Bailey’s Farm Dog Apprenticeship Program

Bailey’s Farm Dog Apprenticeship Program has enrolled its first young student. Jaxson was rescued from a not-so-great situation by some caring people who couldn’t keep him, but wanted him to have a better life. Luckily for everyone involved, they happened to ask me if I wanted a puppy. Well, of course I wanted a puppy! I had been wanting a puppy for a while. We were finally on our homestead but still renovating the house and really not quite ready to get a puppy. So, we were holding off, despite my urges to go to the local shelter and bring all the doggies home with me…

 

Me and Emberbeast on the day of her interview with her new family (2014).Bailey, Ember, and another former foster (2014).

I had specifically been wanting a “Pit Bull” puppy. Never mind the fact that that’s not a real breed… I have known a number of pitties and they were all wonderful dogs. We fostered a pitty-pup back in Florida who I totally fell in love with… but, we had goals. We had to get to the mountains. Finding a pet-friendly rental house while we found land was going to be challenging enough with a dog and two cats… it might be impossible with two dogs and two cats, especially a “pit bull”. Not to mention the logistics of moving, selling a house, buying a homestead and moving again, with the additional living-being to care for. So, when Ember (our former foster) finally got adopted, I cried and cried, but I let her go. And kicked myself ever since… Of the over a dozen dogs we fostered, she’s the only one that broke my heart to let go.

 

I was going to need a pitty-pup of my own once we got settled. I had been looking forward to that day with excitement. But, despite my eagerness I knew it would be best to wait, at least until the renovations were done.  

The stuff in *asterisks* is my internal monologue. Lol

At work a few weeks ago, one of my students saw the photos of Bailey and some of our former foster dogs in my office. He’s about to leave and turns to me and says something to the effect of “You don’t want a puppy, by chance, do you?”

“Um…..” *Sarah, you cannot just take every puppy someone offers you.* “What do you mean?”

He explains that their neighbor’s dogs keep having puppies (insert eye-roll here) and one of the pups from the newest 9 week old litter was getting beat up. *Oh! Gosh! Sarah! You have to save him!* They took the puppy home to get him out of that situation. But, their dog was not thrilled with the new addition and they didn’t have the time or experience with those kinds of issues to deal with that. So, they were looking for a new home for him but couldn’t wait much longer. If they didn’t find a home for him soon, they would have no choice but to take him to the shelter. But, he said he could tell from the photos in my office that my dogs are happy and well-loved. So, he gave it a shot.

I asked “What kind of puppy is he?”

“He’s a Pit”

*Don’t do it….*  “Do you have any photos?”

He pulls out his phone and proceeds to show me photos of an adorable little black and white *AHH!!! Moo-cow spots like Mr. Bailey!* (I might have actually said that out-loud… at work…) puppy with scabs from sibling-attacks on his head. At that point, I nearly told him I’d take the dog, but I restrained myself because I am one half of a partnership and we don’t make those kinds of decisions without the other partner. I told the student that I would have to talk to Michael and asked if he could send me some photos for me to show Michael. He obliged.

On the drive home  with Michael (since we work at the same place we usually ride together) that evening I broached the subject. Mostly thinking it’d get shot-down; this isn’t the first time I mentioned my desire for a puppy. *He didn’t say no…*

When we got home I showed Michael the puppy pictures the student emailed to me. We “aww’d” at the cute puppy photos and went about our evening activities. *He still didn’t say no.* About an hour later, I couldn’t take it anymore. “So, what should I tell him about the puppy.” Very casual… you know.

I don’t remember Michael’s exact words but it was something like: “Oh, I thought it was already decided…. We’re going to need puppy food.”

*AHHH!!! PUPPY!!! …Act casual*

“Are you sure? I can tell him we need some more time to think about it.”

“We can’t let him go to the shelter.”

“You’re so right.”

*AHHHHH!!! PUPPYYYYY!!!!*

So, I emailed the student back and told him we’d take the puppy. The student said he’d bring the pup to the office the next day.

On our way to work the next morning, I brought up the subject of puppy names. It often takes me weeks to name a pet, but 2 names I’d thought of since agreeing to take the puppy were sticking in my head. I suggested Jaxson. Michael just said “Wow”.

I was like, “Well, I was thinking since we’re in Jackson county and he kinda looks like a Jackson, but more a Jax. But I have another name I was thinking too, wanna hear it?”

“You don’t even know why I said ‘wow’”
“Um… Why?”

“Because that’s the exact name I thought of when I saw his photos last night.”

*Woah!*

Of all the names out there, for us to both independently pick the same one for different reasons, told us something. We had a name, as long as it fit him when we met him.

After what seemed like the longest workday ever, that evening we met the student in the parking lot and this little pupper was snoring in the passenger seat of his pick-up. We chatted a bit while watching the pup stumble around the grass and chew on mulch. His wife is an herbalist (how neat is that!?) and they are interested in a lot of the same stuff Michael and I are. So, we made plans for them to visit the pup in a few weeks and go on a plant walk. He gave Jax a hug, and we took our new pup home. 

The introductions at home went well. Jaxson was a bit intimidated by Bailey. Which makes sense considering his history. But, this plays to Bailey’s insecurities nicely. Bailey is boss, but is a (mostly)   patient, benevolent leader.  Bailey and Jax are two peas in a pod; Jax wants to do everything Bailey does, just like big-little brother relationships should be. Jax and Trigger can wrestle and play for hours since they both still have their puppy exuberance. Jax wants to play with the cats, they do not agree. He’s just scared enough of them to stop him from getting too rambunctious and that’s about as much as you can ask for with a pup. He’s got to learn not to chase the chickens but, again, he just wants to play. He doesn’t understand why they don’t want to play with him, he’s a fun guy. He’s a fast learner. He learned his name in a matter of days and already knows a bunch of words like NO, sit, lay down, go potty, outside, and some others. He knows what he’s supposed to do but sometimes lacks the self-control to do it. He’s super sweet, snuggly, loving, goofy, awkward, handsome, smart, and an all-around good guy. We look forward to seeing him grow into his giant paws and mature into the fantastic ambassador for his breed we know he will be.

 

So, Everyone, Meet Jaxson. Apprentice to the great Mr. Bailey, of Bailey’s Farm Dog Apprenticeship Program.

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