Peter King is not just one of the best NFL writers going, he's one of the best writers in the world, period. He could tackle any subject, as he did in the middle of last week's Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback column. He recently lost his long time companion, Bailey. I'm only going to give you the opening and closing paragraphs below. If you'd like to read the entire piece, and I'm sure you will, click here, and scroll half way down. But grab a tissue first. And give your pet a big hug when you can!
On Friday morning, my wife Ann and I woke up in our Manhattan apartment. I put my feet on the floor and looked around. No Bailey. We’d put our 14-year-old golden retriever to sleep the day before. I started to do the math …I don’t have a dog. I’ve woken up every day for the last 23 years owning a dog. Until today.
And I had to catch myself before I broke apart again. You wouldn’t have wanted to see me Wednesday, the day we knew it was coming, or Thursday, the day it happened. I was not a pretty sight. Our second golden retriever (Woody, our first, died in January 2002, when Bailey was 2) was euthanized at 9:14 a.m. Thursday. So many thoughts...
In her final days, Bailey had been given some steroid pills to treat a bad limp. She had arthritis, and we had to lift her to stand, and she couldn’t put much weight on her right foreleg. So we’d take her out for her regular trip to the sidewalk four times a day, and by Wednesday, it was unbearable to watch her struggle to make it outside. First thing Thursday morning, when I approached her to tell her it was time to go outside, she wagged her tail so hard it hit the wooden floor like it was a drum. This dog was still into life. But the limp … just too painful to watch. We went to the vet a couple hours later. I had to carry her more than half of the three-and-a-half-block walk. We told the vet, Keith Manning, about her trouble, and he was nice and avoided our beseeching looks about the next treatment, and said her longstanding bulging disk was pushing on her spine and preventing her leg from working and, well, there wasn’t much he could do, and …
“Give us five minutes,’’ I asked him. He left the room, and Ann and I said our goodbyes.
Ann gave Bailey her last milk bone. “Good girl!’’ she said one last time, through her tears.
Then Dr. Manning came in, with his assistant, and we lifted Bailey up on the table. Ann and I held Bailey as Dr. Manning shaved her left forepaw. He took the long silver needle with the red poison, found the vein and pushed it in.
I whispered into Bailey’s ear: “Go play with Woody.”