Some of my best friends have been dogs. They are more dependable than most people, and smarter than a lot of folks I know. As a kid, when Mom wasn’t looking I’d let my dog into my bed and use him as a pillow.
When I was sure that no one understood me, I could curl up with my faithful dog and he understood. My Dad used to observe, that if his kids behaved as well as the dog, he’d have it made. When I fell in love and got married my new bride, Mary loved dogs as much as I did. Not surprisingly, Mary and I passed our love for dogs along to our kids and they too spent their share of time cuddled up with a canine confidant.
On a rainy spring day in 1997 we were returning from watching our daughter Melissa compete in a softball game. As the family car pulled into the driveway one of the kids yelled “Look! There’s a puppy!” Sure enough a puppy about 9 weeks old was shivering up against our garage door, taking shelter from the rain. Naturally with a car/ful of kids, we had to take the poor little puppy inside and dry him off and feed him. We scoured the neighborhood knocking on doors and passing out flyers, but had no luck in finding anyone who had lost a puppy. Before you know it, Buddy had adopted us and was firmly ensconced as our family dog. Even our cats accepted Buddy as one of the family. Our oldest daughter Julie, took it upon herself to teach Buddy all the important things like “sit”, “stay”, “come” and her favorite trick:”shake hands”. Naturally, Buddy slept in Julie’s room until she moved out to get married.
Over the years old Buddy went pretty much everywhere with us, on vacation, out fishing or cutting firewood , or chasing the wild turkeys that frequented the nearby park. Buddy’s main claim to fame however, was chasing the raccoons that regularly raided the cat food dish in our garage. Just before bedtime each evening I’d let Buddy outside one last time. About once a month, as he headed out the garage door, I’d hear a terrible ruckus when Buddy would catch one of the coons at the cat food. Amid a cacophony of growls, barks, hissing, and camping equipment crashing to the ground, Old Buddy and a coon would engage in mortal combat. Usually the encounters ended with a large coon racing out the side garage door with a dog in hot pursuit. Buddy was in seventh heaven. While he’d return from each episode panting happily, I’m not so sure the coons were equally thrilled.
As years went by we acquired another dog when son Bo moved back home. Through it all, Old Buddy was still the senior dog, although after 10 years or so, he began to slow down a bit with each passing year. Arthritis began to bother Buddy and he didn’t move as fast, his hearing faded to the point that he became almost totally deaf, and his vision began to fail. Heck, the darned dog reminds me of me. Unfortunately the time has come when I just can’t stand to see him in pain anymore. I’ve been putting it off as long as possible. But the time has come. We’re going to take one last walk through the park and check out all the great smells and then the last visit to the Vet. I’m sure going miss him.
You were a great friend, so long Buddy.