A woman holding a pug on a boat.

Dawn and Bailey. Saying goodbye to her guardian angel – by Brendan Higgins

By Brendan Higgins, contributing writer

In the fall of 2009, Dawn Alarie met a female pug puppy named Bayleen. Dawn instantly fell in love with her, but she was not so keen on her name. The pup needed a home and Dawn was more than happy to become her new pug mom. The name was not working for Dawn, so she renamed her new little girl Bailey. From that moment on, the two were inseparable. They would navigate life together for the next 13 years.

At the time, Dawn worked at the Village House in Newport. Dawn is a nurse. She quickly became aware that her new puppy was a therapy dog even though she had no training. Dawn started bringing Bailey to work with her at the nursing home. Bailey became an overnight sensation with the residents. Bailey seemed to know exactly what to do from the moment she entered Village House. She spent her days or nights on the laps and in the beds of residents. Bailey offered love and affection to anyone who needed it. Bailey could also be found under the dinner tables at mealtime. She knew exactly where to position herself for table scraps. Year after year Bailey went to work with Dawn. They both had a job to do, and they did it well.

Dawn & Bailey

Bailey didn’t ask for much, but there was one rule she insisted on. This pug wanted her and Dawn together at all times. No exceptions. If Dawn needed to stop at the store for something, Bailey would become quite animated as Dawn entered the parking lot. This included a great deal of jumping, barking and shedding. Bailey’s antics made it look like it was snowing inside the car. Dawn would try to explain that she would only be in the store for a few minutes, but Bailey lived by her rule that we stick together at all times. Bailey had no problem letting Dawn know about it when she tried to deviate from the pug law. Whenever Dawn broke the rule in the car, it meant she would need to go to the car wash and vacuum up enough fur to make a whole other pug. For Dawn it was a small price to pay. Bailey had her rule and that was it.

Bailey worked hard but she also played hard. She loved to be on the water. She loved to go sailing up and down the New England coast. She also enjoyed being in a power boat on a freshwater lake. Dawn would take Bailey running with her. This little pug with her tiny legs could run as far as five miles. However, when she needed a rest, she would lay down wherever she was. She would not move until she was good and ready. One time the two were running next to a field and several deer appeared running next to them. Before Dawn knew it, Bailey had moved into the field and was running with the deer. She was not barking at them; she was running with them. This is just one example of why Bailey was considered a wonder dog.

Bailey had a unique way of getting her point across. Like most dogs, Bailey loved treats and cookies. Dawn always kept a full supply of Baileys favorites on hand and Bailey knew it. This little pug had a big bark. When she wanted a treat, she would let Dawn know by barking a few times. If for some reason Dawn was not able to get the treat right away, Bailey would position herself directly in front of Dawn and release one solo bark with authority. This was the way Bailey would communicate to her mom that she didn’t mean when Dawn got around to it, she meant she wanted her treat immediately.

Bailey loved to go to fun places. One of her favorites was Block Island. She loved going on the ferry and meeting new people. She loved riding in a basket on the front of Dawns bicycle. She loved the beach. For the most part, Bailey liked other dogs. She was even known to commiserate with a cat from time to time. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t run the cat out of the room at some point. It all depended on how she felt on any given day. She liked to keep kitty on his toes.

Bailey loved to go for walks. Dawn never really needed a leash because Bailey stayed by her feet at all times. In fact, sometimes Dawn would think Bailey wandered off but after looking around Bailey would be directly below at her feet. She was so loyal. When they would walk on the beach, Bailey had her own unique routine. At some point she would take off running away from Dawn at full speed then coast to a stop. Then she would turn around and run directly at Dawn and fly right by her, only to come back and resume her walk, side by side.

The most remarkable thing about Bailey was her ability to bond with people. She never met a lap she didn’t want to sit on. She usually did this with no advanced warning. She just hopped up on peoples laps like she knew them for years. It was just who she was.

On December 5th, 2022, Dawn and Bailey were snuggling on the couch together like they had done for well over a decade. Bailey began to have difficulty breathing. She passed away in that moment.

Anyone who ever met Bailey loved her from the moment they met her. I know I did. I had the pleasure of knowing Bailey for over ten years. When I got the call from Dawn that Bailey had passed away, I began to cry. I thought about the way she died on her mom’s lap and how fitting that was. Bailey was safe and sound when she crossed over.

Dawn was devastated losing her long-time pet. Bailey was Dawn’s guardian angel. She came into Dawn’s life when they both really needed each other. The fact that Bailey gave comfort and love to everyone she ever met is the true story of who this dog was. It is how she will always be remembered. Rest in peace, Bailey. You made a big difference while you were in this world. I know you will always protect Dawn, even in Heaven.


Brendan Higgins, writer and author, RIPTA bus driver, former professional wrestler (Knuckles Nelson), and North Kingstown resident.

We welcome Brendan as a contributing writer to RINewsToday.

To read a story about Brendan, from our sports department, go to:

To read all stories by Brendan, here, go to:

Higgins is the author of “Waking Up: From the Wrestling Ring to the Yoga Mat


  1. Pauline DeRosa on December 29, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    A wonderfully written story by Mr. Higgins that drew tears of sadness. Dawn and Bailey were the perfect example of an unbreakable bond between human and animal.
    May you rest in peace Bailey. ?

  2. Meredith LeBlanc on December 29, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    Pugs are such a wonderful breed, my pug Scarlet is my best friend, my heart. They are special beings. In 2019, my dad was admitted to the dementia ward at Village House and we met Bailey. I knew that my dad would be OK with Bailey there watching him. Sweet peace, dear Bailey ?

  3. Janice Emma Alessi on December 29, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Heart felt. We will all meet up with our fur babies someday, bc they are God’s creatures.❤️??