In Loving Memory of Bailey, our Little GSP

Matt and I lost our best friend last night. Our beautiful, energetic, vibrant, happy pup Bailey passed away very suddenly and we are heartbroken.

We first met Bailey when she was just a tiny 4 week old puppy. When we brought Bailey home at 7 weeks we quickly learned that in addition to being cute as a button she seemed possessed with never-ending energy. She kept us very busy that first year… I don’t think she ever let us sleep in past 8AM!

As Bailey matured we found ourselves adapting our lifestyle around her boundless energy and intelligence. We hiked with Bailey on a regular basis, did agility and nosework training with her, and bought a house with a big yard for her to enjoy.

In 2009 Bailey started competing in DockDogs. This opened up a whole new world for us – exciting new places, people, and experiences – and also gave us the chance to develop an even closer bond with our dog. We traveled thousands of miles and spent countless weekends with Bailey by our sides and I know that she loved every minute of it.

We told Bailey that we loved her every day and we meant it. The night before she died I remember going into the bedroom to get ready for bed and finding Matt kneeling down on the floor, snuggling Bailey’s soft ears with his face and whispering good night to her. We had no idea that that would be her last night with us but it comforts me to know that she clearly knew she was deeply loved by us.

We don’t know exactly what happened to Bailey last night. She was out in the yard before dinner as is her usual routine. She generally comes to the door when she is done hunting/playing/patrolling the yard but she hadn’t shown up yet so I started calling her. She didn’t come when called (which is also quite usual if she’s still absorbed in her squirrel-stalking!) but after calling for her a few times I got worried and turned on the back lights. Then I saw her, collapsed in the middle of the yard, a dark figure in the snow with the lights reflecting off of her jacket. I ran out in the yard and carried her limp form inside. We rushed her to the vet but she was gone.

Bailey lived an action-packed life and threw herself wholeheartedly in everything she did with 110% enthusiasm. She was only six years old and she brought joy to Matt and me for every single minute of her time with us. We loved her unconditionally and we miss her terribly.

In loving memory of Bailey
May 11, 2007 – January 30, 2014

Snow Day!

It snowed again today!!  The snow started falling at 7:30AM and didn’t stop until another 3-4 inches were heaped atop the snow that we got on Sunday.  Yay snow!  Matt took a “snow day” (aka spent some quality time with his early Christmas present, an Xbox One) and I went into work for a few hours and enjoyed a productive morning in the nearly empty office.  Once the roads were plowed I came home to play with Bailey in the snow.  Did I mentioned that I LOVE snow??!!

Dashing through the snow!

Bailey loves the snow, too.  Here are some photos from this afternoon… see the one where I totally whacked her in the head with a giant snowball?  Oops!!

After playing with Bailey I shoveled the whole driveway… talk about a work out!  Now I just have to find the strength to get up off of this comfy couch and go run my daily mile(s) for the Runner’s World Holiday Streak.  Today will be day 163 of my streak, woohoo!

Did you have a snow day today?  How did you spend your day?

Birthday Walk at Ridley Creek

Last Friday was my birthday, woohoo!  Because we were entered to run in the Trinity 5K at 9AM Saturday morning we kept Friday’s celebrating pretty low key.  We got breakfast at Manhattan Bagel (my favorite) and worked a full day while hydrating like crazy for the race.  After work we took a nice walk with Bailey at Ridley Creek State Park before eating a pasta dinner and getting a good night’s sleep.  Here’s a photo of my Ridley Creek walking buddies… the perfect birthday companions!  🙂

380 Matt and Bailey

The weather was gorgeous during our walk.  Since we weren’t planning on doing any running in the park I brought my camera along to capture the beautiful autumn colors and my favorite photo subject, Bailey.  Here are a few of the photos I took:

Bailey hasn’t been to Ridley Creek State Park since I hurt my foot in late September.  She was so happy to be out and about again!  She was sporting her new ‘walkeez’ fleece harness and she paused for lots of photo ops.  She’s such a good dog!

