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Farewell To Our Buddy

on August 12, 2012

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” 

Josh Billings

Tonight was a hard night at our home.  One of those nights you wish didn’t have to happen.  One of those times when nothing you can say is going to make anyone feel better.  This evening we had to say goodbye to Buddy our lovable furry family member of twelve and a half years.  We knew it was coming. We knew he was sick and there wasn’t anything that could be done but let him live as long as he could.  Today it became apparent that he was suffering and it was time to let him go. After hugging him good bye and watching my husband have to lift him into our van (he used to bound into the back end with excitement. He loved to go for rides!) to drive him away my youngest two children and I cried.  I called our son at college and cried. We packed away his things and cried.  We waited for our oldest daughter to come home from work and cried. We did a lot of crying but that isn’t a bad thing.  He was a great dog and an even better friend. He’s been around longer than our youngest son. After drying our tears we decided to remember the funny things about our  Buddy.  The things that made him uniquely part of our chaotic household.

I will never forget the day we got him.  He was from a litter of “accidents” that occurred when a family’s pure bred male collie found their pure bred female golden retriever. The result were these adorable fluffy puppies that were being given away.  He’s the one that our oldest son picked out of the group.  A little inquisitive male who licked his hand.  It was love at first lick.  Driving home our new little bundle of fur shook. I looked over and said, “What’s the matter little buddy? Are you scared?”  Our son shouted, “That’s it! That’s his name. Buddy!”  And what a buddy he was.

From the moment he arrived in our back yard things would never be the same. He was a mass of wiggling jumping energy who wrestled with our oldest son but sat completely still when our youngest daughter, still a toddler, wanted to pet him.  He’d try his best to jump and knock our oldest kids off their feet but when a “little person” came around he was gentle and calm.  He loved little kids and seemed to understand that they were afraid of him because he was big.  He figured out early who he could jump on and who he couldn’t.  Our oldest son was the only one who let him.   Even after he got older and less energetic  he would still jump up and put his paws on either of our oldest son’s shoulders as if to “hug” him.  He did that just a few weeks ago when our son was back to visit.

He lived his life in our back yard. He chased squirrels and cats and killed the pocket gophers that were making a mess.  He barked at everything that went by. We always knew when anything was within fifty yard of our house. As protective as that sounds some days it was wearing.  Some days we’d tell him to shut up.  He’d look at us with a cocked head as if to say, “I’m just doing my job here!”  then he’s turn around and go to his dog house.  Until something else came around that made him bark.  Or howl.  He hated sirens and howled every time he heard one.  The Tuesday morning tornado siren testing in our town was never one of his favorite things.  They’d test the sirens and he’d howl.  And howl. And howl.  Until the sirens ended.  Then he’d take a nap.  I’m assuming because howling is tiring.  Any police or ambulance activity in our area we knew about because of the “Buddy Broadcast System.”  Funny dog.

He was a digger. I can’t begin to tell you how many time I got after him for digging in the yard. In my flower beds. In the kids’s sand pile.  We tried everything we could to get him to stop.  He wouldn’t.  As he got older he reserved his digging to two spots in the yard.  I decided they were unobtrusive and quit fighting with him about it.  Yeah. He had me figured out too.  He knew I was a sucker for his big brown eyes that seemed to look at me and say, “Dogs will be dogs!”  Besides he killed snakes and rodents in the back yard which made him half super-hero dog to me.

He was also an escape artist.  He figured out how to nudge the latches on the gates open so that he could get out and run.  And run.  And run some more.  It became a great game for him to have the whole family chasing after him through the neighborhood.  While he lived at home our oldest son was usually the one to catch him.  He usually just had to locate him afar off and whistle for him and Buddy would come running.  After our son got his pick-up all he had to do was drive down the street.  Buddy would come running and hop into the back of the truck.  I personally think he just wanted a ride.  The last time he truly went for a “run” was about a year ago.  My husband started to run after him when our youngest daughter went flying by her old man and caught the dog.  We still laugh about that.  My husband said, “Here I was starting to take off to get him when I heard ‘I’ll get him Daddy’ and this flash of red hair went by like I was standing still.”  We figured out to secure the latches of the gates with straight bolts so he couldn’t nudge them up with his nose.  The last time he got out a few weeks ago our youngest son had put the bolt in backwards.   Buddy pushed it out of the hole and then nudged the latch.  He proceeded to walk up onto our deck and look into the door while we were eating dinner. “Hey! Got anything in there for me?”  He was too old and tired to run any more but he still wanted to prove he could get out.

It’s amazing how quickly our pets become part of our family, our life, isn’t it.  As I sit here typing with the windows open it seems strange not to hear Buddy’s tags jingling in the yard as he makes his “nightly rounds.”  An ambulance went by but there was no howling.  The place where we kept his food was empty. There’s a hole in our hearts.  Tonight as I type this I am thinking to myself, “No more pets. It is just too hard when they die.”, but I know somewhere in the back of my head that someday we’ll have another one.  We’ll make room  in our family for a new furry friend and we will enjoy him as much as we’ve enjoyed the time we had with this one.  The next one just won’t be “Our Buddy”.

Our Buddy – taken when he was about 6

Buddy “helping” the oldest two clear snow after a blizzard two years ago (He’s the furry thing jumping on our son):

Buddy with our youngest son just a few weeks ago:


6 responses to “Farewell To Our Buddy

  1. momshieb says:

    Oh, he was a beautiful boy! I’m so sorry; I can only imagine how hard it was to let him go, even knowing that you did the right thing for him.
    Rest easy, Buddy. I hope you they leave the gates open in doggie Heaven.

  2. wedelmom says:

    Thank you so much. It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. No fears. If the gates aren’t open he’ll figure out how to open them. He loved that challenge! 🙂

  3. kaiyasworld says:

    I’m so sorry- he looks like such a sweet dog. We lost our dog Sasha back in January. She was sick for a long time, too. It was so difficult to see her health decline. Reading this made me cry, but it also made me remember all the great times I had with her. She’ll always be my furry little friend. 🙂

  4. So sorry to read about your dog! It’s exactly like losing a loved one! My daughter’s friend is here today, she lost her dog on Monday and I thought a day away from her house might help to get her mind off of it! Seems to be working…the girl’s are having a blast!! I would have you over for a play date too if you lived close by!!!

    • wedelmom says:

      Thank you so much. What a sweet thing to do for your daughter’s friend. Great idea! If I lived closer I’d take you up on that. A play date might be just what I need!

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