Lessons in life are learned through many mediums and at different points in our lives. Sometimes they are taught with love and kindness and at other times with mental or physical pain inflicted on the person who needs to learn something. But, life has a way of twisting and turning us in many different directions and all too often we learn these lessons in ways that can either make us stronger as adults or rip us about. Within this book titled “Bailey’s Remarkable Plan,” author David R. Hardiman shares with readers the many lessons he learned on his own, from his parents, teachers and friends. Some were more difficult to learn than others but the most gratifying lessons he learned and still is learning is from a special “angel dog,” named Bailey and the love, hope and insight this dog has into creating a nurturing and solid environment for his has been a part of why he has managed to survive. From an early age David experienced and still does many illnesses due to the fact that his immune system was faulty and still is at the present time. But, as we hear his words, listen to his every word and experience and relive his times in the hospital, the many times he and his family moved, were homeless and living in their car, sleeping anywhere they could find space and living on practically no food at all, you have to admire, applaud and praise the way this man decided from the moment he could speak that he would overcome his struggles and survive. Prejudice is a disease that some people have and moving to many different places he encountered young boys, girls and even teachers that were abusive, mean and poked fun at him because he was behind in his studies, wore the same clothes often many days in a row and they thought they he would be an easy target. Sharing his family’s background, the jobs that both of his parents had and the fact that just having the basic needs sometimes did not exist makes you wonder how they managed to stick together as a family and keep going.
Hearing his experiences in school, fighting back and not allowing others to bully him, dealing with teachers that were no different than the bullies and being called names is seriously wrong and any educator that does that does not deserve to be in the classroom. Losing their house in Alabama, not going to Texas because his father had not job and then winding up in Michigan had to play havoc on the entire family. As he states on page 47 it either brings you closer together or tears the family apart. With friendships like Tweety and Skippy it make life bearable.
Dr. Albert Penny was the doctor that dealt him the news that he might have just a limited amount of time left but David did not share this with anyone. The holidays were coming and he wanted everyone to enjoy life so he failed to tell them about the tests that were taken and the aggressive measures needed to hopefully figure out why he is so sick and to make him not perfectly well but able to cope with life.
Many people would take this as a bad sign and give up. Some would lose their faith in God but David had so many setbacks and many more comebacks that he realized that he must have a real Guardian Angel and God watching over him. He would not let life defeat him no matter what. With his fate unknown and waiting for the test results he made sure his family and friends had a great holiday season before the truth was told. Throughout it all Bailey seemed to be their mainstay as both David and his wife Trish began depending on this amazing dog for guidance, understanding and some semblance of love and normalcy. With this book you will get to know Bailey, understand that she is astute, perceptive and can relate to verbal and other commands without at times even being told. Even though David was receiving care and the antibiotics were strong when the doctor finally gave his illness a name, he developed panic attacks and with Bailey’s help he managed to overcome them. A dog with no training as a service dog and then given the name service dog later one with Trish and David’s persistence and goal to be allowed to bring her wherever they went, even with the proper identification there were problems. Some did not want him in the mall shopping and he was fined and banned for a year. The police on duty did not believe him or want to understand his issues and things at times spiraled out of control as he shares a heartfelt story about when he and his sister had to have their tonsils out. Close to a point yet sister and brother common annoyances they managed to weather everything that happened including missing school, dealing with numerous hospital and doctor visits and living and sleeping in their car.
I especially love what he shares about Mr. Wagonlander his 6th grade teacher that taught him that mistakes are okay, learning is tough and was there for him and five others that were struggling. Whether Bailey is so smart that she had a plan of her own and just helped the family to execute it or she is realy a dog, a shih-tzu with special powers, gifts that God bestowed upon her in order to create her special remarkable plan for David and his family. When they went to choose a dog just why Bailey? What drew them to her? What would have happened if they chose another one? I would hate to speculate. Friendships and bonds were hard for David as they are now because some people understand your limitations and he still has many while some like Trish his wife, his children and close friends embrace him. Imagine taking your life into your own hands, paying your own way, not depending on your parents for college, a car and going about life helping them when he could but knowing that to get ahead he needed to do it himself. Trucking, rigs, selling programs at a game, standing and selling foam cushions and getting flack from the police, dealing with bullies, not ever giving up and working wherever possible in order to buy that very first car. What a great feeling and wait until you learn which car he bought and how he went about it. How does he explain Bailey? Read the final chapter to find out. Like all mysteries some things you have to solve and learn about on your own. This is a well developed, well written and vividly depicted story from start to finish about how one man decided that even though God provided him with an angel, a guardian angel dog named Bailey who had her own remarkable plan and still does for him, that he too had one that would continue to push him forward and that is not allowing the disease: hypogammaglobulinemia get the better of him and fight to use Bailey as a service dog under the federal statues. His home state now recognizes his right to keep her at his side and take her places not permitted to have animals. In 2013 the governor of Texas implemented a new law to encourage tolerance by the public of small dogs employed by sufferers of PTSD, stress-related illnesses, and other afflictions. Any restaurant owner, other businesses that do not service people with service dogs will be fined. But, not everyone is tolerant and he and Bailey have had some tough times when people complain to the management about having Bailey. David does not have to show proof that he needs Bailey nor does he have to demonstrate her ability, nor he is required to explain his illness to anyone, yet sometimes there are those that will not allow him to come into a restaurant or a mall. Learn more when you read pages 202- 206 and learn how he handled the many difficult situations. Bailey is truly amazing and what her plan is to continue to remain by David and Trish’s side you will have to ask Bailey because only she knows what’s best for the family she loves. To those out there that are inflicted with an illness they can’t seem to get under control or have under control and feel sad, depressed or need a boost just read this story of courage, the power to survive and love all brought to you thanks to Bailey.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine