12 years. For the last 12 years she's been my friend, my baby girl, my first dog. And today, I had to put her down.
Sometime in March 1997 while at college in Lubbock, I heard about someone who had lab puppies. They had a couple left and were looking for good homes for them. I went to take a look and fell in love with the super cute butterscotch coloured puppy. The people really needed to get the puppies gone so when I gave them my $25 they threw in an extra puppy for free :)
My future roommate, Christine, took the black lab and named her Morgan and I got the yellow lab and named her Bailey. She was about 15 pounds and SO cute. At that time I lived on the second floor of my apartment complex and Bailey was too scared to go down the stairs outside so for 2-3 months I carried her down the stairs to take her outside.
Bailey has always been super active. She and Morgan loved to dig holes in the backyard in Lubbock. She also loved to play ball in the field down the road from my house. There were many times that Christine and I would come home and find both dogs taking up the entire sofa (it was an L shaped sofa so that says a lot). My mom remembers Bailey and Morgan best from the first Christmas that I brought them both home - we came home from midnight mass and Morgan had taken a bag of the fake snow in her mouth and shook it ALL OVER the living room. It truly was a white indoor Christmas in San Antonio :)
When Ryan and I got married, Bailey grudgingly allowed Ryan to bring his dogs (PJ, Jack, and Little Dog) with him when we moved in together - although she was always the dominant dog and reminded them frequently.
When Ryan and I had kids she was always the one to allow the kids to pull on her hair, tug her ears, and roll on top of her and I never had to worry that she would bite them. She was a great family dog.
I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes thinking about all of the wonderful memories that I'll have of her. She was gentle, loving and loyal - my first dog on my own and the first dog my kids ever knew. I will miss her terribly.
Rest in peace Bailey...
Bailey this morning