Every family , if they are lucky, has that one special pet. That special one that out shinned those that proceeded him and the ones that will come after will never quite compare. One that you would swear, understood every thing you said to them. Obeyed every request willingly and with great joy. One that breaks your heart to watch grow old and pass away.
Trying to decide who would fit into our family is not an easy task. Justin didn't seem care for the noise and was apprehensive about getting close to the pens to get a better look. The pound was unusually noisy on this spring morning. Michael seemed to really like the quite and shy beagle by the doorway. I wanted to take home everyone I saw. It makes me sad to see so many without a home and love. With tear stained eyes I walked down looking in the cages at each sweet furry face, I heard this , "yip yip yip" over all the other woofs, barks and howls. Interest peaked I went to investigate. There in the morning light was this medium sized dog, pouncing on dapples of light reflecting from and in his water dish. I giggled at how he tried to capture the airborne water droplets from his dance with the buzzing specks of light. Michael pauses trying to coax Justin into having a look at the beagle and asked "What are you giggling about?", "I think I found our dog" I said.
.As we were filling out his adoption papers, the ladies at the shelter were asking, what I thought were, unusual questions. Like do you have a fenced in back yard? Yes I said, how long will he be alone during the day? Not long at all, I am a stay home Mom, "Is there a particular reason why? I asked, looking puzzled. "Well"....She said " Your the third family to adopt him and he was set to be put to sleep at the end of the week".
We brought him home from the animal shelter two days later. April 9th, I remember the date because its my brother Brian's birthday. Brian had passed away that February. Since this was our little family's first dog, Michael and I decided to let Justin name him. We had been suggesting names during those couple of days preparing our home for our new family member. The pervious owners had named him tanner, and that name just didn't seem to fit him. He wasn't actually tan, he has some tan marking but his coat was red and his muzzle was dark brown. And isn't a tanner someone who tans animal hides? I asked Justin "How about Scooby or Rocket as a name? He sure was lighting fast when we let him lose in the back yard and you love Scooby Doo. he shook his head no, " I don't like those" Up until that time we had called Justin "Buddy" or "Little Buddy" , which my brother preferred to use. "I like Buddy as his name" He said.
Over the years the name fit him to a tee. Buddy was a buddy to us all. He followed me everywhere, he loved to garden with me. I would point to a spot in the garden and tell him to dig me a hole. Of course I strongly hinted that there was some critter in the dirt for him to get down there. He would never get into my Flower beds unless I allowed him. In the front yard he would sit while I gardened with his back to me looking up and down the street protecting me. He never left the yard without permission. He would look both ways for cars before crossing the street .Through all my surgery recoveries he wouldn't leave my side. The last one, I was in the hospital for almost two months and he wouldn't leave the front door waiting for me to come home. He would climb trees, kill snakes in the garden, chase squirrels, and even tried to climb out of the car window once to hunt one down. He liked cats and would try and make friends but if they swatted, then it was on. Soon Buddy became Nutty Buddy. He was crazy when he was a pup and so much fun.
When we first brought Buddy home we noticed some odd behaviors. He would cower on the floor when we came home, he was afraid of the his hairbrush, and when he dreamed he didn't sleep run or yip at squirrels in his sleep but would wine and cry and wince. I also noticed one of his ribs was sticking out funny when I bathed him. We began to realize one or more of the previous owners had abused him. It was heart breaking to us. How could someone do that to him. I still cannot wrap my mind around it. I don't think any of us can.
Every one who had met Buddy loved him. My friends and family, the neighbors loved him, the kids at school would go crazy over him when I would drop Justin off in the morning. Heck even my father adored him, who isn't a pet person. And as the years moved on Buddy started to slow down and his once dark muzzle had turned to gray. His eyes started drooping and he didn't seem to want to chase squirrels in the morning anymore. He would sit at his plexiglass dogie door and sleep in the sunshine while the squirrels got away with murder in my garden. He would tire quickly during the before bedtime romp with Michael. Buddy had turned into an old man.
Last Christmas Buddy stopped eating his dry food. I thought it was his teeth and I tried every kind of soft dry food. I even tried the canned food, which gave him awful gas. So we took "Old Fart" to the Vet. "Teeth are fine he is just getting old" the vet said "Try wetting his dry food. Also his heart murmur isn't helping, make sure he can rest quietly as well" By February he was drinking a ton of water, and what Buddy did eat he spit up. We became extremely concerned when he had trouble keeping down even my oxtail soup, one of his favorites. It was all I could do get him to eat. All he would do is drink and would lay in the bed all day. We prepared for worst and I took him back to the vet. His sugar was lethally high at124, and had lost ten pounds. While waiting for the blood test to come back, he vomited up what the vet said was a tumor. Buddy had pancreas cancer and it had spread into his stomach. He was extremely sick and wasn't going to last much longer. The vet took pity and gave him something for the nausea and a shot of insulin so Justin and Michael could see him when they got home before we had to take him back to the vet that evening. All three of us along with Steve, a close family friend and buddy fan. We said our good byes and stayed until the end. We were blessed to have had him 11 years.
Loyal and Obedient Friend
Adopted 09 April 1999
Died March 12th 2010
Buddy is buried at our home in Florida, in the back yard three feet from the eastern back fence. In his memory we are planning a bird and butterfly garden over where he rests. Photograph is my personal property.
I have wanted to write about Buddy many times since his death but it has been just too painful. Thank you Creative Gene for this 100th COG topic. It gave me a reason to write about our Buddy and how much he means to us. And thank you to all my readers as well for allowing me to share.