The ride down to pick her up was about two hours, so we packed up the car with our soft crate, some toys, a pee pad, and some water and headed down. Playing music as we drove, we talked about all the exciting, and scary, things about dog ownership. The cuteness factor, the late nights with crying, the training and all of that. As we drew closer, we were worried, will be be good parents for our little puppy? Will we mess up? I know on a level it sounds silly, a man in his 30’s worried about taking care of a dog, but without kids in the picture, this is where we are.
We arrived, and Bailey was everything we could hope for. She is playful, curious, excitable, and loving. She was microchipped on the spot and with her vet papers, some food, and everything in order, we were ready to take her home. It was surreal taking her away from her 4 litter mates (2 others had already left), but soon she was in the car with us.
Hubby sat in the back as I drove us home. She whimpered a little, but soon settled into the soft crate and took a nap. When I got her home, she promptly pooped in the hallway, we figured it was her way of claiming her territory.
For the next hour, she ran around our apartment, sniffing and exploring every nook and cranny she could… which was good since we wanted her to test our defenses. (We did fairly well considering). We gave her toys (a Mallard Duck and a Dinosaur, plus a toy provided by the breeder) and we lined the soft crate with a blanket with the smell of her family. Finally, she passed out, despite herself.
Of course we took pictures, pictures of every type, and we shared it on social media. She is precocious and I suspect that she will have us wrapped around her finger… or rather, she already has us wrapped around her finger.
As she rested (as well as on the drive home), I reflected on a lot on today. Her name, Bailey, means a lot to me. Last year, one of my closest friends was diagnosed, and later died, from cancer. It was a quick and brutal episode. His passing fundamentally affected me, and is something I carry everyday. He and his husband gave me my love of pugs, having owned several over the course of our friendship, and when we were in a position to get a dog, there was no other choice. “Bailey” was the name of his first dog in his Adult life. His Bailey was a beagle, but I felt it was important to honor him. Bailey just “feels” right to me.
The mourning process moves back and forth, often over well worn feelings and stages. I began to leave the deep fog of my mourning in November, but still there are days of deep sadness. Today, I felt like I was revisiting, but now with a new friend; A puppy full of life and love, something he would absolutely love and cherish. The tears in my eyes are of mixture of gratitude, contentment, happiness, and reflection, and other indescribable feels, but overall, they are good.
Bailey stars a new chapter in my life, and each day, she will give me more happiness and love and makes my memory of my friend grow every stronger, and steadfast.
I promise future Bailey stories will be happier, but I wanted to share this today, for Vern, and for Bailey.
(Also, if you want to follow our Pug, follow us on WanderlustPugs on Instagram)