Our sweet, spunky Dailey
Ladies and gentlemen, a famous doctor once wrote, “How did it get so late so soon?”
I didn’t expect to pen this one this year, or the next, or the next. Certainly not today. But here we are.
On Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, a day that will live in infamy, my wife, Helen, and I lost our “Best Man,” Bogey, a lab/husky mix. He was 13. That Sunday, Dec. 11, we were Christmas shopping, and we stopped by a pet store to get some toys and treats for our doggies, Bacall and Damselle. Turns out, a local rescue was at the store with some doggies looking to be adopted.
One caught our eye. Again, it was Christmastime, and the one was named “Mistletoe.” She was a puppy, and some patches of her fur were bare due to flea bites she suffered prior to being rescued. We spoke with the rescue folks, and little Mistletoe came home with us.
Now, we weren’t going to stick with the name Mistletoe, so I asked for suggestions on social media. We got some rather interesting suggestions, including “Sugar Princess Snowflake the Third,” “Editor,” “Newsley,” “Humphrey” and “Young Yeller,” but we settled on Dailey.
Dailey was maybe 10 pounds when we got her, but by the spring, she had gotten bigger, at least taller, than Damselle, and by July she was a strapping 45-pound pup. We always thought Dailey was at least part Labrador, but when we had her DNA tested, we found out she was 25 percent Great Pyrenees, 12.5 percent Australian Terrier, 12.5 percent Irish Setter, 12.5 percent Siberian Husky, and the last 37.5 percent was other breed groups, such as Sporting, Hound and Hunting. It made her our Dailey.
Dailey was a sweet dog, but was also definitely a tomboy. She was spunky, she never met a cat, rabbit, deer or buzzard she didn’t like to bark at incessantly. She liked to play rough-and-tumble with Damselle. Though shorter, Damselle used her low center of gravity to roll Dailey a fair share of those times.
Later, after we adopted Scarlett, who will play fetch with a tennis ball all day if you let her, Dailey would occasionally sneak up and play lock-down cornerback and employ bump-and-run coverage with a little “trash talk” when Scarlett started her route. It was a lot of fun to watch.
But Dailey had a tender side. She liked her belly rubs, or to jump up in our laps in the evening and snuggle. She had a great smile, and would give a wink when she was happy. And as the seasons passed and the years rolled, she was happy.
However, I wish there were more years, more seasons. I guess we always do. Bogey lived 13 years. Bacall lived 13 years, we buried her five years after Bogey. Damselle, a stray we brought in back in 2008, was at least 15 years old when she passed away on New Year’s Eve of 2022. She could have been a year or two older than 15. We buried Damselle six years after Bacall.
It's been less than six months since we buried Damselle alongside the others by the creek. Three days this month, Dailey had episodes where she was lethargic and didn’t want to eat, but bounced back the next day and was her usual, spunky self, our lock-down cornerback with the smile and a wink.
When we woke up yesterday, Dailey was laying on the couch, our 11-year-old puppy who isn’t going to see 12. It seemed like just yesterday that I was bringing the shovels out of the shed. I guess it’s been 142 days, or four months and 22 days, but who's counting. It’s too soon. Digging a hole isn’t fun. Filling it back in is worse. By far. It just makes another one. They say that having a dog will bless you with many of the happiest days of your life, and one of the worst.
We’ve been blessed with the happiest days for decades, and now we’ve had four of the worst.
Farewell, sweet Dailey. We love you and miss you and know you loved us. Look over us, say hello to Bogey, Bacall and Damselle for us and run and play with them until the rest of us join you. It’s true, we’re one day closer to the best Puppy Party.
Steve Roush is chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a board member of the Highland District Hospital Foundation, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.