Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: Why We Picked Bailey
By Mary McLeary
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“Meme, why did you and Poppa pick Bailey for a pet?’ asked my lovely blue eyed granddaughter. She was obviously thinking it was not the best choice. She is a fashion diva. Drool does not appeal to her. When she and her two brothers are over and we want to let Bailey inside I shout, “He’s coming in! Everybody hit the high ground!” They each have a designated spot. Nolan and Nash climb some stairs while Landry goes for the back of the couch. It’s not that they don’t like Bailey. They just don’t want to be slimed. Size is also a factor. My grandbabies are all less than 80 pounds. Bailey weighs in at 132.
The top of his broad wrinkled head is about three feet from the ground. His upper lip sags over his lower jaw. When he runs that lip flaps in the wind, and the drool flies! He is physically intimidating, but he’s so sweet! Bailey is our two year old French mastiff. He is a Dogue de Bordeaux.
Like so many of our other blessings, owning a mastiff was not planned. Our first, Boomer, came to us via our daughter. When she moved from a house to an apartment Boomer came to us. He became an instant celebrity. People driving by would slow down and just stare. Word spread and we had lots of lookers. One year he was asked to ride on a float in the Christmas parade.
Boomer had bad hips so on the night of the parade we loaded him into our car, took him to a local tractor dealership and used their ramp to let him climb up into the bed of a truck to take him to the parade site. Helping in this endeavor was our friend, a local highway patrolman. The floats were lined up on a side street by the Civic Center. My husband rode with Bailey in the back of the truck while our friend drove. I was in the passenger’s seat. We could see our float, but getting to it was another matter. We signaled to turn. Two teens in orange vests were guarding the entrance. They waved us on. This happened three more times. On the third try our friend could stand it no longer. He braked, rolled down his window and in a southern drawl that dripped with authority he said, “Son, I’m a Tennessee Highway Patrolman. I’m fixin to make this turn to put this dog on that float if it costs me my job. Now move outa my way!”
The kids moved. Boomer was transferred to the float and then our friend went back and gave each of the guards a five dollar bill because he felt bad about pulling rank. The rest of the night Boomer was a star.
The next spring, during a thunderstorm, Boomer got scared and ran away. We put ads in the paper and called all the local veterinarians describing him and asking them to contact us if some one called them asking about a dog of his description. After six weeks, we got a call from a vet who had a number for us. Apparently our Big Boy had been living the high life in an affluent gated community.
Two years later Boomer passed away. We grieved and so did many others who knew him. Dr. Carter our vet cried.
Several months later on a bright October afternoon there was a knock on the door. There stood several special friends and one was holding a puppy! It was Bailey – our second Bordeaux Bulldog. He’s made his own special place in our hearts. He’s another special member of the family.
To my granddaughter I will say, “Sometimes you don’t pick your pets. They pick you!”
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