Tuesday, May 29, 2007
In Memory of Buddy
Hi, everyone! Welcome back from the three-day weekend! I'll bring on the funny in just a second, but I wanted to take a moment and vent a bit. I realize that we are at war, gas prices are insane, and you didn't come to this page to hear me whine, but I lost my dear friend yesterday, and wanted to tell you a bit about him.
Buddy is there on the left, graciously sharing his chair with Molly. Buddy was a rescue dog - he had been burned with cigarettes on both ears, as well as his back right leg. He was finally taken away from his previous owners when they planned to shoot him for digging under their fence and getting into the neighbor's yard.
When I came to get Buddy, the cigarette burn on his leg had become infected, and the vet had put some green antibiotic goop on it. When he saw me for the first time he was also wearing a clown collar to keep from licking it off. We locked eyes, and he charged right at me, rubbing his head against my leg and the goop onto my socks. Of course, I had to take him.
Buddy was nobody's fool. He knew how awful, abusive and cruel the world could be. Everyone but my Beloved and me scared him something awful. But he never snapped at a human being - his preferred mode of defense was to cry.
He was a very noisy dog, often waking me up at 5 a.m. with his grunting and yowling. He and the other male dog would often growl at each other, making the most gutteral noises that rarely resulted in much of anything. He liked to dig in my back yard, of course. There are a few tulip bulbs I need to replant.
He was my pal for about nine years. He loved to fall asleep in my lap - I think it was one of the few times he really felt safe. His whole stocky body would turn into a bag of oatmeal, and I'd tickle his feet. He would follow me around the house, and many times would look at me with those big chocolate eyes and sigh heavily.
I guess Buddy doesn't make for a very interesting read. He wasn't very eager to please and always seemed to be waiting for the abuse to start again. But he trusted us, and loved us with all his heart.
Buddy's problem was that he was a beagle/dauchshund mix, which meant he had a stocky body that was elongated, so his spine didn't support him very well. We had dealt with his back and neck problems over the years. In addition, that wound on his leg didn't heal very well, and he had a scar the size of a deck of playing cards on that leg that never grew hair - a constant reminder of what some sick people in the world are capable of.
Well, we could use cream rinse on the scar to try and keep the skin supple, but the back problems caught up to us. A couple of months ago - and this is no exaggeration - Buddy pinched a nerve and screamed for hours until the shot the vet gave him took effect. Last saturday, the pain returned - to his neck this time. He screeched every time he moved. He couldn't lower his head to eat, so my Beloved gave him dog food attached to bread with peanut butter. He whimpered nonstop, pausing only to scream every time he moved his head. We gave him the maximum dosage of medicine, and aspirin on top of that. Nothing was working this time.
Yesterday morning, he could not stop howling in pain. Of course, it was Memorial Day, so good luck finding a vet. Well, God watches out for fools like me, because I started calling vets at random and happened to one in his office.
We drove Buddy to the vet, and he screeched the entire way. He was begging us to make the hurting stop. We were his family, and we had always helped him before, so why not now? When we got him to the vet, he was convulsing in pain which only made things worse.
Buddy was given two shots - the first one knocked him out. I was heartbroken when he closed his eyes and his contorted face relaxed. Seeing him at peace only made me feel that much sadder for the pain he went through that I wasn't able to end. When Buddy was given the second shot, I said goodbye. Through nonstop tears, I kissed his little head and told him how much I loved him. I prayed that he heard me somehow and that he knew how sorry I was that I wasn't able to help him in any other way.
For almost ten years, he knew I would protect him. Letting him go into the next life was so hard, and of course there is a point that he was on that journey alone. I felt a hole in my heart from the second he left me. I've prayed many times that God would keep an eye on him and have him wait for me, preferably in the company of all the other pets we've had and lost.
I almost made it through writing this without tears. I know other people have much bigger problems, but I lost my friend yesterday. And it kills me that I'll never see him again. My only consolation is that wherever he is, he is beyond pain at last. I pray he took the love I had for him with him wherever he went.
Billy Graham once said that it's perfectly reasonable to think that our pets will join us in Heaven. After all, it's Heaven! I truly hope he's right. And I hope Buddy will be there waiting for me with a chair picked out that we can fall asleep on together again.