You've probably seen the posters. Every time you turn around there's a photo of Bailey staring at you from from a utility pole.
Bailey has had a tragic life. But things were turning around. He went from a mistreated stray, just hours away from being euthanized, to a loved companion in his new Chatsworth home.
However, sometimes even good things can go awry. Bailey, a 2-foot-tall, 3-year-old neutered black male Lab with golden eyes and a long, squarish muzzle, has been missing since July 7.
Let's let Elaine Seamans pick up the story in her own words:
"I pulled him from a Baldwin Park shelter after, Jenny, my sister-in-law, adopted him when she saw him at an adoption event I had organized in Topanga Canyon. That was back in late August. I wanted a 'tear at your heart' kind of dog and when I saw Bailey, I chose him. He only had one day to be adopted -- no more extensions. This would be his only chance, otherwise...
"I had never known Jenny to be a dog person -- always had cats. But when I asked her to hold his leash, she didn't want to give it back to me and it was clear things were starting to 'develop' between them. She started calling him, Bailey (his name was Marley -- given by the shelter) and others at the adoption event assumed he was hers just by the way they seemed together. They were a 'pair.' And as we know, yes, she did decide to adopt him. He had no other options and she was going through a difficult time in her life -- it was clear they were to help each other.
"He looked moth-eaten with sparse, flakey, dry fur, stinky and was completely shut down emotionally. Completely. He would have been happy to be invisible. But he was a solid black Lab with gold eyes and being invisible wasn't an option, as much as he hoped. Jenny was going back to her home in Sacramento and could not take him right away so he had to be taken back to the shelter. She sobbed and sobbed as he was loaded back into the truck that had brought him out. We would go get him in the morning and find him a foster home until Jenny could take him with her.
"He moved to Sacramento with Jenny after two weeks of being fostered and was living there, healing both physically and emotionally. His dry dandruff-filled fur became full and super shiny, looking like patent leather. After seeing my Doxies play with toys, he played for the first time with a soft squeaky toy bunny only a few months ago.
"It was recently that his tail started wagging easily. That's the best sight when a dog has been so forlorn, so shut down for so long. That started to happen freely this last month or so it seemed. When buckshot was shown in an X-ray, it was especially sad, but those days were in the past. Clearly, this dog had been through the wringer. To see him relax and trust emotionally was just so rewarding.
"I have never ever heard someone go on and on and on about how much they love their dog. Jenny was constantly singing his praises -- how handsome, how proud, how smart, how regal, how much she loved him. She was on the verge of being obnoxious! She taught him multiple syllable words, ie; 'abbreviated walk' as opposed to a 'short walk' which I would tease her about.
"On July 1 they moved from Sacramento to Chatsworth. On July 7 she came to my home in Valley Village where they had visited often. It was my birthday and we would drive to Malibu and Bailey would stay with my three Doxies. Nothing bad would happen, according to Jenny, since it was my birthday. Five hours later we came home to find my Doxies inside, but there was no sign of Bailey. We looked in the closets, under the bed, looked for broken windows -- nothing. How could he not be here? It's as if he evaporated. It didn't seem real and our hearts started to pound.
"I frantically went to my neighbor who told me the police had been at my place. What? When I went to them I learned that my door-lock had not 'caught' when we closed it and it had opened with the dogs out. The police came, shut everything up. My dogs were inside. Bailey was not. Bailey did not know the area and Jenny basically knew no one, but me in the area.
"We started printing up posters, hired a dog searcher, his own facebook page was created, placed ads, put him on Craig's List, consulted a handful of psychics, had more flyers printed, printed handouts, now posters, foam core, reams and reams of colored paper, tarps, cartons of tape -- I never knew how expensive it would be to try to find a lost dog. I never knew how many wonderful kind people would come out and become TEAM BAILEY. Amazing. Overwhelming. And Bailey is worth all of it!
"We have saturated a 3 mile radius of my home with his info. It's to the point where homeless people carry his flyer in their pocket and yet we can not seem to find him. He is chipped and left wearing tags. However, there is no guarantee those tags are still on him. I'm sure he went back to his mistrust of humans and his skin has been affected by his nerves so he's not as shiny and stunning as before. However, because he was found at some point in his life, hence why he was at the Baldwin Park shelter, there is hope and also the possibility that someone has found him. Not everyone knows about microchips and not everyone knows that it is illegal to not take a stray dog to a shelter. We have gotten calls from people who saw him in the first week, but didn't happen to see his flyers until later. So if Bailey decided to trust someone and is being cared for, we are hoping somehow they will learn of his story and help him to get back to Jenny. He is not just a 'dog' to her or her friend, he is her 'heart.' Their connection is deep."
If you see Bailey, call 323-717-3187 or 661-373-7214.