Here’s to you, Bailey

Sean Hastings, Columnists

Without question, putting down my dog who I owned for 14 and a half years was one of the toughest things I had to deal with.

The thing that made it so tough was that I was here at Eastern, unable to go home. I wanted to be there for my dog, Bailey, but everything happened too quickly.

People will occasionally talk about their earliest memory. Sometimes they will say some massive world news thing was the first memory they have.

For me, it was the day I bought my dog Bailey. Bailey was a rescue dog, and we never knew exactly what kind of dog she was. We always called her a Swiss Mountain Dog. It was what looked closest.

Back to the day that my family bought her. Since she was a dog from a shelter, there were a few “rules” that had to be followed. One of those rules was that everyone in the household had to be a certain age.

The problem there was that my twin sisters Tara and Erin were still babies, well below whatever the age limit was to get Bailey.

My brother Ryan, my mom and I went to the shelter and were immediately set on Bailey. I don’t know if it is because she is the one that we ended up deciding to give a life to or what, but she is the only dog I remember seeing that day.

My mom told Ryan and I one thing before we walked into the shelter to bring Bailey home.

“Do not talk about your sisters. We’re not going to lie that you don’t have sisters, we’re just not going to talk about them.”

First question of the little interview put Ryan and I to the test.

“Is everyone in the household (we’ll say 5 years of age)?”

Test failed.

“What about Tara and Erin?”

I guess we were not the sharpest tools in the shed at 7 years old and 5 years old.

Our inability to follow a simple direction forced my mom to do something she did not want to do. Lie.

“Those are their cousins that come over once and a while to play,” knowing damn well that my tiny 3-year old sisters were in their little swing sets in the living room awaiting the arrival of the new puppy.

Like I said, this day is clear as day and the first visit we had to pick out Bailey. She had a broken leg, so she got that fixed and we were back a few days later to take her home.

Fourteen years of my life I had the greatest dog by my side. The day we bought her, I remember my sister’s babysitter was over and we all helped name her Bailey.

To this day I remember the memories of her on her first day of having a real life, a real home, a real family and plenty of room to run around.

To talk about every memory I have with my dog, I would need the entire newspaper to get it all out.

My family bought another dog about five or six years ago for Bailey to have a friend: Bella. Bella is all of five pounds, while Bailey grew into a 70-pound guard dog for my family, with Bella thinking she was at that level.

It was weird going home for Thanksgiving break and not  having Bailey greet me at the door. First thing I noticed was the effect it had on Bella, too.

To this day and all the days after Bailey left, the talk comes up of, “are we getting a new dog?” None of me wanted to do that. I did not want to replace Bailey.

But my friend Dwight told me this. “Don’t think of it as replacing Bailey, think of it as giving another dog a chance at having as good a life as your family gave Bailey.”

Fourteen years later, I think my family would agree, that is the best $60 we ever spent. Her breed goes for $1,500 to $2,000, but she was worth far more than that.

RIP, Bailey girl.