01 August 2009

Long Live the Queen

Bailey 1993-2009

In the spring of 1994, Mrs. OctaneBoy went to a pet adoption event knowing that there would be a second-hand Golden Retriever needing a home. Believing that she (and no other) would provide the best home and life for that dog, she pretty much muscled the dog away from all others who also showed interest. She took the dog home, christened her Bailey, survived the puppy years, used her to snare a man (lucky for me) and, together, we watched Bailey mature into the matriarch of the pack.

In her prime, she was a lightning bolt; incredibly fast for her breed. For many years, nothing was more fun than making squirrels run for their lives. Bailey wasn't much of a swimmer, but she loved being wet and dirty like any proper sporting dog. She was a great camper, always welcoming to visitors and was happiest when she could relax in the back yard with her people around. Once past her very active puppy hood, she became the easiest and most accommodating pet. She ate whenever we fed her, rode in the car as long as it took and took care of business when we finally let her outside. She could made squeaky toy last for years, only ate what she needed and never bit a soul.

I recall her tormenting prairie dogs at the airport in Watertown, South Dakota once she discovered four of the holes they used. I still laugh at how she'd watch other dogs retrieve a ball from a lake only to take it from that dog once it'd reached ankle-deep water, essentially making the other dog do all the work. I'll always be grateful for how well she received other dogs, ours and visitors, helped them assimilate and often took a back seat to their more needy tendencies.

Bailey was the definition of loyalty in a domestic canine and today we said goodbye. Sixteen years finally caught up with her. She had very little gray hair and went out like a lady. Our dog farm, for the first time, is without that wonderful, faithful orange retriever, although we'll be finding strands of that gorgeous hair for years to come.

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