Bailey – From Shelter Death Row to Service Dog

In my heart of hearts I am an eternal optimist. I believe that love conquers all and that there is a silver lining in every cloud. No matter how dark the day I believe there is hope for a better tomorrow. Sometimes though I let the negativity of the world cloud my view. It is in the stories of shelter dogs like Bailey that I am reminded that tomorrow is always a new day.

Bailey - from Shelter death row Dog to service dogSouthern roots often mean a long wait for shelter dogs

Bailey arrived at Douglas County Animal Control in Douglasville, GA in May of 2013. He waited as late spring moved into summer. As each day passed the temperatures climbed and Bailey’s name got higher and higher on the “list” that no dog at an animal shelter wants to be on. Then, finally relief as he was rescued from death row. Then more waiting.

I first met him in October of 2013 while helping my friend with an offsite adoption event. It was cold and drizzly and both the dogs and humans were miserable. The dogs barked their frustration at being kept in their crates. Bailey though was the eye of calm in the storm and just observed. That day in October was not his day either. He was beloved by everyone yet still he waited for that forever family.

It was decided to transfer him to Libby’s Legacy, a rescue in Maine. Dogs from the South are often transported up north where the demand for companion animals exceeds the supply. He made the trip safely and adjusted to life in his foster home.

Finding a forever home

Anne lives in Massachusetts. After her service dog of 14 years, Phoebe, passed away she didn’t think she’d ever be able to love another dog again. That is, until she saw Bailey’s picture on Facebook. She knew she had to meet him. So she drove three hours from her home to Bailey’s foster home in Maine. It was love at first sight. Anne hoped Bailey could be her service dog. He passed his temperament tests with flying colors so he went home with Anne to begin his training. He had another hurdle to overcome though.

Bailey had a spot on his hip/leg that bothered him when touched and a slight limp. X-rays revealed that at one time Bailey had a very bad broken leg that wasn’t treated and healed incorrectly. Basically he learned to live with the pain. Funds were raised and arrangements made for Bailey’s surgery. The surgery improved things for him but was unable to completely heal his injury. Bailey did not let that stop him.

BaileyservicedogphotoFrom shelter dog to service dog

Undaunted, he has gone on with his service dog training. He helps Anne with her daily activities, makes sure she keeps her balance when she walks and encourages her to get up and get moving no matter what. He loves children, especially Anne’s three year old grandson. He also watches over their next door neighbor boy, Gavin, from his favorite window until the 2 year old returns indoors safe and sound. Anne refers to Bailey as her “gift from God” and says he inspires her everyday with his attitude. She says he taught her no matter what your problem or disability is you should enjoy life and never give up. He has also shown her how to love again.

Adopt a shelter dog – save a life

Shelters around the country are filled with loving, wonderful dogs. If you’re considering becoming a pet parent, pop by the local shelter or contact a rescue group. You can also check out Petfinder to browse pets all over the country. There’s a new best friends just waiting to share your life with you.

Here is a video of Bailey shortly after he was rescued:

Here he is lovin’ life in his new home:

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