The best dog ever

A few years ago, our dog Tommy had to be put down. He was almost 14 and he had cancer in his leg that was only curable by amputating the entire leg, and at almost 14, with bad back legs, that just wasn’t an option. We waited until we knew he was suffering and we put him down. I wrote him an obituary because we loved him just like a human member of our family, and so today, with a heavy heart, I’m writing another dog obituary for the best dog in the world.

UPDATE: I started this post the day Baytor left us. I’ve tried to finish it several times in the five days since then, but it’s still too hard. Too raw. I miss her like crazy and this is as good as it gets. As I edit this post, I do so with tears running down my face. I miss her so much tonight.

– – – –  – – – – – –

Baytor So Big

Baytor Nerise Lindsey (aka So Big, So Big Is A Dog, Big, Bates, Batey Bates, Marshmallow, Baytorasarus Rex) died peacefully in the arms of her dad on Friday, February 22, 2013. She was about nine and a half years old. Baytor was adopted from the pound in 2005 to the Lindsey family. The Lindseys love to tell people Baytor’s story, because it highlights the importance of adopting strays when possible. Baytor was adopted the day before she was scheduled to be euthanized. Instead of being killed, she was sent home to live with a family of dog lovers, where she had eight happy, playful years full of so much love. Baytor is survived by her human family: dad Ryan, mom Melanie, sisters Krista and Charisse; and by her dog family: sisters Chloe and Penny.

A girl and her dog are not soon parted

A girl and her dog are not soon parted

Baytor quickly because Daddy’s girl upon her adoption. She was named after a Klingon character from Star Trek and she absolutely was Daddy’s cling-on. As soon as he came home from work or sat down anywhere to put on his shoes, Baytor was at his side. If he didn’t pay enough attention to her in a fast enough manner for her liking, Baytor would pull her ninja-dog move of headbutting. She loved to headbutt people if she felt like she was being ignored or not loved on enough. Her nose was usually cold and wet when she did her signature attention getting move, and even though it was obnoxious, it was terribly hard to resist because her face was just too sweet.

“It's just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn't it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.” - John Grogan, Marley & Me

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.”
– John Grogan, Marley & Me

 “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” - Milan Kundera

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
– Milan Kundera

Despite her massive size and “fearful” Rottie look, Baytor was the smushiest, goofiest, silliest marshmallow of a dog you could ever meet. Before her back started to fail her, Baytor would often wriggle around until she was on her back, belly exposed, all four legs curled up in front of her. She was a submissive girl who loved to wrestle with her family members. She felt safe and trusted her people, and she knew it was her job to protect them. Even she she could no longer get up and run to see who was at the gate, her bark and howl was startling to anyone who might make the unfortunate accident of showing up. Her family could always count on her to notify the house of any sort of intrusion, any time of day or night. During the years when her legs were good, Baytor was the only dog who could be left in the house without fear of chewing or otherwise ruining anything or jumping on the sofa (in fact, she was the only dog who never got on the couch and only jumped with her front paws into her humans’ laps with a LOT of coaxing). During the night, her protective guard dog nature meant she would often slip into the rooms of her human sisters, Krista and Charisse, while they were sleeping. She also frequently made her way over to her dad’s side of the bed.

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” - Dean Koontz

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
– Dean Koontz

Often Baytor would disappear and when she was found, she would be outside, lying on the cool concrete as the sun shone on on her. She loved the sunshine and to smell the air outside. In fact, in the few months leading up to her passing, she would sometimes try so hard to get up for a walk, and instead of walking around the block, she would lie on her bed outside sniffing the air and enjoying a cool breeze while she waited for her dog sisters, Penny and Chloe, to return. When she wasn’t in the sunshine outside, Baytor would often find the single sunny patch in the living room or in her mama and daddy’s room and snuggle up night and tight with her best bud, Chloe the chihuahua. In fact, Chloe and Baytor could often be found snuggled up together. They were an inseparable duo until the very end.

 “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” - Roger Caras

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
– Roger Caras

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” - Will Rogers

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
– Will Rogers

Baytor made us laugh so hard we cried and she made us cry with fear many times — when disease and sickness slowly took over her body, when she decided to run away and was discovered with three bloody paws two miles away on the freeway — but she always made her family feel loved. She truly embodied the phrase “man’s best friend” and was the most loyal companion anyone could have ever asked for. She will never, ever be forgotten or replaced by her family in the years to come.

IMG_5176

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
– John Grogan, Marley & Me

 “Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ” - Roger Caras

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ”
– Roger Caras

She had the patience of a saint. She put up with dogs smelling her, getting in her space, licking her eyes and teeth (Chloe is a disgusting dog and pales in comparison to Baytor), and even going to fast as to put up with dogs literally sitting on top of her. She never complained about it, choosing instead to snuggle up and share the warmth of another pup, big or small, nearby. She was by no means a perfect dog. Not even close. But she was the most perfect dog we could find for our family, a beautiful creature who delighted in her people and treats and a nice, crunchy bowl of dry kibble and the love of other dogs around her. You knew she really liked you when, in her finals weeks and days, she would stand and hobble painfully and pitifully over to you to say hello, maybe nudging your hand if your affection wasn’t returned quickly enough. Her tail wagged until it couldn’t wag anymore.

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. [Baytor] taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” - John Grogan, Marley & Me

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. [Baytor] taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
– John Grogan, Marley & Me

Wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge, my wonderful Baytor so big. I know you are now healthy and full of joy and life once more. I can’t wait to see you again when I make my way home.

IMG_6052

“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches. I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: “You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”
– Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price."- Dean Koontz

“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.”
– Dean Koontz

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7 thoughts on “The best dog ever

  1. Loren says:

    You have honored your dog beautifully. We have been fortunate to have loved, and devastated to lose two dogs who were irreplaceable. You’ve helped create a legacy for your beautiful girl and spoken for others who have had the same special bond. She was lucky to have all of you.

    • Krista says:

      Thank you so much, Loren. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost two — we really never do get to love them long enough, do we?

  2. Laurie says:

    Beautiful tribute to you furry baby. As of now I have seven babies waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge and I am sure there will be more as I continue in my life. It’s never easy. No measure of time would ever be enough with these incredible creatures we call dogs. The loss is unbearable at times but what they give during your time together is priceless and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
    You will heal and love and another one again.

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