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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.