The Daily Bailey

Our adventures raising a yellow lab 
(Scroll to bottom for most recent post.)


After many years of being dogless, we are proud dog owners again.  On Christmas Eve, Husband and I drove out in the country and took a look at a litter of pups.  Momma and Pop were on sight, a chocolate lab and a black lab.  We were smitten with them both and hope that their cheerful and affectionate dispositions will manifest in their pups.

All of the puppies were cute, of course.  But one in particular kept coming back to Husband, sprawling at his feet.  We knew what to look for in a puppy's disposition:  not easily startled, curious about people, will follow you if you run the other way, not overly sensitive to touch - especially the paws.  So when Husband took off running, guess who was the first to catch him?
So she's the one we got.  Out of an original litter of 11 puppies, she was the last yellow one left.  We brought her home to the boys, who were thrilled.  The only thing on Hayden's Christmas list was a dog.  He didn't care what kind or what age, but did mention a Beagle (we had one named Darwin for 14 years).

They've been taking spectacular care of her, but of course they are boys.  So Husband and I are the main caregivers, and since he is mostly comatose at night, I am the night nurse.  This is a very big deal when house training a puppy.  The first night, she got up every 2 hours.  I faithfully took her outside to do her business, with the command "Go potty".  She did great.  The next night, she left her bed on the floor and I awoke to the pitter patter of her feet.  I jumped up, pulling on a sweater and my slippers and grabbing her.  Once outside, she had no interest in going to the bathroom.  When I returned inside, the blast of horrendous smell told me why.  If there was any doubt, my own footprints of puppy poo leading all the way from my bedside to the back door told the tale:  she had already pooped before I awoke and I had stepped in it, tracking it all over the house as I escorted her outside.

It took me 30 minutes to clean up the mess.  At 3:30 in the morning.  Not fun.

The next night, she slept in our bed.  After reading that puppies rarely mess in their beds, or "dens", I thought this was a safe bet.  She began to whine during the night and at the first sounds, I jumped out of bed.  Being a little slow fumbling for my slippers, she peed on our bed before I could pick her up and take her out.  That was enough to convince me that we needed to get a crate and crate train her.

Only her first night in the crate was a nightmare - she whined and barked her highest pitch puppy bark.  We ignored her for 5 minutes (which seemed like 30) and she passed out.  Success!

But the next night, she did not stop whining and instead worked herself up into an inconsolable frenzy.  Her cries took me back to our days of raising infants (and my inability to handle their cries), and my husband (thank God) took her into the living room where he slept on the couch with her tied to the leg of the coffee table.  She was much happier.

The next night, Husband came back to bed with Bailey's bed on the floor on his side, with her tied to his bedside table.  Sound harsh?  This is what the Monks of New Skete recommend in their book, "The Art of Raising a Puppy".  It worked.  She hates the crate.  She doesn't mind being tethered to her bed next to ours.  It's also only temporary, until she is reliably house trained and can be trusted at night.

She is getting better at this house training stuff.  She even went to the back door yesterday to be let out.  But there are still times when she just pops a squat on the floor right in front of you as if she has no idea that she should not.

She endured her first vet visit on Tuesday and has had her shots, flea medicine, heartworm preventive, and a good de-worming pill.  We're also treating a small raspberry on the bridge of her nose as if it's ringworm, although the test said it wasn't.  The vet stressed how ringworm and hookworm (among other nasties) could be passed from dog to human and that we should all wash our hands.  "Ha.  That's hilarious.  We have three boys.  They don't even want to shower," I said.  Nevertheless, I tried to impart the importance of hand washing to all three boys that evening.  I'm not sure it worked.  They thought it was cool that a worm could be so adaptable to different species.  And it kinda is.

Today, Bailey helped me write.  Insisting on sitting in my lap, no matter how uncomfortable it appeared.
   I'm not complaining.  Did I mention I love this dog?


As I took Bailey out last night at midnight, there was a rustling in the leaves right beside the porch as I emerged.  I looked, and saw the biggest, slowest possum I'd ever seen.  She slowly made her way to the side fence, then ambled across the entire yard toward the back fence.  I had time to let Bailey do her business (she was oblivious to the thing), go wake a boy to witness this, and get a flashlight and the camera.  I took this fabulous picture:

I am an awesome photographer!

