Saturday, January 24, 2015

My family dog

This is Buddy.

In May 2005, my husband and sons and I rescued him from a flea- and tick-infested animal shelter that was hardly better than a shack. The little brown mutt worked his way into our hearts right from the start, and we took him home and adopted him into our family.

Jump forward to today, almost 10 years later. Buddy died this afternoon after a struggle with cancer.

He was a 55-pound boxer mix. I didn't know until two weeks ago, when the diagnosis came in, that dogs could even get cancer, let alone that boxers were especially susceptible.

I know he was only one dog of millions, and dogs are born and die every day. Nothing special. But Buddy was special to me. He was the one who greeted me with tail wagging every night when I got home from work. He was the one I took for a walk every morning, up until two weeks ago, when he didn't have the strength anymore. He was the one whose hair I picked out of my sweaters and probably will continue to do so for many months to come, even though he's gone.

My kids called him "The best dog in the world."

He probably wasn't. But he was the best dog for us.

I want to tell you a story.

A couple years ago, when my daughter was in afternoon kindergarten, we walked to school and took Buddy with us. One sunny, warm day, a dog as big as Buddy ran out of an open garage door and sprinted right at us, barking like mad. My daughter jumped behind me. Before I could really react, Buddy had put himself right between us and the charging, barking dog, crouched down and growled. That dog came to a very abrupt halt.

The dog's owner came running out a few seconds later, apologizing to me. She said that her dog was friendly. Once Buddy had assessed there was no danger, he and the other dog sniffed tails and started to play. But when Buddy thought we were in danger, he put himself right in harm's way to protect us.

That's the kind of dog he was. Sweet and loyal, and also fiercely protective.

I'm going to miss our walks, and his friendly mug greeting me at the door after work, and playing tug-of-war and fetch, and how he curled up next to me on the floor.

I already miss him. He was part of our family.

He was the best dog in the world.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Condolences for Buddy. You were lucky to have known him.