When Bailey was an 8 wk. old pup I took him to the beach to play. I hadn't picked a name for him yet but knew I wanted it to be something about coffee, because he looked like a little cup of coffee that hadn't had the cream quite stirred in yet. A girl stopped me and asked what my puppy's name was. When I told her that he didn't have name yet, she said, "If he were mine I would name him Bailey because he looks like someone poured Bailey's Irish Cream into their coffee and forgot to stir."A-HA, yes that was what I was thinking too but had not articulated it so well.
As this Summer season is drawing to a close, I have Bailey on my mind. At the age of 14, I wonder if he will make it through to his 15th birthday in February. He is definitely showing the signs of his advanced age and life is not as easy for him as it once was. Yet, despite his difficulty in getting up, eyes riddled with cataracts and the tell-tale tumors Springers often get... he still has a small spark. When we walk in the room, his tail still wags and he still appreciates a good meal. I suppose that's why we love dogs. Even with their dying breath... they love us.
As difficult as it is to see your beloved friend get old... there are many joys with it as well. We have a history. Bailey has sopped my tears and jumped to the sound of my laughter more times than I can count. He has been a constant, faithful and devoted companion in ways that no human ever could be. He has paddled down rivers, jumped off cliffs, raced along a snow machine, hiked countless mountain miles, made friends with an otter and came to an "understanding" with a porcupine. He has guarded and protected me more times than I probably even know. And when he flushed birds... it was sheer poetic joy to behold. I love him and he has loved me even when I didn't deserve his love. What can I ever do to repay that? Nothing. So, I am trying to be the best steward to him that I can be. I will clean up after him and scratch the itches he can't reach. I will feed him what he wants and make sure he has a comfy bed. And if he makes it through the upcoming cold season... I will keep his spot next to the fire reserved just for him. It's the least I can do for an old and dear friend.