my best boy…

There’s a man in my life that is so dear to my heart that I can’t believe I never wrote about him on here before. This guy captures my attention, gives me amazing cuddles, makes me laugh my head of and also makes me angrier than any other thing or person in the world. I also take care of him like he’s my baby and any major decision in my life comes immediately to the potential impact on him and how we can make it better for him. You guessed it folks, that man is my dog Bailey who I love beyond measure…

hanging out at his girlfriend's house...
hanging out at his girlfriend’s house…

Before I went to Africa, I was a cat person… And even in Africa, I was a cat person. I loved cats for their independence and I liked that I didn’t have to walk them or pick up their mess every day (every other day is best for me!). I’m also keen on rescuing animals, so almost all of mine have been homeless or from the rescue center and I’m just so happy to give some poor animal that is stuck in a cage a happy warm home full of food and water and comfort. In Doha, I had 3 cats, In Gabon, I took in a pregnant cat, then had five cats, then three again when kind friends adopted a couple of the kittens. But my interest was piqued in dogs and although I had been afraid of them as a child (a friend was mauled by a Rottweiler), I wanted to understand what everyone else raved about, and I wanted to experience man’s best friend for myself.

So when a friend in Gabon told me about a puppy they had picked up in a driveway in the pouring rain, and said they couldn’t keep it, I immediately jumped at the chance to take him in. Off we trotted to the Italians’ compound and out of the car we piled and I was introduced to a little guy they had named… Pizza… eeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Putting the name aside for one minute, I was delighted by what I saw. Stray dogs in Gabon are a sandy brown, small to mid-sized and per a dissertation I heard about, usually a cross between the security dogs, Alsatians and French small lap dogs, like poodles. Interbreeding over the years has led to this runty group of sandy dogs in Gabon that are hated by locals and pitied by the expats. I have heard that they are culled every few years, but I can’t even think about that right now.

So Pizza was a skinny black dog, with ginormous Dalmatian spotted paws and a white chest. He had ears that perked up a mile above his head, before flopping down like a terrier. He was a little worse for wear, with raggedy fur and some patches where it was missing entirely, but he jumped round and round me and begged me to take him, so I did.

I took that guy home and me and Sooz gave him a bath. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was scared to death, and the cats HATED him and hated me for bringing him into their life. He loved them on the other hand and kept chasing them round and round…

One trip to the vet later and he was declared healthy, bug free and I was told that the missing fur was stress, where he had scratched or bitten it off in clumps. That made me even happier I had taken him. The next few months were a battle of survival, where he chewed up the furniture, broke the cats tails, ate every flip flop I had and peed, crapped and puked every time my back was turned. He had so much energy, it was almost impossible to get him to cuddle, and Bailey (yes, weirdly I renamed him) ran like the wind, until we were convinced he was descendent of a whippet or greyhound.

I knew I was leaving Gabon within the year, I had to get out of that place, and I knew I was taking him with me (you don’t give a dog a home, then palm it off on someone else), so I just got him through the year. He spent a lot of time on the balcony, and he spent every weekend at the beach with his girlfriend Riva. My boy was happy.

So when I eventually moved to the States, there was no question of whether Bailey was coming with me, but it took four months as Air France messed me around, and I can’t thank my friends Suzanne, Christian and Afonso for their help at that time. It cost me three or four thousand dollars, but when he got here, his life changed, and isn’t that the whole point?

Since being in the States, Bailey has settled down somewhat. He still has more energy than any other living thing I have encountered, and I’m sorry to say he poops when he is excited, and it doesn’t matter where that is. He also loves to steal food from Handsome’s Mother’s countertops, so it’s not unusual to find a string of king prawn shells down the hallway, or hear a shriek and then find him eating the roast loin of pork off the floor. But he is MY boy, so why wouldn’t he want the finer foods in life? He’s just taking after him mama…

Everyone that meets him adores him, he captures a little piece of all of their hearts with his lolling tongue, excitement to see them and the way he lays his head on your lap and gazes at you. A few months ago, I realized that he specifically plays up when he hasn’t had cuddles the night before, so now I have to schedule in cuddle time to ensure he knows how much he is loved and he loves to get right up between me and Handsome, so he is being cuddled by both of us. And he takes the best photos! I have included a selection below, for the folks that know him, so they can remember the magic he has brought to their life too…

the week we got him...
the week we got him…
in le gab, he loved the beach...
in le gab, he loved the beach…
guy is REAL photogenic...
guy is REAL photogenic…
at the airport on the way to the States...
at the airport on the way to the States…
life is a lot calmer in the States...
life is a lot calmer in the States…
his new girlfriend...
his new girlfriend…

2 thoughts on “my best boy…

  1. Oh wow, what a beautiful story. I will send this to my sister who is a major animal lover and seems to always be rescuing a dog or cat!

    1. Peggi! Thanks so much for this comment. There are so many stories about Bailey that I had to leave out for fear of boring people, but he is my entire world! Ruth

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