A letter to my delicate dog, Bailey


Kiera Kemppainen

My dog Bailey staggering through his last few months at sixteen.

It’s almost been six months. 

Six months since your death. Six months since I saw you last. In that time, life has gone from me seeing you howl in the front hallway when I get home, to reminiscing through the few photos I have.

A lot has changed in six months, and there’s a lot that you missed out on. 

You missed the end of my freshman year and the start of my sophomore year. You’ve missed all but ten days of the chickens’ lives. You missed my fifteenth birthday. You weren’t here for my first high school dance. Half of my friends never got to meet you. You missed a whole entire summer of boat rides.

I remember how much you hated the water. Maybe you would be happy you didn’t have to go this summer. It disgusted you to even get the tips of your paws wet when you took a drink from the shallow depth. You were so angry when you would lose your balance and fall in. For living on a lake, you were a very peculiar water-hating dog. But you loved boats.

You didn’t always like the wind in your face, but you kept getting on the boat anytime a ride was offered. Even in your last years, you loved boat rides. I got used to carrying you up and down the fifty-three steps that led from the backyard to the waterfront. I continued to do it even if you continued to fall asleep at the high speeds of the humming boat.

I’m glad you were there for that moment of my life and for all the memories that we experienced.

For the rest of eternity, I’ll never carry you down to the boat again. There are an uncountable amount of events in my life that you will be absent from.

You’ll miss the first and last days of my sophomore, junior, and senior years. You won’t get to see me start college or move out of the house. You won’t observe any of my birthdays or your seventeenth. You’ll miss my graduation. You’ll miss every minuscule detail of my life, even simple things like my Halloween costumes.

A few years ago, you and I dressed up for Halloween together. I was Merida from Brave and you were one of her bear brothers. My nana made you a costume that matched my glittering emerald green and plush brown cape. It had a headpiece with ears that you refused to tolerate. It always ended up hanging around your neck like a bandana. 

I’m glad you were there for that moment of my life and for all the memories that we experienced.

You were there when I needed something for my baby dolls to ride on; you became the horse that young, horse-girl me wanted. You watched me enter and leave Ada Elementary and go on to Goodwillie. You saw me transfer from Goodwillie to middle school and middle school to high school. You saw my countless laughs and cries.

You were there as a crutch while I fumbled through the difficult changes of my life, and your resting memory will remain the same for me as I transition through even more.