Occasionally, people still get afraid of Bailey despite his best efforts. Bailey is a pittie rescue, and Alexandra admits that for people who don’t know him, stereotypes and ‘bully-breed’ labels create an expectation that he might be dangerous. She always wants to tell those people the same thing.
“If you only knew what a baby he really is,” she says.
Since the day Alexandra brought an 8-lbs Bailey home from an adoption event at Soldier Field, there have been lots of words used to describe him. Road Trip Warrior. Ojitos Lindos (meaning “Pretty Eyes” in Spanish). Gentle. Loving. Mr. Bailey Boy. “Bully” is most certainly not one of them.
Alexandra has always marveled at how naturally-kind and patient Bailey is, without ever being taught. And, while Alexandra knows Bailey could win over just about anyone he meets, one skeptic always felt more important than the rest: her mother.
“She didn’t want me to adopt him in the first place,” she remembers.
Alexandra travels for work often and relies on her family to watch Bailey. Her mother wanted no part of the dog-sitting duties.
“It was my problem, and she made that very clear.”
Alexandra’s brother agreed to take care of Bailey while she was away. Which meant their mother would be around and that Bailey could work his charm little by little. Bailey knew that he couldn’t get too excited too quickly. He knew that he needed to be distant enough to keep her comfortable, but close enough to let her get to know him.
Months later, to Alexandra’s surprise, her mother agreed to watch Bailey herself. Alexandra knew stakes were high, which meant rules were rules. Bailey wasn’t allowed on any furniture. He had his crate there to make sure he knew where his space was and where it wasn’t. With fingers crossed hoping for the best, Alexandra returned home to find that rules had indeed been broken. Her mother & Bailey were lounging in bed together. Watching TV. Like any two friends might. Consider her converted.
“She went from not wanting me to have him around at all to now fighting to have him stay with her as much as possible,” Alexandra says with a laugh, “Bailey has 100% turned her into a dog person.”
Alexandra is a proud advocate for the humane treatment, education, and adoption of often misunderstood ‘bully-breeds’ like pit bulls. It seems Bailey takes just as much pleasure in showing people just want kind of love a dog like him is capable of.
“He’s amazing with the elderly, with young children, with anyone really – me especially,” Alexandra says. Bailey’s ability to love is as consistent as it is entirely natural.
“The most amazing things he does are things I can’t teach him,” Alexandra says simply.
And, even as someone who, by their own account, isn’t “a very outwardly emotional person,” Alexandra knows that Bailey has opened her eyes to a different kind of love.
“It’s been the most uncomplicated love I’ve ever experienced. There’s no judgment. Nothing but genuine, sincere love.”
Sometimes it’s seemingly small things like a wagging tail when Alexandra walks in the door or a not-so-subtle nudge to Alexandra’s computer screen to remind her that she’s worked enough for a day. Sometimes it’s a little bigger, like helping her think about her own vulnerability.
But, when it comes to showing what you’re really all about and being proud to prove some people wrong along the way, Bailey’s about as good an example as there is.
Alexandra & Bailey’s story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at ILuvMutts@MuttJackson.com – we’d love to hear from you!