Bailey

Hiking in the park with Matt and Bailey was the perfect way to spend my birthday.  What’s your idea of the perfect birthday afternoon?

Bailey

Bailey on black

It’s been a while since I posted about Bailey so I thought a nice picture-filled update would be fun! Here are some photos that I took earlier this week.  I love this dog!

Bailey the Little GSP

The above photo is classic Bailey.  She looks very serious because I’m holding her frisbee in my hand and trying to get her to make a nice expression for the camera.  She’s like “come on, just throw it already!”  This is what happened when I finally threw the frisbee…

Open WIDE!

The weather is too cold for dock diving now but Bailey is keeping herself busy patrolling the yard for squirrels, lounging in the afternoon sun, and burrowing as deep as possible into her doggie sleeping bag when it’s time for bed.  Bailey has also been taking K9 Nosework classes for several months.  Last night she finally graduated from searching for treats to hunting for “birch” odor, woohoo!  I’m biased, of course, but I think she has a very good nose, don’t you?  🙂

Baileys' nose

As I write this Bailey is curled up between Matt and me on the couch.  She is not normally allowed on the furniture but when it gets cold out we let her snuggle with us.  If we snuggle too much she gets hot and hops off the couch to cool off though…. which just happened.  Now she’s headed up to bed.  Good night, Bailey!

Happy Bailey

Limping my way to 400 Miles

Last night I hit the 400 mile mark in my 100 mile iPad mini challenge.  Sadly I was not running triumphantly through a park or jogging confidently on the treadmill as I hit this milestone, though.  Nope, instead I was cross-training on the old beat up elliptical in my garage because my left foot hurts too much to run.  Boo!

After running the Run-A-Muck 5K on Saturday, September 21st I felt AWESOME!  Empowered by the completion of my first adult distance race I was unstoppable and super motivated to run, run, RUN!  And so I ran like crazy:

…on Sunday Matt and I ran 6 miles at Valley Forge National Park,

…on Monday before work I ran 2 miles on the treadmill,

…on Monday after work Bailey and I ran the 4.3 mile loop at Ridley Creek State Park in 38 minutes (a new record!!),

…on Tuesday after work Matt, Bailey and I ran the 4.3 mile loop at RCSP again, this time in 40 minutes.

Then I got home on Tuesday night and said, what the heck, I’ll run another mile on the treadmill, just for fun!  And that’s when I realized that the outside bottom of my left foot really REALLY HURT!  Uh oh…

Bailey was my running buddy during both days of Ridley Creek loops.  I had her secured to me with a waist leash and I think she pushed me (or pulled me, actually) to run a little too fast for my own good!

Bailey was my running buddy during back-to-back days of Ridley Creek loops. I had her secured to me with a waist leash and I think she pushed me (or pulled me, actually) to run a little too fast for my own good!

Ignoring the stabbing, cramping pain in my foot, I woke up early on Wednesday and ran 2 miles on the treadmill before realizing that I might actually be injured.  I then did some internet-aided self diagnosis and determined that I am likely suffering from Peroneal Tendonitis.

In short, Peroneal Tendonitis means that the tendons that go around the back of my ankle bone down along the outside of my foot are inflamed and irritated.  This is apparently a classic “overuse” injury which makes perfect sense considering I ran over 20 miles in 4 days of 5K-induced euphoria.  Oops!

My Peroneal Tendonitis (or whatever it is) was causing some pretty intense pain along the outside of my left foot last week, so much so that I realized that it would be stupid to keep trying to run through it.  I had previously had a 4+ mile a day (walk, hike, or run) streak going since July 23rd but that came to an abrupt end last Wednesday.  On Thursday I slowly limped my way out to the old elliptical that we retired to the garage after getting our treadmill and I’ve been cross training on that all week.  😦 At least I’ve been able to keep my 1 mile a day streak going – yesterday was day 94 of that.

