Column: ‘I have a dog. His name is Bailey’


When I was a boy, I always wanted a dog.

But my mother was a neat freak with a house ready to be inspected for cleanliness at any time. There was no way a dog could fit into this picture.

Her answer to a dog was to tell us you can’t trust them, that all dogs bite. So dogs were never a part of my childhood and something I avoided almost my entire life. Anne always had dogs growing up, and after we were married and had children we decided we should finally have a dog.

We tried it twice but with both of us working all day long, we just could not keep the dogs.

That leads me to where I am today. Ten years ago, my daughter, Nancy, got a cash gift from Sheila Dominy for her birthday. Sheila said to buy something she really wanted, and it didn’t take her long to buy a cute little puppy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

She named him after Sheila’s husband, Charlie Dominy.

Charlie did not last two years before Nancy and her husband came home one night and he was dead on the floor. My daughter’s love for this dog was something I didn’t understand at that time. She hugged him for hours before we could finally get him away from her.

The advice given to us was that she should get another dog immediately. That was seven years ago, and she found a puppy that was born on her birthday, May 27. She bought him and he immediately filled that void. She named the new puppy Bailey, and this puppy was almost never out of her arms.

Two years later, Nancy passed away, and the puppy became a best friend to my wife, Anne.

Bailey made the switch, and for the next five years never let Anne get more than 5 feet away from him.

It was another love affair.

Again, I recognized a love my wife had for a dog that approached her love for her husband and children. While Anne was in North Shore Hospital the week before she died, I made the three-hour trip every day and stayed for eight hours.

She told me that when I got back home, she wanted me to play with Bailey for an hour and to sleep downstairs with him. She was so sick, but worried about Bailey.

When Anne passed away, we found one note in her pocketbook. It started: “I have a dog, his name is Bailey.” The rest of the note was about how to take care of him and what he liked and ate.

I never knew how much love a dog provides. Bailey now gives me the same love that he gave my two girls, and I finally understand why people love their dogs.

Bailey is now my buddy. I try to take him everywhere I go because he has this sad look whenever I go out without him. I found that dogs seem to speak with their eyes, and I think I know what they’re saying.

I don’t know about other dogs, but I do know that Bailey will sit by the door when I’m gone. He won’t eat or drink while I’m gone. But as soon as I get home, he will drink and eat.

It took me a long time, but now I understand how much a person can love a pet. When I watch television, Bailey is quite content sitting on my lap. He’s part of my family and I would go crazy if anything happened to him.

I also understand that dogs are not waiting to bite me. With all my playing with Bailey, I’ve never felt a tooth. Neither has anyone else who plays with him.

Yes, I play with him every day and sleep next to him every night.

Not only because Anne asked, but because I love him.