My story could end here, on a happy note. Tragically, it does not.
Bailey successfully completed her 6 weeks of training! I could not have been more pleased with myself, and her. I thought "Sit, Stay, Down" was what we were to learn. I didn't think not pulling on the leash, no longer randomly barking incessantly, sitting until I give the command to release (even when I jog or run around her) and not eating food when I accidentally drop it on the ground, were in the syllabus.
I called Jamie, she was devastated and cried with me. The house became like a ghost town. The energy died with Bailey. The senior dogs became just that, seniors. They stopped playing. The energy apparently left them too, Guiness began to deteriorate and not even a month later I had to make the decision to put Guiness down. She passed May 2012. Now although this was more "expected" due to her age, the wounds were still raw from my recent loss and my ability to cope with losing my long time friend, was shattered. I was shattered. Lucky stopped eating and had to be put on anti-depressant medication.
We didn't find a puppy. We found two - sisters. Glorious, precious, wrinkly, loveliness. Half Shar-Pei, half Labrador. One outgoing and fun, golden like the color of the sun. The other hesitant but a snuggler, jet black with wide wondering eyes. The adoption volunteer asked how I felt about this breed of dog potentially living until they were 15-17, I almost cried in relief, although I do not believe that was the response she was expecting.