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.
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.
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.
Dorsey and Bailey