Saying Goodbye To Bailey, Our Homestead Dog

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Most pet owners have had to make hard end-of-life decisions for their pet at some time. But it’s so hard to say goodbye… Not only because you’re losing a beloved pet, but also the heart-wrenching uncertainty of knowing when it’s time. 

Our mini-schnauzer Bailey. #TexasHomesteader

Adopting Bailey From An Animal Shelter

If you’ve followed along this website for long you know all about our sweet mini-schnauzer Bailey.

She was adopted from an animal shelter in 2014. 

Adopting a mini-Schnauzer from a shelter. #TexasHomesteader

Adopted Pet Overcoming Abuse & Illness

The family that surrendered her to the shelter had abused her terribly when she started relieving herself inside the house – until they found out the reason was beyond her control. She had painful bladder stones and surgery would cost several hundred dollars.

Not wanting to spend the money they turned her over to a shelter. Thankfully we adopted her in 2014 and got her the medical help she needed.

The vet estimated her age to be about 5 at the time but we always suspected she was a few years older than that. 

Training Bailey For Her Safety In The Country

As we brought her to the Homestead we wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into!

She would bolt out the door and take off running every time the door was opened.  

Our mini-schnauzer Bailey in a bunch of Bluebonnet flowers. #TexasHomesteader

We assumed she was raised in a city environment and used to being safe outside. But we needed to prepare her for the dangers of country living – snakes, skunks, coyotes and such.

She was great in her obedience training and learned quickly. She wanted so badly to please us and she couldn’t have been a better student. 

Silver mini-Schnauzer dog Bailey learning obedience. #TexasHomesteader

Our Constant Companion On The Homestead

After she was properly trained we took her out with us wherever we went, knowing a call to her was all it would take to bring her running back to our side. 

Bailey was next to us every day, our constant companion. She was my shadow as I went to check the chickens or work in the garden. And if RancherMan headed out the door to check on the cattle she was with him too. 

Rancher in Texas drought, small mini schnauzer walking along. #TexasHomesteader

Bailey Living Her BEST Life!

She was living her BEST LIFE! Oh how she loved chasing the bunnies. We knew she’d never catch them but she sure relished in the chase!

We took her with us when we traveled too. She enjoyed her time at Galveston beach. So many new smells she’d never experienced before. 

Mini-Schnauzer Bailey at a Texas beach.

Mini-Schnauzer Bailey on vacation at the beach. #TexasHomesteader

As Pets Begin To Age

Several years ago her age really started showing. It was becoming harder for her to hear or see. And those tiny teeth were starting to loosen and fall out too.

That’s alright girl, we all get older sooner or later. We’ll be here with you & love you through it.

We still kept her on her strict low-oxalate diet to combat any issues with returning bladder stones. But to make it easier for her to eat, her food was mixed with water to make it softer for her. 

Even with her health limitations we kept her as involved as she could physically be.

Romps in the pasture were traded in for sleeping in my lap, trips to the back yard and snuggling under the covers on chilly nights. 

Our mini-schnauzer Bailey. #TexasHomesteader

Bailey Suffers A Stroke

Then a year ago she suffered a stroke, then several smaller strokes afterward as well.

She exhibited several odd behaviors due to the strokes, such as:

She quit barking at all, even when we were playing with her.

She’d walk in tight circles over & over again.

She couldn’t sit still, she was walking down the hall just to turn around and walk it over & over again.

She became fearful of things she wasn’t afraid of before such as sleeping in her crate or being brought up on the couch with us when we watched tv at night. (this one possibly because of her failing eyesight?)

Vet Analysis Indicates Permanent Neuroglial Damage

We took her to our vet for his analysis, hopeful there was something we could do to help her. He broke the news to us that the stroke had caused irreversible neuroglial damage.

Not ready to say goodbye he sent us home with a couple of prescriptions to try – one for potential arthritis pain and another to make her less anxious.

But he cautioned that he was only supplying 2 weeks of those medications because if they didn’t help her there was no need to continue. (gulp) 

Bailey’s Health Getting Worse

Two weeks passed with her on the medications but she was only getting worse.

