A Dog Day: Walking Bailey~A Shelter Dog

This morning, I sprung Bailey, an 8-year old Shepherd/Husky mix, from her RBARI shelter home, put her into the station wagon and took her for a ride to the Ridgewood Duck Pond, where leashed dogs are permitted. We avoided the “dog park,” a fenced-in area where dogs are allowed to run free and socialize with each other. In my book, when you put a bunch of animals together like that is a vet bill waiting to happen.

Bailey is not my dog. She belongs to the shelter.  But as a volunteer, I am encouraged to take her out of her daily routine to remind us both there is a bigger world out there. It blows the cobwebs out of our minds and hearts, and when you add a little sunshine, it is as golden as she is.

I have walked Bailey every weekend at the shelter since her family had to give her up a couple of months ago. She is timid, but a good girl and got an A+++ on her first real outing. Her inner Husky splashed happily through slurpy, slushy puddles and the hidden scents in snow kept her trotting by my side, rarely spooking even while runners and walkers and bike riders zoomed around us. She did not even glance at the woman yelling in French into her cellphone and we quietly stepped aside when a roller blader careened past. She took exception; however, to a hound who walked toward us while staring directly at her. In doggie body language, this is like “flipping the bird,” so I pulled Bailey off the paved path as the hound’s owner dragged the dog past as it snarled and growled at us.

When we returned to the car, I toweled the mud off her paws and brushed her head to toe as she leaned her warm body against mine. Then, I popped her back onto the soft comforter in the back of the wagon, left the hatch open and sat down next to her and stroked her thick fur. We sat in the sun awhile and just watched the world go by. As I greeted people who strolled past and told them about RBARI, Bailey stretched out in the warm sun, tucked her head over her paws and dozed.

Admittedly, this is not a great photo of Bailey. This is early in our walk and she was still anxious. By the time she was relaxed enough to look her beautiful golden self, I was relaxed too and forgot all about the camera.

But the best thing is: My car smells like wet dog.
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5 Responses to A Dog Day: Walking Bailey~A Shelter Dog

  1. Bailey is a sweetheart and she's beautiful. You are doing such a wonderful thing for her, letting her get out and see the world with you. I'm sure Bailey looks forward to seeing you and spending time with you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Aren't you in the market for a pooch? She looks like a perfect fit.


  3. Alas…Bailey does not get along with cats or she would be living with us now.

  4. jme says:

    ok, this might sound a little kooky, as she's not my dog and i don't even know her, but thank you so much for taking care of this special girl. the shelter sounds like it does good work, but it still it breaks my heart to see pets without their own happy homes, so thanks for giving her something to look forward to and letting her know she's loved 🙂

  5. What a sweet face she has. Isn't it hard to resist bringing her home with you?

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