The possum eventually climbed the chain link fence, walked around on the top of it, then climbed the adjacent tree to get to the neighbor's higher wood fence.  She ambled across that toward's the neighbor's house.  The boy and I watched in wonder as this clumsy, almost blind animal so stealthily climbed a fence.  And those yappy neighbor dogs that are always in the adjacent back yard at all hours every time I come out?  Nowhere to be heard.  Useless.

But kind of cool that we got to see a possum.  She was probably trying to find her way underneath the house.  Our Sanford & Son skirting held her off.  This time...


We took Bailey to her first Puppy Kindergarten class this afternoon.  It started and ended in between we might have learned a bit.  We got a clicker to take home, so that was probably worth the hour we spent in the cubicle at PetSmart. There's a few other cute dogs in the class - a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Marlow really got her attention.  The instructor took too long to get things going and wasn't very authoritative.  She didn't start with the basics like keep your dog by you so my dog can pay attention.

Anyway, Hawkins and I suffered through it and we'll work on the few basic commands we learned this week.  I hope it gets better.


Bailey hopped the suitcase this morning.

What suitcase?

The one we had blocking the kitchen doorway that leads to the hall and the rest of the house.  This is how we've been keeping her in the kitchen with us.  Only this morning, I went to use the bathroom (this was urgent!) and left her.  It took all of 30 seconds before I could hear, from my perch on the throne, her paws on the hardwood floor, trying to find me.  Of course, a boy was in the shower at the same time (We have ONE bathroom, did I mention that?  But that's another topic.) and wondered aloud what I was doing and why Bailey was whining at the door.  I finished my business, let myself out of the steaming bathroom, and let Bailey in.  She loves to lick clean legs as they come out of the shower.

So I guess the days of keeping her in the kitchen against her will are over?  A baby gate wouldn't be much higher, so why bother?  


Bailey lived through her first thunderstorm last night.  Lots of rain, lots of lightning, lots of thunder.  She mostly slept through it, but picked the times with the biggest claps of thunder to decide that she needed to go outside and pee.  I'd get on my jacket, my shoes, grab her and open the back door.  Then she'd cling to my neck with her paws and look at me like I'd lost my mind if I thought she was going out in that.  So I'd trek all the way out to the middle of the yard, set her down, and command, "Go potty."  She'd run back through the yard, up the steps, and sit at the back door.  Looking at me as if I were the crazy one.  As if I'd woken her up to suggest this nighttime jaunt.

Back to bed.  Again and again.

I finally let her get in bed with me at 5:30 in the morning after a big flash of lightning lit up the whole bedroom, followed by a tremendous clap of thunder.  I fell back asleep, turned off the alarm instead of hitting snooze at 6:30, and finally awoke with a start at 7:22 - two minutes after the bus comes for the twins.  So I drove the boys to school this morning.  Thank you, mother nature.  And thank you, Bailey.

The sun has still not made an appearance, going on the third day.    


Went to bed early with a splitting headache -- woke up at 1:00 a.m. to a slight whimper from puppy.  Then I smelled pee.  Lovely.  She had peed in her own dog bed.  I thought dogs were den animals and that wasn't supposed to happen!  AAAAGGGHHH!

Put puppy out in yard.  She at least pooped - but she was fresh out of pee, you understand, having just GONE IN HER BED.  Put her dog bed cover in the washer.  Went back to bed.  Puppy still tethered to bedside table with an old blanket for a bed since she PEED IN HERS.  

As the twins got ready for school in the morning, one of them fed her in her kennel -- still working on her liking that -- and then let her out.  She raced to the living room and pooped on the rug.  Thanks, Bailey - because my mornings aren't crazy enough.

So much for progress on house training.

If she wasn't so darned cute...

She is still scared to jump off of my bed and onto the floor.  Here's proof:

I'm sure this won't last much longer.  She also got caught under the bed last night.

A boy and I finally persuaded her that she could wriggle out.

And now, we're sitting outside in the sun.  Finally.  It's been a few days since we got to soak some up.
I still love her.  Despite the pee.


I sent the boys off to school this morning in this COLD & WINDY weather -- we're still in the 20s right now.  Bailey gazes longingly at the door when the last boy, Hawkins, leaves for the bus stop.  

How cute is that?  She loves her boys.  We walked the twins to their bus stop this morning and Bailey was shivering by the time the bus came.  She woke me up twice last night to go outside and it was COLD and WINDY.  But she was quick about it.

