When we got Bailey she was a few weeks old with her black and white-peppered sister, Lucy. Immediately there would be favoritism, with Lucy being the pretty, dainty sister, and Bailey being the too-loud, attention-seeking sister. That isn't to say Lucy wasn't ridiculously stubborn, she was just quieter about it and had everyone fooled who didn't live with her or visit frequently.
Bailey was intended for a close friend, Donita, who had paid her share for the dog, and my mother had agreed to pick both up while on her way to retrieve Lucy.
The dogs wrestled and tumbled the way puppies do, but Mom and I were glad to have a quieter house when Donita came for her. The quiet would soon be rectified with the two cats we would get, Calliope and Cricket, but that's another story.
Fast forward many months or a year, I don't remember, and Donita had obtained a house where her grown daughters and many grandchildren would eventually reside through long and winding circumstances. While Donita was kind and giving to her friends, she wasn't a disciplinarian to children. This was something of which Mom and I were aware, but the fact became pronounced when we visited Donita's new house. We witnessed Donita's oldest grandchild of the youngest daughter, hitting his two-year-old brother with plastic toys without reprimand.
Little, pale-black Levi screaming in terror of his bulky, white older brother wasn't something we could help in a single visit. But, the seven-year-old daughter of one of Donita's other daughters screaming and kicking at Bailey was. Bailey had been caged in the same black wire crate she was placed in when she had been nearly a newborn. Donita had also been denying food, giving her three cups of dog food a day and no more. Bailey was not visibly malnourished, but she was still due to grow and Donita showed no indication of caring that her grandchildren were abusing the sweet-natured dog who couldn't, and wouldn't fight back.
Mom demanded Bailey be returned. Donita was not pleased with this breach in friendship, but admitted she had no time or patience to care for a dog. We retrieved the dog soon after what would be my last visit to Donita's home.
When Bailey entered our household again, she was a mess.
She cowered and was very aware of where our hands were at any given moment. Any sudden movements would prompt her to run under the coffee table or roll onto her back. She would whimper and scream if we pulled at her collar with any amount of force to put her outside. She jumped at sudden noises and especially any raise in voice, no matter how loud. For a short while she would pee if frightened enough, although she quickly learned to control herself.
Her aggression was taken out on Lucy. Once she had free-range of food she consumed and consumed and consumed, refusing to allow Lucy to eat regardless if Bailey had been eating at the time or not.
We guarded Lucy to allow her to eat. Bailey learned that when we were in the room she had to allow Lucy to eat, or get a smack to the nose.
Lucy, who had never had such an opponent for the food bowl didn't know what to do. She rarely fought back with force, and lost a lot of weight the first weeks of Bailey's return. Lucy had always been much smaller than Bailey, who was wide-shouldered with a large rib-cage. Even without a proper diet, Bailey could use her weight to dog-handle Lucy anywhere she wanted.
During their play-fights, Bailey started getting more violent as she gained strength. When we discovered Lucy's ears were bleeding from being chewed, we separated the dogs from their large, shared crate and started monitoring their wrestling.
Things got better.
Although Bailey would flinch for the rest of her life, she stopped hurting Lucy purposely, and Lucy learned to assert herself. Bailey learned to share the food bowl. She never quite learned how to share cuddle space with either me, Mom and Lucy, and the couch would become a war zone if we tried to pet only one dog.
Between two young cats, two young dogs, and a period where we fostered a third cat, the house became a little too lively for my aging mother. I was away at college and wasn't home to help, and we had saved Bailey with the intention of finding her a proper home.
Bailey would be given away to the coworkers of my mother, who had a small daughter.
This ended being the best thing for Bailey.
The marriage ended in flames and spite, but for the period Bailey was the sole pet of the daughter, she was properly trained and put on a proper diet (She had grown very fat). Sometimes we would dog-sit when the family went on vacation. Bailey and Lucy would play in an easy-going way that allowed us to leave them in each other's company.
Despite initial worry that Bailey would harbor animosity toward small children, the daughter and Bailey loved each other deeply and would be the best of friends. It broke my mother's heart when the eventually-divorced couple agreed to return Bailey so there wasn't any fighting over the poor dog. The girl was devastated. There was nothing we could do.
For the first few weeks Bailey was clearly waiting for her old family, but as months passed she re-settled into our home. By then, the cats had long run away, never to be heard from again, and Lucy and Bailey became fat, lazy dogs as the years passed.
Last year, 2014, while I was away in the military, Lucy became very ill. She had been given a heart worm medicine that caused kidney failure. The Dr. Brester at Bean Blossom Animal Clinic hadn't a single clue. By the time Mom realized the cause, Lucy was in the final stages of kidney failure and there was no hope to save her. Everyone mourned Lucy, the pretty, sweet-natured dog who had always been the favorite. Bailey also mourned, but helped Mom get through the worst of heartache by being the happy puppy she'd always been.
This year, 2015, Mom became concerned when Bailey began eating less and less (As noted, she had always been a healthy eater and this was very concerning). Dr. Brester said Bailey had cancer of the mouth, was likely the long-term cause of Bailey's horrible breath and was probably causing her pain to chew hard food. Lab tests would have to be done to be 100% sure, but Dr. Brester is very knowledgeable and experienced, and he said he had seen Bailey's ailment before.
Bailey initially seemed mostly fine, but mere weeks after her diagnoses, she began eating even less, losing weight rapidly. She could eat soft food and happily accepted eggs until her final days. She couldn't keep the food down and began vomiting frequently, only drinking little sips of water. She began trembling in pain, unwilling to move very much except for short walks to use the bathroom before she became exhausted and collapsed.
When we took her back to Dr. Brester, Mom said she didn't want Bailey to suffer the way Lucy had, and we had Bailey put down. We held her and whispered to her in her final moments, and I hope that she understood we didn't want her to be scared and that we loved her.