It has been 9 days since I had to help my boy Bailey cross the bridge. Benson, the puppy, and the cats are still looking for him. I know in my heart he is happy and waiting for me, and someday we will walk in the fields again. This time he will have no pain, have all 4 legs and be able to run and walk without stumbling.

I wonder what his life would have been like had those people not stolen him out of the yard, what it would have been like, to not been hit by a truck trying to get to me when I tracked him to their house, and they let him out so I wouldn't catch them with him. I wonder what it would have been like not to have to endure 3 surgeries, and eventually bone cancer growing in old broken bones.

Most people would have put him down then---the cost was too much---but Mr. Bailey was special. He never complained, he never growled or snapped at vets or techs who poked and prodded and stuck him with needles.--he only licked hands and wagged that tail! He walked with a limp for 5 years--he aged greatly before his time and he taught me so much in the short 6 years he called us family.

He taught me about stamina, and patience and fortitude and especially about attitude. I love you Mr. B------I will miss you until I see you again.

April 3, 2010.

I am reminded of the date today----7 months ago today was Bailey's Cancer surgery and amputation. Next week it will be 3 months since he left us to cross the bridge. It feels like forever since I have had that 180 pound weight leaning against me! Gosh I miss him! I have his dog tags on my key chain and when I pick up my keys I hear them and remember him and say a small prayer of thanks for the time he was in our lives. 6 years is not long enough.

Benson is now 6 months old (tomorrow) and such a joy--it amazes me though that he and Bailey, while the same breed have vastly different personalities! Bailey was such a "wagger" and Benson is not. Bailey was indifferent to smells and tracking things---Benson has his nose to the ground almost constantly. Bailey was quiet and only "talked" when necessary---Benson is a whiner and vocal. Bailey was only told once to stay off the couch in the living room-----Benson struggles with the concept that the couch wasn't designed with his comfort in mind. Bailey thoroughly enjoyed walks and outings------no matter where-----Benson----not so much----he prefers pillows and blankets to almost anything--although he does love the dog park! Bailey ignored the cats most of the time--Benson harasses them and I am sure I can see in their eyes the pleading to "bring the big guy back and get rid of the little one (even though 6 months old and 81 pounds isn't little)" Bailey hated raw bones---Benson adores them, and I am glad I don't have to cook them anymore! Bailey loved green beans---Benson prefers broccoli and wouldn't touch a green bean if his life depended on it.

I am anxious for some summer---I am tired of cold and rain and the normal Northwest spring---this week we have had hail, rain, snow, 68 degree weather and 32 degree weather. It is true what they say about the weather in Oregon--"if you don't like it---wait 5 minutes it will change!"

We are struggling with "growing pains" in Benson and the vet has ordered "rest"---which worries me---are his bones weak too? And if they are, how do I strengthen them without over-exerting him? Does this mean he will also develop Osteosarcoma? It has been 4 weeks since our last good walk---and he's still limping. The reading I am doing says this could continue until he is full grown at 2 years of age. Ahhh---the internet--- a wealth of information----sometimes more than we need or want. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! I will continue to explore ways to exercize Benson without stressing the bones. He is missing the dog park and the trips to PetSmart and Lowes. How will I make sure he is socialized and trained to behave around people and dogs if he is to "rest" until he's 2? He will be too big and strong to control at 2 if he isn't trained now.

The last 7 months have been a roller coaster and one I could have done without-----but then I probably wouldn't have Benson and I am sure I wouldn't have found so many friends and people that know exactly where the tears come from so quickly and unexpectedly, I am glad to find friends that understand the uncertainty and need to vent and ask questions and allow the vulnerability all while we travel through this journey called cancer. I wish none of us had to travel that road.

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Comment by Dee Tremonti on April 29, 2010 at 10:37pm
Hi Jan.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I do have four little furbabies, 3 females and one male. I'm getting one of my puppies back in the next day or two though. The people who took him are doing some major projects at their house and are having a hard time coping. I made sure that if they couldn't keep a pup for any reason, they consulted me to get him back so I can screen homes. Hopefully I can find him a new one. Please accept condolences on the loss of your big guy. What's the problem with the puppy? What has the vet diagnosed?
Comment by Angela on April 26, 2010 at 5:03pm
No.. 6 years isn't nearly long enough... but I lost Ti'ana last year to cancer we didn't even know existed until too late... and she had just turned 12... and 12 wasn't long enough either. It's never long enough for our furry friends. I keep you in my, Benson, and of course, Mr. Bailey.. who is playing with Ti'ana over the Bridge waiting for us.... xoxoxoxo
Comment by Jerry Dunham on April 6, 2010 at 2:55am
I certainly understand what you've been through with Bailey. They all leave us much too soon, and the giant breeds are the worst in that regard.

At least you have Benson to focus on and keep your mind off of the loss of Bailey. It's difficult to tell from your blog, but I worry that Benson may be showing signs of HOD, something we went through nearly 10 years ago with one of our Danes. If you'd like to discuss further, send me e-mail at I'll undoubtedly pass medical questions along to my wife, particularly if they have to do with HOD.

Jerry Dunham
Moderator, Texas Great Dane Rescue
Comment by Caryn Wilson on March 23, 2010 at 8:18am
Blessings to you again Jill! You sure went through alot with Bailey but now he is home free and what a special mom you were to him.
Comment by Kathi on February 28, 2010 at 3:31pm
Bless you, Jill, for what you and Bailey went through. Survivors have especially strong spirits, gifts from God.
Comment by Lynn Pennington on February 6, 2010 at 6:21pm
I am so sorry for your loss. Indeed it sounds like Mr. Bailey was very special. They leave giant paw prints on our hearts and we miss them greatly when they are gone from our lives. My prayers for you.

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