|Bayley Beck, Snow Dog on a road less traveled|
When my Sophie was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, presenting as a highly vascular tumor in her heart that had ruptured and bled into the sac around her heart, I was shocked to my core. I had taken Sophie in to see Suzanne, who did an ultrasound of my golden girl and found that her weakness wasn’t caused by her hip dysplasia, as we had suspected, but was her heart, which was being compressed by the blood that had filled her pericardium. I remember feeling angry that I knew too much medical terminology and the word tamponade kept popping into my head. Medical emergency. With tears in her eyes, Suzanne explained that we could tap the blood, giving Sophie a little more time, or we could let her go. I asked her then of Sophie, as I asked her today of Bayley, “if she was your dog, what would you do?”. And in the honest, caring, and kind way that I miss so much, she told me. So, we let my lovely dog Sophie, she of the beautiful spirit, go with angels. And when it is our beloved Bayley girl’s time to go, we will send her to God in the same loving way, thinking of her and her needs, and not our own. Our own need is to keep her forever, but when you give your heart to one of these beings, your time together is finite.
|Bayley and Bill, learning together|
When I met Bayley, it was love at first sight. I had come to Bear Creek with dear friends for vacation, soon after losing Sophie, and Bayley was more than willing to let me put my hands back on the familiar body of a dog – a feeling I had been missing so much. When I moved there to be with Bill a year later, Bayley became my constant companion in a foreign land and I fell head over heels for her. She became mine. I changed her food, she got a bed and toys, access to the house anytime was hers. Still Bayley Beck, Ranch Dog, but also Bayley Beck, Family. Bill often joked that I married him for his dog and he’s only half wrong – she sealed the deal!
Many of you know Bayley. Many of you don’t and should. Bayley is pure love. Her heart is that of a trusting child – sweet, honest, free. She gives her love to all she meets, which is wonderful because her job for the entire time she’s been with the Beck family has been just to love and be loved. Bill’s son, Dane, his wife, Felicia, and our family friend, Johnny B, found Bayley in a Mountain Trader (or so the story goes). She was living in the Flathead Valley with a family who had other dogs who picked on Bayley so they decided the best thing to do would be to find the gentle giant a new home. They brought her home to live at Bear Creek and she bloomed and blossomed with people and no other dogs!
|Bayley with our wonderful friend, Linnea. Bayley is a wonderful surrogate dog!|
In her time, she’s been an amazing bear dog. Her size and her huge bark are intimidating to even a grizzly bear! She’s a bit like Ferdinand, the bull, however, and would rather just sniff the flowers… Bayley is shameless in her insistence that EVERYONE must give her belly rubs and she routinely places herself just outside of the doorway to the breakfast room (where she is not allowed to be), rolls over, and waits for people to finish eating so they can get to the business of rubbing that tummy, because it’s not going to rub itself! Those of you who have met her know exactly what I’m talking about.
|Autumn is her color|
|Elias, Me and Bayley|
When Bill and I wintered in Tulsa a few years ago, Bayley traveled in the car like a champ and made friends in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. She and Bill walked the trails of the Arkansas River in Tulsa every day – for miles – and she was very briefly an urban dog. She loved my mother with abandon and my mom became a “Bayley person”, not a dog person, or so she said!
But the country is her home and she thrives at Bear Creek, wandering the property, sitting in the creek on hot days, hopelessly dreaming of actually catching a chipmunk or a squirrel or a gopher. And Bear Creek is where we will take her when it is her time. It’s her home. It’s where she’s happiest. And it’s where she should be…
As I write, she’s snoring peacefully on her bed behind me and the sound is music to me. I don’t know how long we’ll have her but I tend to think not long. We won’t have her suffer and lose herself and her joy and become something she’s not. We’ll also give her a good life for whatever time is left. We’ll take her to see the horses, let her potty in the tall grass, go for car rides, take short walks to see the little lab who has a terrible crush on her and we’ll simply love her. Every moment with her is a blessing - she is our love and our family. My heart is breaking at the thought of the loss of her.
|Spectacularly beautiful Bayley at her home at Bear Creek|