Happy (Special) Birthday to Bailey; Full of Grit & Grace !


Bailey Beside the Wheels She Relies on to Get Around With and a Brand New Bone From Fish & Bone; DON’T YOU DARE GET CLOSE TO MY BONE!

The Lovable Bailey in Bed at a Portland Hotel Last Week.  Photo by Stacy Ciarlglio.

Stacy Turns Bailey Around in Her Wheels to Show the “Grit & Grace” Sticker on the Back of Her Wheels. It’s the Motto for the Private School in Connecticut Where Stacy Teaches.  It’s Bailey’s Motto as Well!

Stacy Places Bailey in her Wheels Last Week in Portland Before Taking off for Another Walk.

Today is Bailey’s seventh birthday.  It’s a special birthday – so very special.

That’s because less than a year ago she was in a medical mess that changed her life and that of her special owner Stacy Ciarlegio.  Without such a devoted partnership between the two, Bailey’s lifespan might have been shorter.  Grit & Grace is what took place – over and over.

Bailey has always been a very active dog said Stacy last week.  Eight months ago she was running and playing in the front yard of Stacy’s home.  Then Stacy heard a yelp and Bailey started dragging her hind legs.  “I thought she had broken her leg.  I wrapped her up in a blanket to stabilize her and drove her to the dog ER in Middletown, CT.

The vets kept her for a week on steroids and total bed rest because they didn’t think surgery would work.  I brought her home,” Stacy said.  It was a hot late  afternoon last week when this blogger met up with the two and friends they were traveling with up to Acadia National Park.

We met at Hardshore Distilling on Washington Avenue.  We were each sipping on a gin drink cooling off as the heart wrenching  story of the two unfolded.  Conversation between us animals lovers came easily. In her playing, Bailey had hurt a disc and it hit her spinal cord – seriously crippling her.

Bailey was hot as well.  After using her wheels for her hind quarters as they all came up from Commercial Street to Munjoy HIll, Bailey   needed a break as well.  She took turns.  First lapping cold water out of her blue bowl and then chewing on her new bone from Fish & Bone on Commercial Street.  That’s where Stacy also bought a new winter coat for Bailey for next season.

Stacy continued the story of the two of them.  When Bailey came home from the dog hospital she did not have her wheels yet.  For six (6) weeks Stacy had to carry Bailey around – she just couldn’t walk – and express her bladder three times a day cause she has no use of her bladder either.  Finally, Stacy and friends of hers drove Bailey to Eddie’s in Shelbourne Falls, Massachusetts to get her wheels fitted so they could take them home. Now Bailey could be mobile on her own – without Stacy carrying her everywhere they needed to be.  The set of wheels cost $400. and friends and family chipped in to pay that charge.  She figures that the overall experience cost her $8,000.  All the bills are paid off, Stacy said.

For a while, Bailey was in dog rehab – swimming and other such activities to try and maybe someday return the use of her hind legs.  But Stacy stopped that because it seemed to be such a strain on the sweet Bailey.  She is able to do some rehab of her own with Bailey – given her background.

Stacy is an athletic trainer and teacher at a private co-ed school in Connecticut.  The motto of the school is Grit & Grace.  So on the back of Bailey’s wheel, there is a decal that reads:  Grit & Grace.  It’s a constant reminder of what it took to arrive at this place. A lot of grit and grace!

Understandably, Bailey is a favorite of the students and staff at school. “So now that I’ve figured out a routine for expressing her bladder and she’s adjusted to the wheels we have a pretty great life together,” said Stacy.  “I’m a lucky human,” said Stacy. “Bailey knows she’s loved.  That’s what matters.”

They both are loved.