Today we planted Bailey. Bailey was our good dog. Those are the best words we have to describe him. He was a big, hairy, lovable chocolate lab. I wouldn't say that our lives revolved around him, just that he was a consideration in everything we did.
At 105 pounds, it was like having another adult living in our home. He either went with us wherever we went or we paid more than we ever did for childcare to board him at his favorite doggie bed-and-breakfast.
We certainly spent more money on his medical bills than we spent on ours, since Bailey had a knee surgery and, near the end of his life, seizures. All of Bailey’s bills, however, were not his creation. When we took the first midnight run to the emergency vet hospital, we were sure he was on death's door. After Bailey spent a full day of swimming in the ocean, chasing tennis balls on the beach and running frantically around with young grandchildren, we found him nearly comatose in our bedroom at 11 p.m. We'd lift his foot and it would drop dramatically to the floor. We had adopted him just six weeks earlier, and we were sure we'd killed him somehow. We had to nearly drag the poor dog to the car and he never moved once he was settled in. After rushing him to emergency care, the doctor listened to us, checked him out and said, "I think he's just tired!"
Of course, he was fine. We vowed we would not tell anyone about this embarrassing situation. That lasted until Clay got to work. We've been laughing about it ever since.
Well, many wonderful years and hilarious stories later, Bailey left us. He was cremated, and his remains lived on our mantle for six months in a beautifully polished pine box. My mom suggested we plant a dogwood tree on the ranch in his memory and sent a check to pay for it.
This last weekend, I finally picked up a beautiful Wolf Eye Japanese dogwood at our local nursery, Harmony Nursery. Clay dug a very deep hole and we placed Bailey's box at the bottom. He filled in the hole with our beautiful Goldridge soil, placed the tree in the hole above Bailey and completed the planting. The tree sits beside the old grape stake fence, overlooking the young vineyard. With good weather, good luck and loving care, our vineyard and Bailey's tree will grow up and old together. Can't think of anything nicer for that good old boy.