About 5:30 each morning, she has decided that although it may not be time to get up yet, it is time for her to get in bed with me.  This morning, she settled in at the top of my pillow, resting against my head.  Like a cat.

I'm not complaining.  She gives off a lot of heat.  And it's COLD.


We had a few good nights, Bailey and I.  She slept from about 10:00 to 5:30 in the morning.  I felt like Superwoman when I woke up.  Uninterrupted sleep.  Ah.

She was jealous of me reading -- yipping and snapping her jaws at me, trying to get me to put my book down.  I finally finished it and took her for a walk.

Our Puppy Class this week went better.  Because Bailey is choking herself by pulling forward so hard on her leash, the trainer recommended a harness.  It works.  I'll post a picture of her in it soon.  It's a little big, but soon won't be.

The boys and I went out to Lake Lewisville yesterday on MLK Day, sans Husband/Dad since he's at sea, to play in the mud.  Bailey was filthy and so were the boys.  We came home and they all fought to bathe.  Miracle.

So now they're back in school and I'm writing.  Only Bailey is a bit distracting.


17.5 pounds!  That's how much we figured out she weighs this week.  Reid got on the scale with and without her and I trust his math more than my own.

She's now 11 weeks old.

She can still shimmy under one of the gates of the fence, but that won't last much longer.  She is getting big fast.

She's been doing really great in the car with me this week.  I've been making trips around town to various antique stores and taking her with me, leaving her in the car as I go inside to look.  It has been beautiful and sunny - temps in the 60s.  (I'm on the lookout for stained or leaded glass windows to put in our house.)  So she used to whine like crazy when we got in the car - and maybe she still will with the boys - but with just me she was quiet and content to sleep on the seat next to me.  Only once she tried to crawl around to my feet, which is not a good idea considering I need to operate the gas and brake pedals.

She's got paint on her forehead, tail and rear because I tried out house paint colors on her recycled dog house and that's when she finally decided to go in and try it out.  I dragged it to the back yard under a tree and I'm hoping she'll actually use it.

"Where are my ears?  I've lost my ears!"    

"OK.  This is embarrassing.  Go away.  Now."  

Poop monster strikes again...

Bailey decided she'd just poop in the house this morning.  In three separate places.  The twins alerted me to the first one:  "She just pooped on the rug!"  They both blamed the other for not watching her.  I shooed them out the door to catch the school bus while I fetched paper towel.  And guess what was on the floor beside the refrigerator?  Another pile o'poop.  Bigger, even.  I cleaned them both up, took the offending plastic bag outside to the garbage can and came back inside.  It still smelled like poop.  I looked around.  Yep!  Another little surprise waiting on top of a duffel bag one of the twins left under a shelf in the living room.  I pulled it out gingerly and another log rolled off onto the floor.  JEEZ!  This puppy can POOP!  Cleaned that up and now the duffel bag is spinning in the washing machine.  All by 7:30 a.m.

You really outdid yourself, Bailey!

Hawkins thinks it's hilarious that she pooped in not one, not two, but three places!

Her highness has also decided that she'd rather sleep with me entirely than on her bed on the floor.  I had to move her from Husband's side of the bed on the floor because there are cords there and she chewed through one (Goodbye, lamp!).  So to the foot of my side of the bed she went.  Where there are no cords.  Only she doesn't like being so out in the open, I guess.  So in a probably grave error, I let her sleep with me last night the whole time.  Big mistake.  She wiggles.  And pants.  And runs in her sleep.  Then she wakes up and licks her paws.  She woke me up all night.  I will stand firm tonight.

Her third puppy class yesterday focused on "Take it", "Leave it", and "Down".  All three boys came and they all fought over who would do what.  Good times.  She just wants to play with Marlow, the Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He is getting big FAST.  One paw and he drops her.  But they play well together.    

19.2 POUNDS!

She's basically gaining 2 pounds a week.  I took her to the vet this week for another shot.  It was way harder to hold her, sign in, pay for stuff, and keep her calm around all the other dogs this time.  Part of it is because Husband wasn't with me, but it's also because she's getting so damn big.  And the SPCA clinic is very clear that young puppies should not be allowed to touch the floor until they've gotten all their shots.  So I'll have to keep carrying her for a while.  Wonder what the next appointment in 3 weeks will be like.  

