Category Archives: Thea, Bailey & Naya

7 Things I Love About Bailey

Monday was Bailey’s 7th birthday. I can’t believe that it’s already been seven years since Bailey joined our little family.

Bailey and Laura on Kitchen Floor

In honor of the occasion, I thought it would be fun to share seven things that I love about our big girl.

1. Bailey is a gentle giant. Bailey is a big girl, there’s no doubt about that. But she knows it. She was always extra careful when roughhousing with Thea, and she’s still gentle with Naya despite her puppy pestering.

2. Bailey has one of the most expressive dog faces I’ve ever seen. When she’s curious, her face lights up. When she’s confused, you can see the wheels turning. She really does communicate with us with a look.


3. Bailey rarely barks. Thea barked all the time. Naya barks at her own reflection. But it takes extraordinary circumstances for Bailey to bark (or the sight of our neighbor – poor guy). We actually taught Bailey to bark on command, but she’ll only do it if she’s frustrated.

4. Bailey loves to camp with us. From her first camping trip to Devil’s Lake, Bailey has become the best camping companion. She does awesome with us in the tent, she loves hiking, and she’s so content to relax by the fire with us. In short, she’s a perfect camper.

Bailey and Jason at Devil's Lake

5. Bailey has mellowed with age. As a lab, Bailey still acted like a hyper puppy past the supposedly magic age of 3. She has even been known to knock visitors to the house off of their feet. But in the last year, she has really mellowed out. She’s borderline lazy. But the fact that my mom, who isn’t very steady on her feet, can come into the house without us wrangling Bailey, it speaks volumes.

6. Bailey is smart. Despite no formal training classes, Bailey is pretty obedient. She does an excellent job of staying. Somehow, she learned how to “back up” (apparently, this is a challenging command). When she plays fetch, she actually brings her toy back and drops it on the ground in front whomever she’s playing with. It makes the game much more fun.

7. Bailey loved Thea. We never realized just how bonded Thea and Bailey were until Thea was gone. Bailey truly has not been the same dog since Thea died. Bringing Naya into the mix at least jolted Bailey out of a depression, but I can just tell that Bailey misses Thea. We all do.

Thea and Bailey at Top of Stairs

Happy Birthday, Bailey! And to all my friends and followers with beloved dogs in your homes, give your pups a treat from Bailey.

Question of the Week

Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? If so, how do you celebrate?

Meet Naya!

August was full of big changes, from losing my beloved dog to taking a new job. But why stop at just two major life changes?

Over Labor Day weekend, we adopted a new puppy!

Meet Naya!


After Thea’s passing, I was a mess. But I wasn’t the only one. Bailey just seemed lost. She had never known our home without Thea, and they were best buds for close to eight years. As the days and weeks went by, we worried more and more about Bailey. I mean, it’s not like we could explain to her what happened.

Jason and I started perusing the most dangerous of sites for dog lovers: Petfinder. We knew that when we adopted again, we wanted a puppy. Jason put it best: We only get a relative handful of years with our dogs – We want to spend as many of those years with them as possible.

Despite the amount of time we spent on Petfinder, that is not where we found Naya. Jason found listings of labs/lab mixes on Rescue Me. One night while Jason was browsing, I suddenly stopped him from scrolling and told him to go back to a dog he passed. That was her – “Isabella.”

We contacted the woman who had “Isabella,” and she was still available. However, another family had also contacted her with an interest in the puppy, but they had not been able to get there to meet her. This was the Thursday before Labor Day. My last day at the university was Friday. We had a Brewers game on Friday night and the Badger football home opener on Saturday. “Isabella” was five and a half hours away from us.

The next day, we found out that the competition was planning to see “Isabella” on Saturday. If the family took her, it obviously was not meant to be.

Saturday morning, Jason got an email informing him that the other family was pulling out – They found another dog. 5:00am Sunday, we hit the road. About seven hours later, we were headed home with the new member of our family.


As for her name, I knew I wanted to find a Yosemite-related name for our new little girl. But while Yosemite is pretty ripe with good boy names, it was difficult coming up with a girl’s name. Jason and I kept coming back to Tenaya. But Thea’s most common nickname was simply “T,” and I worried that it would be too easy to go back to that with another dog. Jason suggested shortening Tenaya to just Naya, and it fit.

Naya has been with us for about a month. She is an absolute sweetheart. She loves Bailey. And while she has definitely brought back Bailey’s spark, she’s a little too much for Bailey to handle at times. Bailey is a lover, not a fighter. But that disposition is a challenge to maintain when your ears, face, legs, etc. are being bitten by a little puppy.


Bailey’s coming around.

Our vet is pretty positive that she does have some lab in her. The rescue group thought she was mixed with pointer. Our vet suggested border collie. Who knows.

To us, she’s a Naya dog.

Sad News

I am officially returning to my blog! I have missed writing – my mind is always buzzing with blog post ideas. And after returning from our big summer trip a few weeks ago, I have a renewed energy for, well, everything! I’m making progress on my blog to-do list, and I’m hoping for a positive renewal of my little space on the internet.

But before we get to the positive, I have to take a moment to share one more piece of sad news…

Thea has cancer.


This all happened very abruptly – like in a month’s time. At the beginning of June, while Jason and I were away on vacation, my mom (whose house Thea was staying at) noticed that Thea was peeing A LOT. Excessively. Jason and I had noticed nothing of the sort, so we were confused. After returning from vacation and getting Thea back home, we noticed it, too.

Luckily, the dogs had to go to the vet for their annual heartworm check. We brought up what was going on and were able to have some basic testing done on the spot. Our vet noticed some concerning signs, so much so that she urged me to sit with her as she shared what she found. A hop, skip, and a week later, Thea was having an ultrasound that found a huge tumor in her bladder. Seeing it on the screen and hearing from the vet brought me to tears.


As a pawrent, I know that a day will come when Thea and Bailey will no longer be with us. And with Thea turning 10 last year (and 11 last week), I knew that time would be coming sooner rather than later. But I didn’t think it could be THIS soon.


We chatted with our primary vet after the ultrasound results. Because of the location of the tumor, it can’t be removed. We are trying some medication that could help ease the symptoms, but nothing is going to “fix” it. Ultimately, the cancer won’t kill her. But eventually, her quality of life may be seriously impacted. And we will never let Thea suffer.

So for now, it’s a wait and see situation. And my heart really hurts. Thea is a once-in-a-lifetime dog for me. We’ve been through a lot of life changes together. I saved her…and she saved me. I don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye when the time comes.


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