Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bailey The Dog Moves In With Us

Funny how families can change dramatically at the drop of a hat.

Like ours, for instance.
Bailey, the latest addition to the
Modereger/Sutkoski family. 

It's now a two-dog, two person household here in St. Albans with the arrival of Bailey, a dog of indeterminate breeds and high levels of sweetness. (His name until Tuesday was "Baileys" but Jeff and I decided to drop the "s")

We'd vaguely discussed getting another dog at some point, but had no firm plans.

Barb, the woman who runs the excellent Deja Vu Kennel in Milton, Vermont  where we take Jackson, our very active cocker spaniel, was worried about a dog she was taking care of.

The dog's name was Baileys, because his fur is the same color as Bailey's Irish Cream.

Baileys' family had fallen on hard times, from what I heard, third hand.  They had to move to a place that wouldn't accept dogs. Their future together was uncertain. Barb was looking for a foster family to take Baileys in temporarily. Would Jeff and I be interested?

Jeff and I discussed it Monday night, and decided we would tell Barb on Tuesday that we were leaning toward become Bailey's foster family, but we'd have to think about it for a few days.

Tuesday morning, I brought Jackson to  Deja Vu Kennel,  like we usually do. Barb introduced me to Baileys.  I noticed immediately how sweet and affectionate he is.

Then she told me Bailey's family abruptly got an opportunity out of town. They couldn't take Baileys, and had to give him up. That day. The family said they would bring Baileys to the Humane Society of  Chittenden County  and hope for the best.

Now, the Humane Society does an excellent job. But Bailey just turned 12 year old. He might not be that adoptable. He could be euthanized there.

I know I can't save every dog out there. I can't turn into a hoarder. I can only take care of the people and the animals that I can manage. Doing more would be unfair to me and especially the dogs and people I try to aid.  Sombody else will have to do the rest. Cold as that sounds, that's just the way it is.

But I'd already made a connection with Bailey. And he with me. He looked me in the eye when we met  briefly Tuesday morning and we formed an attachment. I know Bailey didn't know what was going on, but it almost feels like he looked at me and said, "You're my last chance, bro."

I could manage two dogs in the house, and so could Jeff.

Jeff was at work. I called him and told him the situation. "I couldn't live with myself if we let him go," I found myself blurting out. I found my eyes getting wetter.

Jeff wanted him too. Our family's fate was sealed. Bailey is now a full standing member of the Modereger/Sutkoski/ household.  I feel like the Brady Bunch theme song should be playing right now.

It'll be hard at times, but Jeff and I have the wherewithal to take care of Bailey. We'll give him an imperfect, but good home. He'll be loved. Jackson will make sure he has a fun playmate.

Jackson has some jealousy issues, but I know that will work out. Both Jackson and Bailey crave individual attention. Both dogs will realize soon enough that there's plenty of love to go around at this house.

Despite the jealousy, Jackson and Bailey do play well together.

Bailey looks and acts younger than his 12 years. He's mellow. Incredibly affectionate. He already likes to curl up under my desk as I type away at my laptop.  I know that given his age, Bailey won't be with us for too many years. That makes me sad, but I'll just enjoy the time we have together and focus on that.

Right now, as I type this, he's at my feet, listening to the clatter of this keyboard as I sit on the couch pounding away at the laptop.  He looks at me every once in awhile to see that I'm OK, and that I think he's OK. We agree everything is fine and go back to what we're doing. Jackson's asleep, curled up against my side, looking blissful.

Jeff had to go to work for a few hours and he'll be home soon. The four of us will go outside and play around the yard. A happy, suddenly bigger family.


  1. Thanks Matt for sharing that with us. I loved it.

  2. I love this! It is very similar to how Ken and I ended up with a 12-year-old, hard-to-place tiger cat named Trigger. We had lost Pipsqueak and Blackacre to old age and were down to one cat, six-year-old Bombay kitty Sheba. (She's my profile pic on Facebook. We went to the Upper Valley Humane Society and looked for another cat. They introduced us to Trigger, and told us his family had to surrender him for adoption because they had to move and couldn't take the cat (and they'd had him since he was a kitten.) Every week the father of the family would call and ask if Trigger had found a new home yet. A month had gone by, Trigger made a difficult adjustment, and the Humane Society was eager to find Trigger a forever home. He came home with us, and it will be a year in August.

  3. Loving and warm story. Best of luck to all 4 of you. Everyone should have the level of compassion you and Jeff are showing.