Preparing for the end…

I went on a backpacking trip this summer with my dog, Bailey.


This is the goofy boy.  I’ve taken him on many hikes through our local woods but this was our first multi-day outing.  I covered 36 miles.  He covered about triple that, dashing up the trail, returning to see if I was still on the way, and venturing off trail to smell interesting things.  I kept him on leash for the first….50 yards.  After that, I let him loose, and he did his job.  He returned whenever hikers were approaching.  He sat by my side while they passed.  I’ve hiked the AT almost twice.  He is a much better blaze finder than I.



He has been my companion, and he has been my friend through many of the most difficult times of my life.  He sat next to me whimpering when I learned my son had died.

He doesn’t know why he gets to sleep in my office now or why he’s getting so many treats, but he sure likes them.  I’ve lost many people in my life.  This hurts at least as much.

When he was a puppy, we would take him for walks along the beach.  He would whine and curl up in a ball until we carried him.  As he grew, Lori was worried he might be aggressive with the cats.  We foster terrified cats, and Bailey is our liaison.  He lies down and lets them hiss and spit and eventually curl up next to him.

He loves playing ball.  I’ve never found the end to his willingness to chase and retrieve a tennis ball.  He loves tearing apart the cardboard center of the paper towel roll.  He loves standing over the cats while they eat breakfast and cleaning their bowls when they’re done.  He loves dashing into the woods, following his nose, rushing from one interesting smell to the next.   He loves swimming…in anything.

I learned this week that Bailey has lymphoma.  We have maybe weeks.  He doesn’t know.  He’s just digging the extra treats.  I love my dog.


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7 Responses to Preparing for the end…

  1. yeahright919 says:

    I am so sorry. The loss of a child must be unimaginable. Now this. My heart breaks for you. My advice? Try to send your pup peace and unconditional love. Be strong for him as he feels what you feel. After he goes, then open the floodgates and grieve as hard and long as you need to.
    So very very sad for you all.

  2. Mike Cullen says:

    My dog and my hiking partner is a chocolate lab. We also have received word this week of liver cancer. Her time is very limited. She like your dog, doesn’t know why she got to sit on my fine leather couch and watch NFL last night but she didnt argue and she was digging it…..I’m really sorry to hear you news….I don’t understand how you feel but i do understand the love you have for your dog

  3. Irv Stern says:

    To those who have never owned a pet can not understand the relationship we enjoy. They are close as our kids, and probably closer in many cases. Our thoughts are with you during this unpleasant

    Best wishes, Irv & Sandy

    Sent from my iPad
    Irving M. Stern

  4. Gary Nilsen says:

    I so relate to this. The pain is literally breathtaking!! Give Bailey a hug from me!!

  5. Tears. We know how you feel. Ed & Karen A.

  6. Christine Urbanek says:

    I’m so sorry love. I’m going through the same thing with my Rocco, but his illness or whatever are due to old age (and a very old age as he is a large dog and already over 15 years old). I sleep on the couch now as he can no longer make it upstairs. My other two dogs do the same. I wonder how much they know – I think probably the whole story as animals are so intuitive. I’m sending you love, strength and a hell of a lot of sympathy/empathy… xoxo

  7. Leighparker says:

    I lost my boyboy two years ago to cancer as was the hardest thing I have ever done He was with me for almost 9 years..and I cherish every moment from the very beginning to the most difficult heartbreaking looking back I see the most beautiful love story between him and I from the beginning to the doesn’t get easier I still find a tear running down my cheek with the thought of him but also a smile comes to my face..I’m so sorry for what you are going thru and it’s truly a life changing thing..

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