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Mom’s New Pup

Could Mom ever love another dog as much as she’d loved Bailey?

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Credit: Getty Images

For 12 years after my dad died, Mom’s golden Lab/white German Shepherd mix had been her faithful companion.

We’d found the ad for puppies in the newspaper and before long little Bailey and Mom were inseparable. They’d head for the fields behind Mom’s house almost daily. Bailey would run through the dandelions while Mom looked on.

When she told me that the vet had diagnosed Bailey with leukemia, I could hear the worry in her voice right away. There would be tough decisions ahead. After several months on medication, Bailey had to be put to sleep.

My siblings and I felt a new dog would help Mom cope with the loss of Bailey, but Mom wouldn’t hear of it. “I can’t raise a puppy,” she said, “I’m 80, for Heaven’s sake!”

“What about an older dog?” I asked.

“I don’t think so,” she demurred. “No dog can replace Bailey. If God wants me to have a new dog in my life, he’ll make it clear to me.”

As much as she protested, I knew a part of her longed for the friendship that a dog provides. She still kept Bailey’s collar and leash near the door, as if waiting for him to come back.

I called my friend Theresa, who runs an animal rescue near her house. “Could you keep an eye out for an older dog that’d be good for my mom?” I asked. “Sure!” Theresa responded.

The very next day Theresa called me back. “I’ve got a five-year-old yellow Lab—spayed, mellow, and very loving.” She sounded perfect. But would Mom want her? What about the sign from God she was waiting for?

“I’ll have to ask my mom,” I said. “She still hasn’t gotten over losing her best friend.”

“Well, let me know,” Theresa said. “She’s here waiting for a good home. Her name is Bailey.”

It was just the sign Mom was looking for. The dog and Mom took to each other quickly. Slipping the collar on the dog, I heard Mom whisper a prayer. “Thank you, God, for bringing Bailey back into my life.”

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