Bailey And Stella
When we moved to Virginia eight years ago, we decided to get a dog. It wasn’t a sudden idea. No, not at all. It came to us gradually and with some reluctance.
We’re partial to Golden Retrievers, liking their intelligence and their gentle nature. Actually, it was Hannah and Emily who did the hunting for us. We’d wake up in the morning and find pictures of various dogs on the refrigerator door or on a cupboard or in the pantry. Clever of them. Funny, really.
We gave in.
Bailey was from the beach area and was a rescue dog. We met the owner halfway, near Richmond. The owner turned out to be only a caretaker. The actual owners were in the military and were heading back overseas somewhere.
We took a look at Bailey and saw that she had suffered. We could count her ribs. If we made a sudden move, even just to pet her, she’d shy away. Kim and I took a look at Bailey and came to the same conclusion. We gave Bailey about two weeks before she’d die. She was that bad.
She kept to herself and would stare out the window in the living room. She never barked for months. We didn’t even know if she could bark.
No matter how hard the girls tried, no matter how hard Kim or I tried, Bailey wouldn’t warm up to us . . . for a long time. She was afraid. She couldn’t trust anyone. It was heartbreaking, really.
And then slowly over time, Bailey came out of her shell. We think back on it and can’t come up with a ‘when’ or a ‘how’ it happened, but . . . She joined us in the family room. As best she could, she would play with us. She was affectionate, gentle. She still has her moments, though. Loud noises and sudden moves still cause her to flinch and shy away, but she has come such a long way. A long, long way.
Bailey is now a part of us and a part of our family. But it took time. A frustratingly long time, and a heck of a lot of patience. There were times I felt like giving up, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
Fast forward . . .
Next year, Hannah will be going to grad school to finish up her degree in elementary ed and she’ll be living in an apartment by herself. Kim and I felt she needed a companion, so we gave Hannah permission to do a search for a dog. She found Stella.
Stella is part lab, part retriever. She was a stray and brought to a shelter. We put in our application and they checked references and last week, we went to pick up Stella.
Small, skinny, scared. So very scared. Like Bailey used to be, we can count Stella’s ribs. There have been some ‘accidents’ and some snarling, but all in all, just in one week, there has been so much improvement. Stella is like a different dog. A long, long way to go, but Stella is coming around just like Bailey did.
Bailey And Stella . . .
I’ve been in education for many years, just like many members of my family. I’ve been a ‘person’ longer than I’ve been an educator. A whole lot longer.
Along the way, I’ve met many, many Bailey’s and I’ve met many, many Stella’s.
Kids, parents, fellow teachers and administrators, friends . . . some more like Bailey And Stella than not.
And along the way, I’ve felt like giving up on them, just as, I’m sure, they might have felt like giving up on me. Each of us . . . all of us . . . share some of the same characteristics as Bailey And Stella. Afraid. Scared. Beaten and abused. Not knowing who to trust . . . if we can trust, ever trust.
One of the themes I hit over and over again in my posts is the idea of helping one another, of making the choice to improve the lives of others and in so doing, improving our own lives. The theme of making a positive difference in the lives of those around us.
At times, it isn’t easy. We feel like giving up and giving in. We feel like walking away and walking out. But perhaps, like Bailey And Stella, at some point, because of something we do or something say, the many afraid, the many scared, the many lost and the many lonely do come around. They do come around. They will come around. So, just like with Bailey And Stella, we can’t give up. We just can’t. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
If you like reading fiction, thriller/mystery/suspense, you might want to try my Lives Trilogy and the prequel. I’ve received very nice reviews. You can find them on Amazon.com in both ebook and paperback, and free with Kindle Unlimited. There links and the book descriptions are below for your convenience:
Book One, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents has 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! There are no leads and no clues. Worse, Kelliher suspects that someone on his team might be involved.
Book Two, Shattered Lives:
After all the arrest warrants were issued and many of the men involved in the human trafficking ring were arrested, six men escaped, went into hiding and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. A dangerous situation for the kids and their families.
Book Three, Splintered Lives:
It began in Arizona with death. It ends in Arizona with death. A 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t know it. Their vacation turns into a trip to hell. Out gunned and outnumbered, can this boy protect his father and brothers? Without knowing who these men are? Or how many there are? Or when and where they might come for him?
Prequel, Taking Lives:
The bodies of six boys are found in remote areas in different states with startling similar characteristics. FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his team from the Crimes Against Children Unit investigate and discover a curious pattern that his superiors refuse to believe. Unfortunately for Pete, there are no other leads and no evidence to verify his theory. A 12 year old Navajo boy in Arizona, and a 12 year old boy in Indianapolis, unaware of each other, unknowingly hold the key to these disappearances and deaths.