Her highness attended her first dinner party last night.  Well, not really dinner party - we hosted the neighborhood Supper Club.  She acted crazy and hyper -- I think it's the most people that have been in our house since we've had her.  She insisted on jumping up on everyone, causing them to protectively cover their plates.  She jumped up on people who were sitting and those who were standing.  She went from person to person around the table, like a canine version of Helen Keller before she is reeled in by Anne Sullivan.  Remember that dinner scene?

We continue to struggle with housetraining.  She really hated going out when it was raining the past few days.  So did I.  Reid even stood outside with her, holding a jacket overhead to protect her from the rain.  She wasn't impressed.  She ran up the stairs and huddled by the back door.  Then she ran in and crapped in the kitchen corner.
This is her "I am not ashamed" profile.


Little pig, little pig...

Bailey ran off to the bestest-neighbor-ever's house this morning, where she sweet talked her way in under the guise of playing with the little black Schnauzer, Macy, who lives there.  Once inside, she promptly ate all of Macy's dry food which is kept on the floor in the kitchen.  After playing crazy with the pup for an hour, Bailey came home and fell asleep on my floor.  Where she is now farting out everything she ate.
 Note the protruding belly.

I go to work tomorrow part-time at the local community college.  So her highness will be left in her crate from noon until the boys get home at about 3:15.  I'll let you know how it goes.

23 pounds!  

Hers a big girl!  Reid got on the scale with her again last night.  It's shocking how fast she's growing.  Must be all of that good neighbor's dog food.  

She did pretty well my first week of work.  First day in the crate went great - no peeing or pooping. - but yesterday she was in there for a little over 3 hours and she basically saturated the blanket in there with pee.  Poor thing.  She smelled so bad that Reid bathed her when he came home from school.  She was running around naked without her collar when I got home late in the evening.  She chewed up her own collar as soon as it was off her neck.
You can't really tell in this picture, but it's pretty threadbare.  And yes, she's chewing on one of Husband's good Thor-lo Smartwool socks.  So...I think the threadbare collar is gonna have to be replaced.  With an Aggie collar.  Like this one from one of my favorite stores, Aggieland Outfitters.   

When I walked her yesterday before work, she kept falling behind me and stepping on the back of my shoe.  Finally, the Croc blew.  The plastic split, so it can't be repaired.  Now I need a new pair of Crocs, too.  I like this pair.  

I'm trying out new house paint colors on her little dog house.  
Bailey:  "I don't like it, Momma.  Don't like it."  Neither do I.  I'll paint over it when I find some good colors.  


24.2 pounds!!???
She gained more than a pound in a day!  According to the scale at our puppy class yesterday, she's already a pound heavier.  Wow.  She looks it.  

Here she is playing with her BFF, Macy.  

And here she is in a milk crate.  Sort of.  There must have been something good and sticky in there, cause she climbed right in.  Doesn't look comfortable.  

She loves her back yard - she's eating the vines, not chewing the chain link fence.  And you can see her pretty new red Martha Stewart collar.  Yes, Martha Stewart.  I love her.  Don't care who knows it.  And she has a line for pets.  Check it out.  
I also bought the Martha Stewart grooming brush.  It is lovely.

Posing next to her dog house...
Life is good.


We left her in the car for 30 minutes and came back to this:
She bit her leash in half.  Just like that.  A Martha Stewart leash.  Damn you, Bailey!

Here's her first collar that she destroyed and now uses as a chew toy.  
Good thing the Aggie leash arrived this week.

The twins are finding it harder and harder to pick her up - it won't be long before they can't do it at all.  One of them asked how big she was going to get - I told him 70-80 pounds probably.  "That's not that much," he said.

"It's more than you weigh," I reminded him.

"Oh yeah.  It is."  Sobering.

She can jump off the bed without a problem now - has been able to for the past few weeks.  But she can only jump UP on the boys' beds - not mine, thank goodness.  At least not yet.


Bailey is officially a graduate of Puppy Kindergarten.  The instructor's attempt to document this in the form of a picture of Bailey with a mortarboard on her head was unsuccessful.  But we did get a certificate.

The scale in puppy class said 27 pounds.  Unbelievable.  She acts like she's starving all the time, but she's gaining some weight so I guess we're feeding her adequately.