Soon it was harder to get her to eat and she began to lose weight. And things that didn’t bother her before now terrified her, even walking in the back yard or basic hygiene like brushing, bathing, etc.

But we love her so! How do we make that hard decision?? How do we know it’s time?

Knowing When It’s Time To Let Bailey Go

We realized any joy in Bailey’s life had been replaced with only basic instinct responses.

Gone were her days of trotting alongside us or sniffing out different animal smells along the way.

No more chasing bunnies or stalking grasshoppers, her little tail waving wildly back & forth as she conquered her ferocious grasshopper foe.

Also gone were any trips to the pasture, the garden or chicken yard with us. 

Silver mini-Schnauzer dog Bailey fishing at a Texas pond.

Bailey’s Joys In Her Days Replaced With Fear

Those good times had been replaced with negative things. She was too afraid to be in our lap or for us to pick her up.

Her life had become only day after day of being fearful of everything in her path. She was now surrounded in fear, darkness & silence and perhaps even pain.

We knew it was time to say goodbye.

Making Bailey’s Last Days Special

So we took her out for one last ride in the car – windows cracked so she could stick her nose close to the window & sniff the air as we drove through the countryside. 

There were snuggles and ear scratches. And there were lots of peanut butter treats too. 

Tammy holding mini-Schnauzer Bailey in her arms.

With gut-wrenching pain and many tears, we told her she was a good girl and then we did the right thing by her. It was time to say goodbye.

Making The Most Humane Decisions For Beloved Sick Pets

These pups, they leave a pawprint on your heart forever don’t they? 

Bailey paw prints in snow. #TexasHomesteader

It’s so hard to say goodbye and our hearts are broken. 

But we’re comforted knowing her previous life’s abuse had been replaced with a life like no other here on the Homestead. A life she couldn’t have even dreamed of. A blissful life she loved.

Across the rainbow bridge she goes, pain & fear free.

Goodbye sweet girl…

~ TxH ~

Bailey our mini-schnauzer dog dressed up as a cowboy. #TexasHomesteader

Green Grinch stealing Christmas lights, small mini-Schnauzer with reindeer ears sitting beside. #TexasHomesteader

RancherMan petting mini Schnauzer Bailey. #TexasHomesteader

Tagged in    All our posts related to pets. #TexasHomesteader   Our posts dealing with grief and loss. #TexasHomesteader       

24 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye To Bailey, Our Homestead Dog

  1. Kathleen

    I’m so sorry for your loss and have walked that path of pain. We had to put down our beloved mutt last fall when she was diagnosed with advanced kidney failure. Life for her, like your Bailey, had become existence, with no joy. Our mutt was also a rescue and I believe that in the back of their doggie mind, they never forget where they came from and show even more gratitude.
    We now have another rescue, a Blue Heeler/Beagle/mystery mutt who came via friends who’d rescued her from a country road. She’s still in the training phase, and given her stubbornness, may be there a while. She’s already bringing us much joy, but I certainly understand people who say “no more”.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you Kathleen for your thoughtful comment. It brings some sort of comfort to know we’re not alone, that others have walked this sorrowful path too and come through the other side. And although we’re staunchly in the ‘no more pets’ group currently, many others have said after the loss of a pet they would never get another one only to feel that tug again for a furbaby sometime in the future. So never say never I suppose. ~TxH~

  2. Candace Ford

    I have been through that heart wrenching event many times in my76 years and every time I say “NO MORE DOGS!!!I CAN”T DO THIS AGAIN!!!!” But it isn’t long before we are looking at dogs up for adoption. We also never buy dogs, there are WAAAY too many dogs euthanized every year because people are not caring for them as they should be. Those people should NOT have animals. We’ve got a crazy man now, an adoptee we named Bridger after the mountain man. He’s a handsome dog and very sweet. Unfortunately, he’s a runner so he has to be on leash any place on our property that is unfenced. We do have two good sized areas that are secure, so we walk there with him. It would be nice to let him have the run of out 16+ acres but that’s not going to happen.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      RancherMan & I are both declaring NO MORE DOGS right now too, Candace. I’ve heard many say they decided never another pet and then relented with meaningful results. I don’t know, it’s so hard to see past the fog right now. Time will tell. Hope you & yours are doing well. ~TxH~

  3. Angela DeGroot

    What a great tribute. Loved seeing her last week knowing the decision you made. Those memories will be very special the rest of your days and that will bring you joy once the pain eases up. Hugs.

