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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bailey Christopher- In Memory December 1998-December 2011

Bailey Christoper
      I adopted Bailey in January 1999, when he was one year old.  I was going through a very rough patch personally and I really wanted some company.  He was my first dog and I had NO IDEA what I was doing.  He was a terror.  He didn't listen.  He bit.  He had so many accidents in the house.  It took me a few years to get things under control, but just barely;) 
      Bailey loved being around people and in the past few years he has been a constant shadow for Scott and I.  He would follow me up and down the stairs as I did chores-even when I would tell him I would be right back.  He would sit on the bathmat as I took a shower in the morning.  He "supervised" all of Scott's projects-making sure everything was under control.  He slept in our bed-oftentimes between us like the middle line in a "H."  We often commented on how it was odd that such a small dog could take up so much room in a king sized bed.  He would sit on the couch with us.  He would yodel when he wanted fed-and we would respond like the well trained pet parents we are.  He didn't play fetch-he did wear argyle sweaters.  He was much more like a cat.
      I loved him so very much and in the last 4 years he came to fill a huge roll in Scott's life too.  We joke that if I hadn't learned patience and tolerance from grumpy Bailey that I might never have fallen in love with cranky Scott. Scott even used Bailey to propose to me, in a small dog tuxedo-one of my favorite memories.    Scott and he were so much alike.    They would cuddle on the couch-and Bailey quickly trained Scott to do his bidding.  It took Scott a couple of years to realize that he was catering to the shih tzu.
      Bailey and Molly were part of our engagement photos.  We obviously love our dogs and consider them part of the family.  When Bailey passed away Sunday morning it was like losing a family member-a child almost.  It's a huge hole and the house seems very lonely and sad.  I know it will get easier...and this pain pails in comparison to the YEARS of joy that Bailey gave me and Scott too.  It was worth it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sometimes a bigger heart ISN'T better

Bailey just turned 13.  For a dog his size this is senior status but not the end of the road.  He has plenty of life in him but some of his internal systems are starting to need support.  He has kidney problems and has to eat special-CRAY EXPENSIVE- food.  He goes to the vet every 6 months, sometimes more.  One issue is his heart.  He has a murmur now and we did an exray a year and a half ago to get a baseline.    I have a list of issues to "watch" for that could show a progression.  One is coughing.  Last night we had ALLOT of coughing.  It was scary and upsetting and landed us both at the vet early this morning.  Another xray showed his heart had grown and was possible pressing on his trachea-causing the coughing.  The dr said this was considered slow progression and put him on some new meds.  Basically he now gets blood pressure medicine.  That's how he rolls.  The vet gave me a short list of side effects to watch for with the new meds and one made me laugh out loud-DEPRESSION.  A 13 yr old shih tzu comes across as "depressed" on his best days.  I brainstormed with a friend on signs to watch for.  Feel free to comment and share more:
1.  If Bailey starts wearing black (granted I control his wardrobe)
2.  If he stops contacting his canine cohorts
3.  Unusual piercings
4.  He stops talking
5.  Starts pawing morose poems...a shih tzu manifesto if you will
6.  If I come home and he is watching that awful ASPCA commercial over and over

In all seriousness-he will be fine.   I knew he would likely need these meds eventually.  He is too grumpy to be done yet;)