Bailey was the perfect canoe dog. Sadly, she passed away today from liver cancer. My best friend was 12. That's a good life for any dog, but twelve years of Bailey's life added up to one huge adventure. Bailey had accompanied me (and my wife, Alana, and lately our daughter, Kyla) on over 600 nights spent in a tent. And she was always the first to go into the tent at night and the first to exit the tent in the morning for her morning dip (she loved her early morning swims). She was also the first to jump into the canoe, and the first to jump out. She insisted the Eureka bug shelter be put up immediately after making camp. Bailey carried her own pack on the portage but only if she received a treat at the other end. She was also the first to get dinner, breakfast, snack and lunch; that dog could tell the difference between vegetables (which she hated) being chopped and cheese (which she loved) being sliced a hundred meters away.
She owned her own sun umbrella attached to the side of the canoe and a soft cushion glued to her favorite spot in the bottom of the canoe. Bailey also loved to eat human camp poo when she was a puppy, and even threw up a fresh batch of it on my sleeping bag one night in Algonquin and another on my bare feet on Turtle Lake in northwestern Ontario. She ate the best blueberries before we could pick them and grabbed the best piece of firewood for a game of catch. She got hypothermia on the Tatachatipika River and stirred up a swarm of wasps along the Chapleau River. Ever since my mother-in-law bought me a singing Big Mouth Billy-Bass (which Bailey hated and would attack on cue when pushing the "sing" button) she gained the bad habit of jumping out of the canoe and grabbing any fish I happened to be reeling in at the time. Bailey was also the first to run from bears, and on two occasions in northern Quebec brought the bear back with her. She encouraged her boyfriend Monty (Andy Baxter's dog) to be amorous on an almost continual basis during a trip in Killarney. And finally, Bailey had close-encounters with skunks, raccoons, chipmunks, hawks, snakes and one nasty lynx during a trip north of Superior.
On a positive note, however, she did act as a good shoe-fly-pie, attracting all the nasty insects to her rather then us. She could sense a thunder storm coming better then any meteorologist. She also found the way along a "lost' portage more then once when I found myself "confused of my whereabouts" while out on trip (I swear if it wasn't for her I'd still be trying to find the portage on the remote Steel River). But most of all, my dog Bailey was the best company I've ever had on trip, and at home. She followed me everywhere. Kyla called her my shadow. I miss my shadow. I loved that dog dearly; so much so, that I doubt canoe trips will ever be the same without her.
Rest in peace my dear friend.
Bailey asleep again - Turtle River.
Chapleau River trip - just before the wasp attack!
Bailey's first trip was on the Crow River - she fell out of the canoe five minutes into the trip.
Bailey gets comfortable as Alana and I cross Basswood Lake bordering the US and Canda in Quetico Provincial Park.
Dog tired on the Steel River - same day the lynx attacked poor Bailey.
Bailey as a puppy and loving being in the canoe.
Lost again but Bailey could care less - she has extra dog biscuits in her pack.
Alana and Bailey enjoy the only day the sun shined during the Tatachatipika River trip.
Bailey hated every minute of Quebec's Desert River trip.
Check the paw out - I operated on the wrong paw during a trip and she didn't talk to me for a week.
That dog had it made on our canoe trips.
Bailey was definitely a part of the family and we will miss her.