Bailey and I

Karen Whitney Maturure

© Copyright 2018 by Karen Whitney Maturure

Montage of Karen, Bailey, and Kyle.

Bailey came a few days after I got pregnant and a few days before I knew it. Tiny little black thing. I fell in love with her instantly. She was about just two weeks old or so and could hardly open her eyes or walk. She fit into the palm of my hand perfectly and lay there in a bundle. This was the first puppy to ever come to the house. I was thrilled. I knew an exciting journey had just begun.

The first night she was to sleep in a box in the dinning room and would soon be sleeping outside in a small shed I'd been told. However as soon as everyone was asleep I sneaked her into my bed. Poor thing had been crying for her mother. This was the beginning of many more nights of sharing the bed. I didn't know it at the time but the times she woke me up in the middle of the night for her potty time were a training for a future routine. And so was the cleaning after her as she popped in all corners of the house, the feeding and all the care.

The bond we had grew stronger with every passing day. She was there when I realized I was pregnant. She was in bed with me during the time I felt sick. When the cravings came she would eat with me. She soon became a little active ball of fatness and soon due to my new waking up timetable it ceased to be a secret that the box went unoccupied every night. First the bed sharing bothered some family members. When the baby became common knowledge they said if the dog touched my tummy the baby would come out looking like her. They also said cleaning after the dog was a man's job and bad luck to the woman but when the "prison break" from the box became an unending episode they finally accepted the arrangement. They say when you are pregnant you grow to love one person extremely and hate one person with equally a strong passion but I can say I loved one dog that much.

As she grew she grew very fond of me too. She would cry when I left for work. I would feel so emotional too and would almost cry. Sometimes when she was still smaller she would make it out of the gate from below and run after me but I would make sure the HR heard a more believable reason ad to why I would be late. When I came back she would be waiting eagerly for me by the gate and I would have my favorite biscuits to share with her. Shorties,they were called. Everyone at home and work knew them well. They became a permanent item in my handbag and the old lady at the tuck shop knew what I needed when she saw me.

Weeks became months and Bailey and my tummy both grew bigger and bigger with each day. There was more napping and eating and more napping until finally one day the agony and fun ended. She came about two weeks early. I bet she just couldn't wait any longer to see what the world outside looked like or she simply had had it with those biscuits. Bailey on the other hand definitely appreciated the snacks that kept coming. It's been over two years since Bailey came along and so much has happened since. She is now a grown beautiful dog who has experienced motherhood jus as I have. She has had at least four generations of puppies six to nine at a time through my second pregnancy and first year of my son Kyle. Some of them have died and some have been taken away just as she was to join new families.

When I moved out of my mother's house I decided to adopt one of her puppies from her third litter. She was way older than the age at which we had adopted her mother. Must have been about five weeks old. She was black with small patches of white and reminded me a lot of her mother. She could now walk and run but was still pretty tinny. I remember giving her to Bailey for a short farewell before I left with her to our new home. The poor little thing kept wailing the entire night and the few other nights that followed as she missed her mother and siblings but with my experience with Bailey I knew how to make her feel at home. We named her Blue because it was the closest to her motherís name. As the days went by Blue and my son Kyle grew and soon were no longer the tinny babies they had been when we moved. Kyle and Blue are both almost one year olds now. Blue is now a fully grown dog and she reminds me a lot of Bailey though our bond is not as strong as the one with her mom. Bailey is irreplaceable I guess. My daughter who is now a toddler loves her and Kyle is still a work in progress. We still spend time with Bailey when we visit my mom. She seems to be growing more and more beautiful and so are her puppies. Sometimes wonder how Bailey feels being separated from her little pups. I would really hate being separated from my babies even for a short time worse if not knowing where they are going or if we will ever meet again. Would animals have as many emotions as us humans? But my experience with Bailey has taught me that we are not so different in our need for companionship, love and acceptance as well as our protective instincts.

I love Bailey and I am pretty sure Bailey loves me. She has been a part of my life at a time where there were life changing experiences and we ended up sharing them. She is more than just an ordinary dog to me. Our friendship is special and I hope other people get to experience this with animals too.

Photo of Karen.I am a 25 year old woman with a strong passion for development work. I am currently self employed but have two years work experience with Hivos Southern Africa Hub. I love to write short stories and poems especially ones that focus on women's issues and have women's empowerment at heart.

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