If you have been following me for any amount of time you have heard about Baylee. Baylee is my life. She is the dog who stole my heart! In fact, I tease my husband if I have to pick between the two of them she will win every time! I am pretty sure the same is true for him too!
I have been wanting to write a post about Baylee forever! She is such a huge part of my life and I wanted to share more about her and our relationship. Since October is National Pet Wellness Month I felt like it was a good time to share more about Baylee. Also, I thought it was time to share some news we recently got and a secret I have been dying to share.
Where My Love for Dogs Started
The first dog that entered my life was Bea. She was a dog who roamed around at the lake. For some reason, she took to my family and we took to her. Often times within minutes of getting to the lake we would see her coming to check in. I remember how much my brother and I loved her. I just wanted to love her. Now it’s important to mention that she had great owners who loved her and took very good care of her. She just really like to be social!
The Great One
My parents saw the relationship that Michael and I had with Bea. Due to that, we got our first family dog, Abby. Actually, it was Abigail Star, but Abby for short. Looking back, I know she is the reason for my love of dogs. In fact, she is often time referred to as the “Great One” in my family.
After Abby was Callie. She joined my family while I was in college but she has a special place in my heart. While I never actually lived at home with her she and I developed a special bond. I could be gone for nine months and if I walked in the door she knew exactly who I was. It’s hard to believe but this month she is 15 years old. She was diagnosed with cancer early this year but is a fighter and is still kicking!
My experience with those three lead me to Baylee. As a result of having dogs in my life from an early age, I knew that when I was settled in my adult life I had to have one. I will never forget when my husband said he wanted an English Mastiff. I thought he was crazy! They are huge and they drool, A LOT! I fought it for a while but as I did research I realized they were just big lovers. So, I agreed that our first dog together would be an English Mastiff.
The Love of My Life
I am pretty sure there was divine intervention when it comes to find and getting Baylee. When I finally agreed to a Mastiff the puppy search started immediately and I found a breeder who had puppies available. I was the first person to contact them so I had the pick of the litter. I picked “Hope”. Her paws were so big and her face so sweet. I would come to find out when we picked “Hope” up that she got that name because her mom laid on her shortly after she was born and they hoped she would live. “Hope” became Baylee Hope.
Baylee really had a tough start to life. She came to us with Coccidia & Giardia. Our poor girl just couldn’t seem to fight those parasites off. Once we got those under control Baylee was attacked by another dog at daycare. She was five months old and still growing. The dog that attacked her had a bacteria in his mouth that caused a terrible infection in one of her growth plates. That infection actually ended up closing the growth plate. In turn, that leg quite growing while the other three continued to grow. As you can probably imagine that caused a lot of pain and issues.
After seeing several specialists it was determined that Baylee had to have surgery to remove her growth plate. Yes, you read that right she had her growth plate removed. By removing it, the hope was that her leg would start to grow again. While, the surgery was a success! She is missing three inches of bone in her front left leg but lives normally!
How She Stole My Heart
That surgery created an bond between her and I that could have never imagined. I spent just about three straight weeks with her as she recovered. Her and I spend 24 hours a day. I knew when she was tired, I knew when she was hungry, I knew when she was in pain. In turn she knew when I was happy, sad, or frustrated.
At the time this was all going on, I was really struggling with my anxiety and depression. Even though there was so much going on with her I was getting better. My anxiety and depression were improving! It’s hard to believe but when she started sleeping with me I slept better. When she started going through therapy dog training it gave me a new purpose. And her for that matter.
In 2012 when I started adding more activity to my life Baylee was a huge part of that. I loved taking her for walks. Over time, those walks turned into walks/short runs. Slowly I began running more and Baylee could not longer join me. However, I realized she could join me for the last mile so I would stop at home to pick her up. And when I was in my tapering for training my runs were short enough for her to join as well.
Over the last year and a half Baylee has been a huge part of my traumatic brain injury recovery. She has been by my side through all of it. She knew when I was having a hard day and would not leave my side. On the emotional days she would comfort me with a head on my knee or a kiss out of no where. On the good days she was waiting with a toy for us to play with.
Now I Get to Return the Favor
Now it’s my turn to to help her. Two weeks ago we found out that Baylee has cancer (the news I mentioned). To say I am devastated would be an understatement. We did have the cancer removed and they were able to get most of it! On another positive note, the cancer has not spread! We are going to have to keep a close eye on her and do monthly checks. However, I would go to the moon and back for her so a monthly check is nothing!
I Think You Can See the Benefits of Dogs
There are so many benefits to having a dog! They are companions, they are therapists, they are personal trainers, and in some cases they are doctors! I really wanted to share my story with dogs and specifically Baylee because she has been all those things for me. I don’t want to imagine a life without Baylee but I know there will come a day she isn’t with us any longer. When that comes, I know I will already have another dog. I need that companionship and therapy!
PuppySpot has created a really great graphic that shares many of the benefits I discussed! And on top of that they added things dogs can be trained to do. I knew that dogs could detect cancer but I had no idea they could do it through smelling people breath! It is so awesome how amazing dogs are!
So I am going to share a secert not many people know… Baylee is getting a brother! Yes! We are adding a puppy to our family in February or March! We started looking in June and found a breeder in early July. Baylee has been a huge driver in this process. Now that we have a fenced in yard we wanted her to have a companion. We also wanted Baylee to show our new puppy the ropes. She is an amazing dog so if our future puppy learns just a few things from her we will be very lucky! If you are looking for a puppy PuppySpot can help you out! I just want to mention there is a lot of cuteness on PuppySpot!
So now you know a little more about the love of my life! Baylee is the dog that stole my heart! She will always have my heart! But with that said, there is more room in my heart and I know I will love several more dogs in my lifetime!
Do you have a dog who stole your heart? Do you want a dog? What benefits have you gotten out of your relationship with your dog?