She slept on Reid's bed last night and has slept with Hayden a few nights as well.  They complain that she wakes them up, but no poop or pee and I get uninterrupted sleep, so I consider it a success.

Reid using Bailey as a pillow.  She doesn't seem to mind.

I gave her a treat - an almost empty jar of peanut butter.  She loved it.  

Bailey jumped up on my bed this morning all by her bad-ass-dog-self.  She was in pursuit of a Ziploc baggie that had some delicious crumbs left in it.  Interestingly, she won't do it on her own now.  She puts her paws up on the edge and waits for me to help her up.  But now I know better.  

On the one hand, she has been doing great with the potty training.  If I leave the back door cracked and the broken storm door unlocked, she'll even push her way outside when she needs to.  Pretty cool.  

On the other hand, Hawkins did a terrible job of watching her one night this week.  I came home with the twins from their basketball practice to two poops and a pee on the hardwood floor.  "I was watching her!  I swear!" was his only defense.  Not gonna cut it.  She has peed on Reid's bed like three times.  Not sure why she has picked his bed.  The problem is that in our old house, the doors can be nosed open.  So if she is out of sight, Bailey will go nose her way in to the twins room, rooting around for goodies.  And I guess she decides to hop up on Reid's bed and pee while she's at it.  So this morning I outsmarted her:  I put a chair against the door from the inside and left their room through the bathroom door because she can't push that one open.  I heard her about 5 minutes later trying to nudge it open.  She let out a perturbed whine when it didn't yield.  Ha.  How ya like me now, Bailey?


Bailey ate a pound of butter off the kitchen table this weekend.  Then she threw up a lot this weekend.  Yellow throw up.  In her bed.  In my bed.  At the park.  Outside.  In the hall.  Can't leave anything on the table anymore.  She looks like her stomach hurts, doesn't she?   


We ran out of Bailey's food yesterday morning.  It's the end of the month, so things are kind of tight.  I fed her a leftover sandwich for lunch.  Then I finally broke down, dug out some of my squirreled away money from craigslist sales, and went to Kroger and bought her some more damn food.  She ate two dinners last night.  She looked a little thin to me, so I gave her two cups instead of one.  Then she slept really good because we had taken her to run at Erwin Park.  

She also got her first leftover jar of salmon this week.  This used to be a favorite of our first dog - Darwin, a beagle.  Bailey is carrying on the tradition.  

She has also claimed the moose antler that used to be Darwin's favorite.  

You can hear her dragging that antler all over the house.   Lordy, is it ever loud on the hardwood floor.  

First road trip.  

Bailey went with us this weekend to visit Husband's family in Houston.  There were a lot of people at the house and she did pretty darn good.  She even stayed in her crate in the garage without protest for the main party.  She didn't have an accident in the house.  She was well-behaved on the 4-6 hour car trip there and back - she only gnawed on a book I was reading and helped herself to some Chex Mix when we stopped and went inside to eat at Taco Bell for dinner.  

Not too bad.  

Now she's recovering, sleeping on the couch.  



Her weighs 35 pounds!  That's what the vet told us last week when we went to get her last puppy shot.  

She was in her first commercial yesterday with Reid.  I'll update this when it airs.  She was the only puppy among all the dog extras, and I'm pretty sure she was also the only one to almost chew through her leash during the shooting.  Reid was very patient with her and was rewarded with three gift cards.  

Today she's recovering from her stardom.  


Guess who won't go outside to potty because it's raining?  
Guess who peed on the kitchen floor?  Guess who pooped in the hall?  
She then curled up on the carpet.  I think she's ashamed of herself.  


5 months old!

She has discovered that she can get underneath the house by pushing her way through the metal siding we've removed and just have kind of propped up.  She surprised us by popping out from underneath the house in the driveway.  We keep propping things back up, better and better, and finally - after a few weeks - she has stopped escaping.  She still gets under the house to sleep, but no prison break.  Eventually this will be solved when we fix the rotten siding and get the underpinning in place (read about it at    

The only good thing about her getting out and roaming around is that she stayed close to home - usually on the porch.  Mostly.  Once, she ran to our neighbor's yard and stole this:  

 A nasty old bone that she thought was just divine.  She brought it back and loved it and hugged it and called it George. Until she ate it.  Then she called it done.  


  1. She's very very cute. Reading how you have raised her with all the cute pics was nice. :)

  2. Soooooo cut i cant belive how big she is getting