  4. Kate

    So sorry for your loss……take comfort in that Bailey had a wonderful life with you and RM. I lost my best friend and soul mate 5 years ago and I still miss her every single day and every time I hear of someone’s friend going over the rainbow bridge I cry. I do hope you give another shelter dog a chance. Me….I couldn’t live without a dog or two or three in my life…..hurts like losing a parent when they go, but the house is so empty the odd time we haven’t had a dog. Sending hugs from Canada.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for your comforting words, Kate. I know time softens the pain but at this point I can’t imagine being emotionally able to tiptoe into waters of pet ownership knowing it could some day make me feel the grief RancherMan & I are feeling now. If the time comes that we’re ready to take that chance again, it will definitely be a shelter dog though. But you’re right, the house does indeed feel incredibly empty right now. 🙁 ~TxH~

  5. Patty Brenner

    I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to your sweet Bailey – these sweet bundles of unconditional love ask us for so little but give us so much <3 I have had to say goodbye to 4 beloved dogs in the past few years: each loss is heart wrenching and I still tear up sometimes. I found a pet loss support group on FB that helped me process my grief. One of the sayings on the page is 'dogs don't live nearly long enough; it's their only fault'. Another things I learned from the page is that psychologists say that the grief of losing a pet is as strong as when losing a human loved one. I'm sure you take comfort in having given Bailey such a wonderful life of love and adventure. I hope we are all reunited with our lost furry and feathered companions when our time here is done: I like to think that my sweeties will knock me down with their kisses. Sending {{hugs}} from the hill country.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      …Knock you down with their kisses… What a beautiful thought. Thank you Patty. ~TxH~

    2. Cynthia

      Sorry for your loss. Even though our fur babies are with us a short time, they become a part of the family. Rest in peace Bailey

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        You’re so right there, Cynthia. There’s definitely a paw-shaped hole in our hearts today. 🙁 ~TxH~

  6. Shelley

    I am so sorry for you. I know how hard it is having to make that decision and to let our beloved friends go. After our doggie of 16 years passed I said I would never have another dog again because it was too painful when they died. I guess God had other plans since we took in two stray kittens a year later who needed us. They’ve been with us for 12 years now. You gave her a beautiful life after you took her in, and you made the right decision to let her go.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m feeling much the same as you Shelly – not sure I ever want to feel this pain again. If God has other plans in the future I sure hope I’m up for the task. Thank you for your kind words… ~TxH~

  7. Terry B

    Going through this very same thing with our beloved lab. It is hard, but in the end we will make the best decision for her. I feel your pain on the loss.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m so sorry Terry. I certainly feel your pain, especially grappling with that hard decision. We do take a deep breath and do what we must for them because we love them that much, but oh it’s so hard! (hugs) ~TxH~

  8. Ellen C

    So very sorry for your great loss. I’ve always struggled with the same decisions and had to make it too many times. Bailey did have the best life on your ranch – there is much comfort in that.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      You’re right Ellen – she really did live her best life here and that is a comfort. ~TxH~

  9. Laurie

    Prayers and hugs to you both! I’ve had to let go of a few dogs through my life so far. It’s gut wrenching. You’ve done the right thing for Bailey, as we did our dogs. Take care. It does help to show another dog that wonderful life…just saying…

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you for your kind words Laurie. You’re right, it’s absolutely gut wrenching. The aftermath pain has both RancherMan & me wondering if we’ll ever be brave enough to risk hurting this badly again. 🙁 But your words bring comfort. Thank you. ~TxH~

  10. Kelley

    I’m there with you, sister. Been through the same thing. Nearly a year later, my head tells me I made the right decision. My heart still aches. I’m crying with you.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you Kelly, I know anyone who’s loved a furbaby so and had to say goodbye can relate. I don’t know how long it’ll take for this awful gripping pain to subside but I’m comforted by your words. ~TxH~


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