Today, we lost a member of our family.  Our “prettiest girl in the whole wide world,” Bailie (aka Bailie Butt), peacefully went off to a place where she would no longer be in pain and could finally meet her sisters, Cricket and Sasha.  She has left a hole in our family and hearts but we have so many memories (and pictures and videos) to remember the time we had with her.

I don’t understand those who say “it’s just a dog.”  I feel sorry for those neanderthals who have never experienced the love of a pet, an addition to the family.  We first got Bailie in 1997 (on my birthday) after we lost both Cricket and Sasha.  My sister loves to tell the story of how she convinced my Mom to get Bailie (named after Scott Wolf’s character on Party of Five) even though Dad forbid them from getting another dog.  They brought Bailie home and my brother was on his way out the door when my Dad returned home.  Rob instantly turned around and said “I’m sticking around for this.”  My Dad blew a gasket and stormed into the basement to sulk.  But it wasn’t long before Bailie charmed him.  He came back upstairs and lightly tapped on the floor, “puppy, puppy.”  Bailie ran over to him and stole his heart.  After that moment, there was no question, she was a Brinker.

Bailie was the perfect mixture of Cricket and Sasha.  Mom always said she was the reincarnation of the two.  When she first came into our home, she acted like she knew the place.  I was in my sophomore year at USC so I didn’t get to meet her until I returned home for Winter Break.  When I arrived at the house, I saw this small black puppy in the kitchen, wagging her tail so hard you thought she was going to shake it off.  She was so excited to see me that she even peed a little on the floor.  She showered with me with kisses as if she had always been my dog.  You never would have known that was our first meeting.

Bailie was extremely affectionate.  She would wag her tail and cry every time you walked in the door.  You would then have to lay on the floor so she could give you hugs.  Then she would lead you to the treat cabinet.  She was so full of unconditional love and always seemed to know when something was wrong.  She faithfully sat by my bedside when I returned home after having Laproscopic surgery for Endometriosis.  She would guard Joey as he slept in his pack n’ play.  She would go with me for my 3am photo drops to the Mirror Newspapers.  She would sleep on my feet while I worked on photo assignments and projects until the wee hours of the morning.  And most recently, at Christmas, she sat by my side while I stayed up late trying to get to the next level on Epic Mickey.  You never felt alone, Bailie was always there for you.

It’s so hard for me to believe she is gone.  My Mom tried to warn me a few weeks back that she thought something was wrong.  But I am on the other side of the country, it didn’t seem real.  I never got to say goodbye.  It was the same way with Cricket and Sasha.  It was so weird to come home that first time and not see Cricket or Sasha but Bailie was there.  I have never walked into my parents’ house without a dog there to greet me.  And Bailie was the best at greeting you.

I can’t believe that I will never again see her wag her tail so hard that you think it is going to fall off.  Or hear her cries of excitement when she knows you are home.  Or feel her hugs when you lie on the floor and she nuzzles your neck then flips onto her backside to rub against you.  I will never again be lead by her to the treat closet.  I won’t watch as she chases Missy back under the bed.  I won’t get to pet her or rub her ears, kiss her forehead and pat her back.  I will never hear her bark at Terry Mrachina the minute his truck pulls into the driveway.  I won’t trip over her in the hallway because she is your constant tail, staying by your side whereever you may go.  I won’t ask her “where’s the prettiest girl in the whole wide world?”  I won’t feel her kisses or see her sweet face ever again.  I know I have my memories, videos and pictures that I will always treasure.  But right now, with everything that has been going on, it’s so hard to believe that my forever loyal Bailie Butt will never be by my side again–and I never even had the chance to say goodbye.

Bailie Brinker 1997-2011