In addition to logging some quality time on the elliptical I’ve also been icing like a fiend (even under my desk at work!), and taking Ibuprofen.  My foot is feeling significantly better now but I am a little nervous about running.  I might start out with a really slow jog on the treadmill in the next day or two and see how that goes…

Here’s the official tally for this week.  Not quite what I wanted, but hopefully by my next post I’ll be back to running!

Miles since last post:  41.8
Days since last post:  12
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 5.23
TOTAL MILES: 403.0

 

Related Posts:
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  300 miles and a 5K in my future (9/9/13)
•  200 miles!  (8/26/13)
•  100 Miles in 21 Days! (8/7/13)
•  100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge: 49 Miles to Go! (7/29/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is inside. Here’s what Bailey does when she’s inside!

How Bailey prefers to spend her time inside.

We joke that Bailey is either “on” (full blast running, hunting and playing outside) or “off” (sleeping peacefully inside). In this photo Bailey is demonstrating her favorite sleeping position: snuggled into her covered “dog den” bed with a comforter tucked over her face for good measure… she’s such a prima donna!

Also, I have to point out that she puts herself into bed this way with no help from us! It’s really a cute sight to wake up to in the morning… 🙂

Dogs, guns, and hiking… a typical weekend at the Hunting Camp!

Dogs, shotguns and the great outdoors… sounds like a good time, right? Well that’s how we spent our Labor Day Weekend at a “hunting camp” in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania! The “camp” is actually a private fishing and hunting club that my step-father’s grandfather helped to found back in 1913. One hundred years later it is still a rural paradise complete with a large house that sleeps 20+, a beautiful lake and – the best part – hundreds of acres of quiet, uninhabited woods. The camp is surrounded by other similar hunting clubs and a huge state forest, making it one of the only places in the world where we feel comfortable letting Bailey run off leash. Bailey absolutely loves it there, as demonstrated in this photo of her wallowing in a mud puddle after a long run in the woods!

Bailey the mud puppy

Happy as a pig in mud!

Bailey’s not completely off the grid when she’s at the hunting camp, however. We learned a few years ago that it’s nice to know roughly where in the wilderness she has wandered to, so we now strap a GPS collar around her little neck to keep track of where she is and how many miles she’s gone. On our first day there we arrived at lunchtime and Bailey ran 10 miles before dinner. The second day she covered 17 miles and on day three she was a little tired so she only did 14 miles… She’s nuts!

Bailey shows off her GPS collar and its really long antenna.  We tied her up occasionally for mandatory resting time... otherwise she would have never stopped running!

Bailey showing off her GPS collar and its really long antenna. We had to tie her up occasionally for mandatory resting time… otherwise she never would have stopped running!

Bailey had lots of canine friends to play with at the hunting camp this year. My family brought along a whole pack of pooches including Hershey the chocolate lab, Ganon the 9 month old puppy, and Clyde, the adorable newfie-lab mix. All of the dogs had a blast running through the woods, swimming in the lake and cooling off in mud puddles mid-hike.

When we weren’t hiking with the dogs we enjoyed playing in and around the camp’s beautiful lake, riding ATVs through the woods and shooting clay pigeons with shotguns. We also made sure to spend plenty of time relaxing in the rocking chairs on the hunting camp’s big wraparound porch!

After a fun-filled Labor Day weekend at the hunting camp we headed home with a VERY tired Bailey. I can’t wait to go back next summer!

Tired Bailey at the Hunting Camp

Bailey catching some Zzzs after a weekend at the hunting camp.

Wedding Photo of the Week!

Matt and I got our wedding photos back from our fantastic wedding photographer, Melissa Hassey, and I thought it would be fun to share one each week.  Here’s one of my favorites:

Wedding Photo Wednesday!  Matt, Annie and Bailey (Photo by Melissa Hassey Photography - www.melissahassey.com)

I love how Matt and Bailey are making eye contact in this shot!  Bailey wasn’t being the best behaved wedding dog at this point in time so Matt was having a little talk with her about sitting still for the camera.  🙂

On another note, thank you to everyone that has voted for Bailey in the Yakima Photo Contest!  Bailey is one of 10 finalists in the contest and you can vote once a day.  Please consider voting now for Bailey… she’s neck and neck with another photo for the lead spot right now and I appreciate any and all votes!!

