I remember the day I brought you home. You were such a pudgy little thing. You wouldn’t let anyone hold without crying until a friend of mine put you inside his jacket and got you all cozy and sleepy. Then you got to spend the rest of the day at work with me being held and passed around from person to person. After that day, you insisted that I carry you everywhere like a baby on my hip until you were too big for me to do so. Then, you still tried to get me to pick you up every chance you got. You also had a habit of eating rocks in those early days and we spent several afternoons at the vet having x-rays taken to make sure that they were small enough for you to pass. One such afternoon I remember taking you into the local post office. Everyone was amazed at how you just sat there on my hip like a toddler. You loved everyone and were very gracious as they all petted you and told you how beautiful you were with your dark chocolate fur and blonde brindle markings. You were my spoiled rotten girl and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Your new sister wasn’t sure she wanted to give up being an only dog but she loved you so much. She wanted you to know that she was the boss and that made you cling to me a bit more. She would also play tricks on you like closing the door to your crate and making you think you couldn’t get out, hiding and then tackling you every time you tried to explore the yard, and barking to distract you from your chew toy so that she could steal it. Watching the two of you grow up together was so much fun. You were both good travelers and we enjoyed many years of traveling to the Outer Banks of NC to spend vacations running on the beach (your favorite place to poop). You always enjoyed chasing the seagulls and other birds on the beach as well as stealing the soccer ball from Molly and running back to us with it. She always looked so frustrated and you were so happy with that big goofy smile on your face when you would drop it and circle around us to take off after it again.
There are so many memories of your happy face that I am so grateful for. Since Molly was the alpha, you didn’t get many chances to play the tough role and be in charge with her. However, when you figured out that the calves would run from you, I remember how happy that made you. You would run along the fence line barking your head off and then come running back to me like, “Did you see that Momma? They are all scared of me! I’m tough!” All with that goofy grin. Then, in the winter, you would sneak under the electric fence to bring frozen cow patties back for you and Molly to snack on. You were so silly. You were always my protector. I belonged to you and there was no question about it. When we would take you on hikes, that was the only time Molly would let you lead. You would charge ahead into the woods and get just out of sight. Then you would circle back to the end of the line and make sure I was still hanging in there with everyone. You would touch me with your nose and then run back to the front again. There was also swimming at the river which, besides the beach, was your absolute favorite thing. While Molly would struggle and fight against the current, you would just puff your body out and float lazily around; occasionally using your tail as a rudder and a paw or two to turn back to us. Sometimes you would scare me by going so far away from us before coming back but it just seemed so effortless for you. You were a born water dog.
As you got older and started having surgeries for different things, you and I spent even more time hanging out together. You were always most comfortable when you could be resting your head on me. We spent months sleeping on the floor in the living room because you couldn’t climb the stairs and I couldn’t stand the thought of you being alone. And, there was always “couch time” where we would watch our shows and snooze together on Sunday afternoons. Then, in those last days, we spent many nights side by side on the floor while I kept my hand on your side to make sure you were still with me.
I miss running my fingers through your soft fur and hearing your big sighs. I miss you sniffing my mouth to see what I had been eating. I miss you getting up from wherever you were laying and coming to lean on me as soon as I sat down. I miss our connection. I just miss you Bailey so much.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl. You will always be in my heart.
Bailey Arianne Clemons-Haga (January 17, 2005 – October 3, 2016)