Jesse Bailey



RIP Sandy

I was inspired to write about this from a comment I received the other day. It really made me think about how I feel about all these animals. And I’ve had a lot of dogs since joining FreedomTails dog program.

When dogs are adopted and go to their forever home. It leaves a hole in my heart. They’re gone, I’ll never see them again. Ever!

But they are, going to a good home and will live a happy life. Its a good family that’s going to love them just like I do.

Which brings me to the second part of this comment I received.

I want to share with you what it was like to loose the first dog I loved.

I remember back in 1996 when my dog Sandy died. He was a fantastic pet and family dog. I literally grew up with him.


This is a picture of us when we were just a few months old with mom in 1978.

I did a lot of things with him and have a lot of memories with Sandy.

All the way through Highschool I had this dog. I remember getting my driver’s license and taking sandy out for our first ride by ourselves in the car. I was just as excited to go for a car ride as he was that day.

Then that long awaited week came where Sandy just decided that it was his time.

He stopped eating and drinking and wasn’t his cheerful self anymore.

We took him to the vet because we thought something might be wrong with him. But all tests results came back negative.

The veterinarian said he couldn’t find anything wrong with Sandy. Surprisingly enough, he was a very healthy, old dog.

The Vet tech broke it down to me like this. Sometimes when animals get in their later years, they just decide one day that they are done. This is how they make that decision.

I was happy and sad all at the same time. There was a feeling of helplessness about myself. I didn’t want sandy to die. But if he doesn’t start eating soon he will.

The Vet tech said to take him home, spend some time with him and see if he decides to start eating or drinking. If not, you can bring him back in. At least you’ll be able to spend some quality time together before you make any hard decisions.

He was my best friend. He was my whole life. He had been there with me every birthday I have ever had, and every Christmas too, among other special days in our lives, Even times when I was sad and feeling blue, Sandy was there.

I was also there for him when he needed me too. I fed him, walked him, played ball with him. Twice a year, every year, during new years and the 4th of July I had to comfort him.

He hated the fireworks and explosions. Those things really scared him along with thunder during the rainy seasons.

We always had each others back. This time it was my turn and he needed me. Except I didn’t know how to help. And that struck me deep in my heart.

I was told that he is an old dog, lived a long time and has had a happy, fulfilling and healthy life. Now he’s wanting to move on. He’s telling me, its his time. He’s tired and had enough.

They gave him some fluids and told us if he keeps this up he only has a few days. Let us know what you want to do.
The Vet tech was talking about putting Sandy to sleep. That’s what I didn’t want! I wanted my dog to get better! I didn’t want him to go.

After spending some time at home with him and talking to Sandy alone. It was clear.

2 days later nothing had changed so I called the vet and told them that I need to sent up a time for him to be put to sleep.

As hard as that was to say, it was the right thing to do. Sandy was just getting weaker by the day and obviously not comfortable anymore. It was time.

Later that day we went back to the vet.

I carried Sandy to the back room where it all takes place. It looked like a room surgery’s take place in. Machines and medical tools everywhere.

I had my mom lay one of his doggy blankets down on the steel table. It would make it warmer, softer and more comfortable for him. He would have all the good familiar smells of us and home around him.

I held and caressed him. I slowly petted his head and body while I talked to him and told him it was all right. I tried to show him I was there for him once again and everything would be just fine.
He has done his job as the family pet. He had been my life long friend and companion. He could go now and rest in peace.

I remember it like it was yesterday. How it felt to hold him while he was given the medicine to go to sleep.

We were looking into each others eyes like we were having some silent conversation with each other.

A tear slowly started to roll down my cheek as I started having feelings I don’t like to feel. Emotions were rushing though me. It was so difficult. I know he knew what was happening. I am sure of it.

As his eyes closed oh so very slowly I could feel his heartbeat slow down and come to a rest. His body slowly went limp in my arms and at that point I knew he was gone. Gone forever…..

Well physically he was gone, but I will never forget him.

I have always said that when someone passes away they only really die if they are forgotten. So never forget them! That goes for dogs too.

So talk about them, remember them, and they shall always be there with you forever.

I get so attached to all the dogs I train and take care of here in FreedomTails.

It is very hard to let them go. I get very attached to all the dogs. Some more than others but none the less I love them all.

There is nothing I can do to keep them or make them stay. Just like if they were to pass away, I have no choice about it. They’re just gone.

What I can do, is prepare them for the journey ahead of them. I do what I can with them while they’re here. I make them the best they can be and train them the best I can.

I give all the love I can and care for them like I would if they were mine.

Because in fact they are. I am responsible for them and have to protect them.

Believe it or not but there are people in here that don’t like dogs and have tried to cause them harm in the past.

I can’t speak for all the handlers but this program means a lot to me and these dogs are the best thing in the world.


If you have any questions or comments that you want to ask or share with me. Feel free to contact me at

Jesse Bailey
DOC #879476

Categories: Jesse Bailey

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