Please click to vote for Bailey!

To vote for Bailey, please click here and hit “VOTE”.   You don’t need to have facebook or share any personal information in order to vote.  Thank you!!

Weekly Photo Challenge AND Bailey is a Finalist in a Photo Contest!

First of all, I just learned that this photo of Bailey has been chosen as a Grand Prize Finalist in a photo contest! The winner is determined by popular vote which means that YOU can help Bailey win simply by clicking here and then hitting the “VOTE” button.

Please click to vote for Bailey!

I would REALLY appreciate it if you could take a few seconds to vote! Voting is open until August 16th and you can vote once per day. The contest is sponsored by Yakima Racks and the winner receives gifts from Ruffwear (Bailey’s favorite dog gear outfitter), Zukes (Bailey’s favorite treats!) and a $500 Yakima gift card!

In other news, this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is One Shot, Two Ways. The idea behind this challenge is to show the same subject from two angles and I have a fun example to share. The following two photos show Bailey flying through the air about to catch her duck. They were taken from two different cameras at the exact same moment during the same jump. Cool, right?

One Shot Two Ways #1

One Shot Two Ways #2

The first photo was taken head-on by a professional photographer (Key4Prints). I happened to catch the second photo from the bleachers at the exact same time… just as Bailey was contorting her body and snapping her mouth open mid-air in an attempt to catch her duck. While the professional shot is clearly a better photo, I kind of like the second shot because it helps you appreciate what a huge jump this was. Bailey ended up winning her division at this event with a 24+ foot jump!

Thanks for stopping by and, again, thank you to everyone that voted for Bailey in the photo contest!!!! (You can vote here: http://bit.ly/146NFcQ )

Seeing Double… A GSP House Guest!

Just before Christmas 2012 Matt’s parents rescued a beautiful German Shorthaired Pointer and named her Bella.  Prior to her rescue Bella was discovered by a forest ranger wandering around in a New Jersey state forest (in cold winter weather!!) and she was underfed and seriously in need of a loving family.  Lucky for Bella, Matt’s parents welcomed her into their home and she is now enjoying a comfortable, happy life with her new family!

Bella the GSP

Bailey and Bella are really similar in size and coloring.  We sometimes joke that Bella could be Bailey’s sister… after all, Bailey was the runt of a 10-puppy litter born just 30 minutes from the state forest where Bella was found!  Biological siblings or not, Bella and Bailey are great friends and we take care of Bella when Matt’s parents are out of town.  We have Bella this weekend and I had fun doing a mini photoshoot with the GSP girls.

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As you can see, Bailey and Bella are in a constant competition to steal each other’s toys.  Today they were vying for the same orange squeaky toy.  Aren’t they cute?

We don’t know what Bella’s background is, but she definitely has good hunting instincts.  Today she discovered a monarch butterfly in my flower garden and spent quite a while stalking and pointing at it.  Bailey used to point at butterflies but seems to have lost interest in them… now she focuses on squirrels, groundhogs and birds!

As I write this post we’re watching TV in our home office with the two dogs.  Bailey is snuggled comfortably on Bella’s bed (because Bailey is a HUGE bed hog!) and Bella has generously decided that that’s OK and she is alternating between lying on the floor at Matt’s feet and curling up in an awkwardly tiny ball on Bailey’s very small bed.  What a good pup!  Soon we’ll put both dogs to bed so they can rest up for another fun day in the back yard tomorrow!

371 Bailey and Bella looking different ways

Does your dog have a best friend?  Tell me about them!  🙂

Related Post:  Our Four-Legged House Guest (Hershey the Chocolate Lab)