Caring Canines Visiting Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Celebrating Bailey's Retirement


In May of 2003, Bailey, who was then four years old, sailed through his therapy dog evaluation and became a Caring Canine.  It meant nothing to him; just another fun outing with his beloved hu-mom, Dorsey.  It didn’t take very long, though, for him realize how much fun this new activity called “going on a visit” was, especially when there were kids involved.  He loved being surrounded by kids, with little hands everywhere stroking, petting and rolling tennis balls for him. 

Oh boy!

Now, after participating in 267 visits over the past eight years and serving as "test dog" on countless evaluations, Bailey is retiring from Caring Canines.  Dorsey will continue to serve as Caring Canines' Program Coordinator and has sent along this message for the Caring Canines community:
As many of you may know, my 12 year-old Golden Retriever, Bailey, has been fighting cancer for the past year and, up until recently, has been actively participating in Caring Canines visits to his favorite places on a regular basis. It is now time for him to retire from his job. A few weeks ago, we received word that the cancer in his forehead has ramped up again and, in addition, some masses have been found on his liver and spleen that are inoperable. None of this has been a "surprise" to us and now we have undertaken the responsibility of helping him leave with dignity.

We are going to let nature take its course and let Bailey continue on as long as his quality of life remains good. I know the risks & signs of a major internal bleed and will watch for this and also watch for signs of any behavioral/neurological changes due to the proximity of the cancer to his brain. As long as he is enjoying his walks, food, woobies and tennis balls, then he’ll be with us.
I’m comfortable being the hospice nurse and will be with him 24/7 (like I mostly am now) until it’s time to make a decision or until he goes naturally. I have moved my bed stuff downstairs so I can be on hand for whatever occurs. Right now he’s snoozing on the back deck having returned from making snow angels and eaten his tea-time snack. The sadness I feel is balanced with peace, knowing he has had an amazing life (the understatement of the century) and we’ve done all we can for him.

Bailey and I are working on his Bucket List which, so far, has included...

a cheeseburger from BK and a strawberry shake,

creamie weemie ice cream from McD's,

cups of whippy cream from Starbucks,  

      a donut from the Toyota dealership,

a new monkey,
picking out a treat at PetCo, our thrice-daily walks and just about anything he desires. The days are rich and full. Bailey sez: "Pweeeze phill dem up wit furry furry munch tweets and gweenies, two."

There comes a time for all of us when our beloved four-legged companions need to be supported as they make their way out of this world. Bailey’s life has been a charmed one and he has charmed me for twelve years. I know all of you understand what this means. The gratitude that exists is profound. To have shared time with a dog is to have gazed into its eyes and seen the very best that can be: unconditional love and acceptance.

May the days with your own dogs be filled with the grace with which they live their lives and a long Bucket List of fun.

Dorsey and Bailey