Thank You and Goodbye
Lessons from Bailey 3/4/2019 | Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective
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As humans, we are conditioned to hate goodbyes, which is the main reason for leaving a party without saying anything (known as “ghosting” or the “Irish Exit”) is so popular. We like to avoid goodbyes because they are often are difficult, stressful, and, candidly, sad. More than anything, goodbyes are hard because it means the end: the end of time with friends, the end of a vacation, the end of the concert, or, in some cases, the end of a life.

This past Friday, my family had to say goodbye to our dog of 16 years, Bailey. Like most dogs, she was a faithful and trusted companion to me, Sandy, and our boys. But, as with any family member, there’s so much more below the surface if you just care to look.

Even though you can’t tell from her pictures, she was a mutt. To be sure, she had the face of a beagle, but she also had the body of a terrier, the playfulness of a boxer, and the heart of a Labrador Retriever. We got Bailey when she was about three from a family that rescued dogs from difficult situations and found them homes. Though we never knew what Bailey’s background was prior to her “rescue,” it was clear by her very tentative nature that she had been abused and abused harshly.

Over time, she grew to love and trust us. While she was never a snuggler, she always craved love from anyone who would give it to her and became a very happy member of the Petrie household.

A friend once told me, “dog’s smile with their tails” – and he was right. In fact, I even wrote last August about the importance of non-verbal communication and used her tail wagging as part of the analogy.  Bailey was such an incredibly happy dog that when she wagged her tail, her entire hindquarters wagged with it.

As with a lot of canines, she was as dumb as she was happy. For example, she ate batteries to the point of “burning” her tongue twice, seemed to enjoy, how shall I say this, “poopsicles” in the winter if we were a bit slow to keep the back yard tidy, and never fully grasped the concept that there should always be a safe distance from human feet (she wanted to be around everyone so much she would invariably get too close and be accidentally stepped on).

She enjoyed the simple things most of all: a quick rub of her belly, a brisk walk on a nice day, an “accidentally” dropped piece of steak in the kitchen, and using her nose to help you place your hands on her. More than anything, she was full of love.

All in all, Bailey the Branding Dog was a sweet girl who helped me through some of my most difficult personal and professional struggles: She laid with me after I was fired from HALO in 2008, silently reassuring me that everything would be just fine. She was there, licking the tears off my face when I was at a career crossroads in 2013, uncertain how to provide for my family. She stood vigilantly at attention while I gave Sandy CPR during her cardiac arrest in 2016, willing my wife's heart to begin beating again. In good times and in bad, her love was a constant. Bailey made me a better human by reinforcing lessons learned early in life:

  • Love unconditionally
  • Give first, take second
  • Appreciate the small things
  • Never hold a grudge
  • Find the joy in everything
  • Be loyal to the ones who love you the most

Those are the same traits we aspire to in both our personal and professional lives – or at least we profess to. I’d love to tie this blog together with a nice analogy about how acting like Bailey in business will lead to long-term relationships and loyalty, but, candidly, I just don't have it in me. All I know is that last Friday I had to say goodbye to a beloved member of my family and it hurts.

Bailey, I’ll never be able to properly express the sincere gratitude I have for your time as part of our family and the love you poured over us. Now it’s time to rest: no more pain, no more seizures, no more confusion, no more pills, no more hurt.

Thank you and goodbye.

Bill is president of PromoCorner, the leading digital marketing service provider to the promotional products industry, and has over 18 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, immediate past president of the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), president of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, and developing branding that resonates with a target audience. He can be reached at bill@PromoCorner.com.

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