Thursday, March 28, 2024

Bailey Tuckerman Kent 2010-2024

After the Hike

Bailey died peacefully at home this morning. I was right there by his side. When long-distance hikers take a day off from the trail, it's called a "Zero Day." After hiking and running many mountain trails over the course of his long, happy life, Bailey has earned his Zero.  

Eight weeks. 

We had the best veterinarian care here in Rumford throughout Bailey's life. My brother Fred, his wife Pam, and the staff at Countryside Animal Hospital treated Bailey like a prince and helped this neurotic Dog Dad survive the many struggles, real or imagined, of dog ownership. When Fred retired, I worried. But in came Dr. Terry Mickols with her professionalism, care, and love, plus 30 years of experience. Her staff members are ready with big smiles, kindness, and treats galore for food-centric pups like Bailey. 

When I brought Bailey's remains up to the hospital this morning, we all shed tears and hugs. Dr. Mickols and her staff have endured a pandemic and a catastrophic flood...and kept on serving our community's pets. We're so lucky. If you haven't noticed, the new Rumford Animal Hospital is now under construction.

The River Valley Dog Whisperer

Sharon Madore loves Bailey and her other pups with all of her heart. And we love her. Whenever I drove Bailey down Porter Avenue to stay at Sharon's home,  he would throw his head out the window, bark in celebration and whimper in anticipation. He loves his Aunt Sharon and her kindhearted husband Mike. We're so lucky to have them in our lives.  


Of the 2000+ mountain trails we hiked, Bailey and I went up every active ski area in Maine except for Fort Kent (after hiking Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill, I spaced out and headed south...duh). We also hiked several "lost" ski areas in Maine. The most fun: Evergreen Valley Ski Area (ME) closed in 1983. Since 2019, we traveled throughout New England in The Rig to hike small-town ski areas in the offseason. Some favorites include the Middlebury Snowbowl (VT), Mount Pisgah Ski Area (NY), Burke Mountain Ski Area (VT), Dartmouth College Skiway (NH), Willard Mountain Ski Area (NY), Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic XC Trails (NY), Bretton Woods (NH), the Nansen Ski Jump (NH), Lyndon Outing Club (VT), Beartown Ski Area (NY)... 

"I'm spoiled": Bailey's bed in The Rig

We live in the western mountains of Maine and can walk out the back door of our home onto a mountain trail. Our favorites in the area, most within about 30 minutes, include Rumford's Whitecap Mountain, Black Mountain Ski Resort, Mt. Zircon, Bald Mountain/Speckled Mountain, Puzzle Mountain, Tumbledown Mountain, Little Jackson, Fireplace Trail on Center Hill, Blueberry Mountain, Bald Mountain (Weld & Oquossoc), Mystery Mountain, Glassface Mountain, Red Hill, Dunns Falls off the AT, Lollapalooza Trail on Sunday River, the AT off Height of Land...  

Sonke & William, 2015

Over the past 14 years, Bailey and I have hosted 20+ international exchange students, some for a year, others on a temporary basis. Bailey loved those boys... He'd chase them around the house or play soccer in the yard. I "trained" Bailey to run upstairs to wake up the boys for school in the morning... he loved that chore. Sonke and William (2015) were the last two kids to come back and visit in the summer of 2023, so I've included their picture here. 

Bailey upta camp in Weld

When we'd head up to camp in Weld to visit family, Bailey would leap out of the car and slink into the brook. Then, he'd swim up into the lake. He always looked good after swimming in Webb Lake...then, of course, he'd roll in sand, pine pitch, and needles. My smart boy... 

Mystery Mountain, December 2023

Typical Bailey on the trail. Smiling and sniffing. One fun aspect of hiking with B is watching him greet other hikers. I'd call up trail, "Are you OK with a dog?" Most hikers would call back, "Yes!" and off Bailey would go to say hello. Actually, he was looking for treats, but the hikers didn't know. 

We loved hiking in the rain... 

If you know Berners, you know they love snow. 

Rasmus and Bailey at UMaine

Bailey loved loved loved the University of Maine. My office building, Shibles Hall, was like smorgasbord in his mind. He'd run from office to office to office picking up treats from different friends. I took him to the university in August of 2010 as a 12-week old. We were walking on the great grassy area known as the mall when a mass of Black Bear football players headed to eat at the Union. "It's a puppy!" one of them yelled. Next thing you know, a half dozen gargantuan man-boys were on the ground rolling around with Bailey. He had the time of his life with those guys.  

Bailey and the Moose
"That's a big dog!"

We took our last hike on March 3rd up the Yellow Trail on Whitecap to the saddle and down. I still never learned to take a decent selfie. 

Bailey contemplating life on Black Mountain

Our days had a similar rhythm: I'd read, he'd bark at me for reading. I'd write, he'd bark at me at 10am for his treats (carrots). After lunch, we'd hike. Most days we'd fit in a walk around the neighborhood to stretch our legs and say hello to friends, both two- and four-legged. I loved watching him run up the hill to say hello to our next-door neighbors, Paula and Carlo Puiia.  This morning, I wrote Carlo and told him about Bailey's death and asked if he'd help me lift him into my car. "I'll be down in 5 minutes," he wrote right back. That's what good neighbor-friends do. I'll never forget his kindness.   

1 comment:

  1. Animals show us daily, how to be better people! We could learn a lot, If we just paid attention! I will focus on many of my heartfelt memories of Boo-boo, to make My heart smile again!