Friday, June 24, 2016

My Buddy November 2001 - June 2016

In the late afternoon of June 7, we made the decision to put down Buddy.
 It will certainly go on the record books as one of the saddest days of my life. He epitomized all the stereotypes of dog being man's best friend.  I loved that dog fiercely - because that's how he loved me.  Without a doubt he was my protector, my companion, my ally - I came first above all others.
Boyd often commented that he would never dare raise a hand to hit me (not that he would anyway) because he knew that Buddy would tear him to pieces.  This dog would sit forever at the back door when I was at work, just waiting for me to get home.  He was at my side ALWAYS. I joked that he was like Velcro and attached to my side.  For a while now, he seemed to be losing his sight and hearing.  If he lost track of me you would see him frantically searching the whole farm to find me. I tried not to let that ever happen because he would get so desperate.
See that look?  That sideways glance?  Loved that about him.  Always keeping track of what was going on and what I was doing.  Anytime we went anywhere, he would run ahead just a bit and then turn to make sure I was still coming along.  EVERY. SINGLE.TIME.
 So many stories to tell about how absolutely amazing this dog was.   Jasmine owes her life to him because more than once he saved her from harm.  Jasmine got herself stuck in the baler and another time managed to fall down and get stuck in a small space behind the bales in the straw shed.  Each instance I couldn't find her and I simply told Buddy to "find Jasmine" and sure enough, he led me right to her. Not to mention that when we first got Jasmine, she was a wild, maniac, untrained dog.  Buddy many times helped us bring her back by nipping her ear until she returned to where she should be.
 Jasmine and Buddy were partners in crime.  They hunted down squirrels and skunks alike.  Jasmine would spend time hunting them down while Buddy hung out with me, but a distinct and particular bark sent him running to join the fray.  Jasmine played with them if she caught them, but Buddy, he went for the kill.

Of course, he didn't reserve his destructive side for just critters.  He cost us more than a few $$$ shredding things he shouldn't have.  You know, like wiring harnesses, traps, siphon tubes, and even hydraulic hoses.  I will never forget some famous last words from Boyd when I mentioned that a squirrel was in the tractor and I was afraid of Buddy damaging something.  Boyd said, "Tractors are built stronger than vehicles, it will be fine."  Yeah, NOT!
 He loved going on rides and smelling all the different smells.  The last little while he wasn't able to jump into the truck.  You could just see what seemed like shame and despair in his eyes because he wasn't capable of it any more.  We would stand to the side, let him jump and then give him a boost the rest of the way in the truck.  Aging was a tough thing to face when you used to be the most agile dog ever. He could jump high, run far and fast and twist and turn in the most incredible ways. 
 Always, always, always needing to be wherever I was and going wherever I was going.  He never got to ride in the front of the car, so you know he was being sneaky to find him here.
 Jasmine and I miss our Buddy.  The farm seems empty and I find I don't know how to walk without him under foot at all times.

 Not the best picture of Buddy herding his goats, but that is what I will remember most about him.  He knew his job and he took it seriously.
You can see in this photo how he is looking back to make sure I am coming as he is putting his goats away for the night.
One of the best decisions of my life was to steal this dog from the Adam's family.  Well, I didn't steal him, but almost.  When their Brewster died, I took Buddy.  A bad scan of a printed copy and sideways to boot, but here he is as a puppy.  Yes, I changed his name from Chunkers.  Pretty sure Buddy appreciated it immensely!  My mom called him Psycho, he was often referred to as Skunk Dog for both his coloring and often his smell after getting sprayed. I called him my Bud Bud.  Boyd called him the "Most Expensive Free Dog Ever!".
 He lived 14.5 years and not counting the last four days of his life, he lived it well.  The vet was impressed to be reminded that he was on seizure meds for 5 years and was as old and healthy as he was.

 I didn't tell anyone prior to Buddy passing, but I had been getting these premonitions that I wouldn't have long with him.  I didn't want to think about it at all, but the thoughts were real and I couldn't deny them.  I kept getting images of Jasmine and I in the canoe this summer. I knew we would be able to do it more often because we wouldn't have to worry about leaving Buddy behind.  He wouldn't for the life of him get in the canoe, instead he stayed on shore as we paddled around the river.   I had similar premonitions when Cricket (Golden Retriever) and my dad died.  They aren't fun to receive, but it is comforting to know that when it is time, it is time and I can't do anything about it.  It alleviates any guilt of "I could have done something more".
Another side story.  At the vet's office, I sat down on the floor next to Buddy and did my best to pet and comfort him while he was being examined.  A black cat entered the room and came to my side to get some attention.  I didn't think anything of it until the vet looked at me so surprised.  He then explained how that cat just simply doesn't approach people, yet here it was seeking out my attention.  A few minutes later when the vet was out of the room, the cat returned and sat on my lap.  Even more surprising!   I called him the death cat.  You have probably heard of cats at nursing homes that sit on the beds or hang out in the rooms of the residents who are next to pass on.  I think this cat was doing just that, letting Buddy know it was okay and that it was his time to go. He was also trying to let me know it was time to say good-bye. Honestly, it was one of those tender mercies.
 RIP Buddy!   You were one of a kind!

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