Chris and Bailey, Hamilton

Identity: Transmasculine, queer, pansexual, trans, non-binary

'I had a dog previously - another rescue golden named Jamie. She passed away in November 2016 leaving a huge void in my life. A year later, after my breakup, I felt so broken that I questioned how I would go on. The cumulative grief felt unbearable. After months of soul searching I reached the point where I could focus on rebuilding my life and a big factor in that was deciding to look for another rescue dog. 

When I went to pick Bailey up her person appeared strangely unemotional. I asked if Bailey had any belongings such as a bed or toys to which the reply was no. I was left with the lingering impression that there was a lot more to Bailey’s early life than I had been told. Helping Bailey adjust into her new life helped me shift into a happier state of mind. We spent a lot of time outdoors, going for long hikes and that’s how she began to start trusting me and feeling like she had a home.

I feel more and more at home in my body since beginning my medical transition in July 2020. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. For the most part, those closest to me have been wonderfully supportive. I’m sometimes read as a gay man or not ‘manly enough’ and have had ‘faggot’ screamed at me. There’s also been times where I’ve been concerned for my physical safety. 
Every time I hear about the many injustices and forms of violence impacting trans folks - many of whom are also dealing with racism, ableism, classism and lack of access to healthcare - I’m sometimes overwhelmed by what a senselessly cruel world we live in, and am flooded with grief and despair. Having Bailey in my life however has helped me feel more emotionally stable and grounded and gives me a sense of hope. We help each other navigate social situations that on our own can be terrifying. I still sometimes fall back on unhealthy coping mechanisms, but her unconditional love remains an anchor and a reassuring presence in my life. Her impact has been positive on every level and she’s always there for me in a way that no human could ever be. She brings happiness to my life every single day.'

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