Sunday, 20 February 2011
Bailey in our garden with Mali 2008
It all started out so wonderfully.We owned a beautiful Bearded Collie called Taffy who had travelled all over the world with us. It seemed only natural to add another dog of the same breed to our family when we finally settled in UK after living all over the world with our dear Taffs.
Taffy, a giant of a Bearded Collie jumping for pebbles, a favourite pastime!
And so Bailey came into our lives six years ago as a very sweet little puppy who seemed to hero worship Taffy from the minute they met. He would follow him everywhere. And so it began.Our life with two Bearded Collies.
Taffy and Bailey
Bailey always was different, right from the very start. All dogs are different in personality but he was demanding where as our sweet Taffy had been quite passive. At a puppy naming party we nearly called Taffy "Prozac" as he was so laid back. This would have been a very unsuitable name for our next pup! Bailey was a "chewer" demolishing not just one but four cat flaps during his periods of being initially left alone because he would be completely disgusted the cats could come and go as they pleased. However dear old Taffy was always there to calm him and keep him under control. And there is where the problem lay.With Taffy around I owned the two sweetest dogs you could ever imagine. But last year we lost our dear old companion and my heart broke into a million pieces. In fact I was so badly emotionally affected that I couldn't face coming into this Bearded Collie Blog.
Here were many memories of my gorgeous boy who kept me company while I painted all over the world for over thirteen years. If you have wondered where I have been this is the reason why this blog fell silent.
Taffy, a gorgeous Beardie, one in a million!
I miss Taffy terribly. I can still cry when I know he won't be greeting me as I walk through our door and I will always feel that familiar ache when I waken to know he won't be at my side licking my hand daily.
But I am human.
I knew what was happening for the last twelve months as Taffy struggled with an unfortunate illness. Bailey our youngest Bearded Collie did not.
At fsrst we witnessed silence.It was eery to place a bowl of dog food on the floor and watch a once healthy dog just lie passively with complete disinterest at food being near by.You could buy chicken, steak and all manner of goodies but whatever you did you were never going to get this dog to eat. Nor were you ever to get to see the slightest glimpse of light in his eyes. Bailey was fading and fast.
Pining is a word many dismiss but my young dog was doing just that and he gradually lost all interest in the world around him. He was " flat" in spirit and hard to deal with.
Next came other issues of destructive behaviour.Having just renovated a beautiful old cottage any idea o f leaving him for the shortest of times was scuppered as he took to totally destroying the oak doors and furniture. To make matters worse he then became aggressive with other male dogs while we were walking. It seemed as though he was assuming the " alpha dog role" but was inadequate in that position. His impressions of when to start a fight were completely unjust and his insecurity heightened daily. To the point where taking him out at all started becoming almost impossible.
Bailey was confused and depressed. He became a complete nightmare to have around. I began to dread morning walks rather than look forward to them. I hated leaving him because my home was being destroyed each time I left. Returning was becoming stressful as we never knew what was going to be ruined next. In the home Bailey wouldn't leave my side at any second so even the smallest of visits to the bathroom meant listening to painful whimpering from him sat outside any closed doors we were seperated by.
I couldn't go on. Life was becoming far too difficult as things were and my energy levels were so low I too was sinking. We came to the dreaded point of considering rehoming Bailey but I love him so much. Having just lost one dog I couldn't bear the thought of losing another. And on top of this in my heart knew Bailey was grieving for Taffy. If he went to new owners this would distress him even more.
Out of desperation we called in a dog behavourist and a miracle is happening. Only after a few weeks have I got the dog back that I love so dearly.
It seems Bailey had " pack bonded" with Taffy and now is having trouble adjusting to being alone. He has never shown me respect as the " pack leader" as Taffy always had that role So Bailey has had to go back to baisc training to do so.
The change is incredible. His lead work is wonderful. He is playing and interacting as if for the first time in his life and loves it. He looks into my eyes for commands and eagerly waits for me to give them. He is eating twice daily and looks forward to doing so.
We have such a long way to go as I too am still grieving for Taffy but unless I show positive signs of recovering Bailey never will. Together we are working this period out and together we will both make it.
We are both winning now, and I look forward to each new day with him.
One day we may have another puppy but not until Bailey has learned how to behave on his own.
To anyone reading this blog who has problems with a dog,things can change but you have to be prepared to put the time in and love along with so much patience to turn your pet around. But in the end you will gain the a wonderful companion.
To Bailey, my little friend who right now still needs so much love and guidance!