poetry. thoughts and more than make-believe.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


This is the short story of Buddy...my girls dog and his life in our backyard...resting in peace from here on out.

We came to know Buddy about 3 or so years ago.  It was summer and my girls were/are outside-lovers, so they were adventuring our backyard and neighborhood.  Our property has an old, unusable alley that runs behind all the property lines down the street...and when you're little or maybe even not so little--walking that alley is like playing private detective for the moments you're back there.

I don't recall the exact moment my girls discovered Buddy, because they seem to know most of the neighborhood animals, but I do recall them asking me to come over and look at him.  He was living in a vacant neighbors house (she was an older woman who went to live with her daughter) and they kept him kenneled in her backyard.  The girls went over every day after discovering him and talked to him, taking him snacks.  They got to know the neighbors behind Buddy's house--and the great-grandma with dementia who loved talking to them...just by visiting him. 

This scene continued for a few weeks, until they were utterly convinced that Buddy was being neglected and the police needed to  know about the situation.  I quickly assured my girls that Buddy was taken care of, he had food and water everyday and they let him run the yard.  My girls didn't think that was good enough, being the animal lovers they are...so I suggested they write a letter to the people and ask if they could walk Buddy around the block.

Needless to say in less than a week we discovered Buddy's original owner--a woman in her late 20's or so, on our front porch with her husband, asking if we would like to "take" Buddy.  The girls immediately were 100% into it...and after hearing his story--we decided to take him.

He had been this womans dog, living on Main St. Smalltown USA, since she was a teenager.  He would get out on occasion and wonder the streets, but someone would always bring him home.  He had a true dogs-nose.  The girl grew up, went to college, got married and her family took care of the dog--until other sisters returned to the household and the old-mom had to move back in with the family.  Too many people lived under one roof and Buddy was the one who had to go...so he moved down the street to the backyard.

We were told he was about 14 years old...which would have made him about 17 years old today.  He was a happy dog--a mutt with some Rott.  He was a dog-dog and LOVED kids.  I trusted him more than my own puppy-dog-dog.

I could tell for a few weeks his hips were getting worse.  He played, but not well and he'd run--but fall.  Rosie, our part Beagle/Jack Russell, was generally snotty to him when he wanted to play--but this past week, I realized this morning, Rosie was trying her hardest to make him LIVE.  She played with him all week, running over him, jumping, sniffing...doing it all to keep him going.  I'm convinced Rosie knew this was the end for Buddy...

So this morning I woke up early, heard tiny wimpers--.  Normally I would start the coffee and go to the bathroom before going outside to check on the old boy, but he was my first concern for some reason.  I immediately saw he was by the tree, somewhat stuck--but knowing he shouldn't have been, I knew it wasn't good...

He was between the Oak and Hydragena...unable to stand.  His tongue was hanging out..I went into rescue mode. I moved him the best I could, but a 60lb dog is difficult to move.  I got some water and tried to drip it in his mouth.  I was a crying mess. 

The girls were up soon after I was...and then they were a crying mess.

Timing being what it is, they also had to get ready for school.  I was kinda glad they knew before they left so they could say their goodbyes.  And then of course...more tears.  The hardest moments where when he was laying there, struggling...but yet wagging his tail.  His heart was still connected to us..to life.  Before the older two left they both told me they wanted him to be put to sleep immediately...no more suffering.  I reassured them if he didn't pass soon, I would do that.

After dropping my youngest off at school w/BD, I called the vet and discovered if I wanted him to be put down, the pound was the easiest way.  I suppose I'm thankful in a selfish way, that I didn't have to decide though--because when we got back, Buddy was almost gone.  He had lost control of bodily functions and was breathing the death-breath.  I knew it was time.  I called my parents and work, I suppose out of fear...out of needing answers...but all that did was leave me frustrated and mad at myself.  So the knowing came to me, to walk away from him...animals generally want to die alone.  And that's all it took...5 minutes or so away--and he was gone.

I sat down and petted him more, telling him he did a good job...he led a happy-dog life.  And my girls gave him a lovely burial in the backyard...flowers included, lots of tears and missing you"s...but what he gave us was undeniable--love.

1 comment:

ClaireMontgomeryMD said...

aaawww . . . happy sad tears. bye-bye buddy.

"Happiness is only real when shared".....from Into the Wild

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