We first met Buddy when he was a puppy. He was a black lab/golden retriever who belonged to our friends the Gaiter’s, and they brought him over to visit. At the time, we had B-Bop and Star, both black dogs as well. I remember opening the door and having 3 black heads pop out the door to greet me, B-Bop the tallest, then Star and then Buddy.
Soon afterwards, B-Bop died of cancer at the age of 10. Lew Gaiter asked us if we’d like to have Buddy, as their daughter Stephanie wasn’t taking the responsibility for Buddy that she was supposed to. We agreed and welcomed a one year-old dog into our home.
Buddy was full of energy. He liked to play with Star and was crazy about balls. He would lie at the top of the stairway between the kitchen and living room with a ball, hoping we would walk by and kick it down the stairs. Actually, he was very alert, and it was tough to get the ball by him. Really, of all our dogs, he was the most ball-obsessed. I don’t think he ever tired of chasing balls. And he could do an amazing feat: hold three balls in his mouth at one time. Wow!
We used to celebrate Buddy’s birthday on July 14th. I think he was born in July, and we decided on the 14th since Stewart and I have birthdays on that day. It was fun to have a mid-summer celebration, and we invited the neighbor kids over to help celebrate a couple times.
I used to say that Buddy had his “full-of-it” days. There were days that he just seemed to keep getting in trouble. He occasionally liked to get into trash cans, and his personal favorite seemed to be dirty Kleenexes. But he was even known to eat Ivory soap.
And he used to try to push past us when we opened the door. He liked to go down the street where other dogs were behind their fences and go crazy barking. With little kids, I wasn’t always able to chase him down, and occasionally I just waited until he decided to return. This got us in trouble once, as our neighbor Dennis called Animal Control and put in a complaint, charging Buddy with making messes in his yard. I had to go to court and pay a fine.
Buddy never backed down from a fight either. Once in awhile he would get in a fight when he was out for a walk and met another dog. People who came up to the door would be intimidated by his barking, so he was a great guard dog. And a few times he was known to bite; I think he bit both Emily and Justin.
It was disappointing that Buddy was gun-shy. He would have been a great hunter other-wise. He also showed anxiety at other loud noises: fireworks and thunderstorms. We had some tough times with that. Later in his life, his hearing diminished, so this was no longer a problem.
Buddy didn’t seem old until Star died. But then he really started to seem old. I guess he must have been about 10 years old at the time. We brought home a new puppy, Tovia. Buddy was really sweet with Tovia. He would very gently put his mouth over the ball in her mouth and take it away. I suppose he did a good job of teaching her the ropes.
As he got older, Buddy did get pretty grumpy. He was never a very affectionate dog. The other dogs – Curt’s dog Taco lived with us for nearly a year – gave him a wide berth, and he was likely to nip at them if they got too close. A few times little Taco got fed up with him and took him out, but usually Buddy got a lot of respect from the younger dogs.
Buddy went for lots of walks, often with Star or later Tovia. We used to meet our cousin Teri early in the morning once a week for a walk with her and her dog Noel. Even after he was too old to go for walks, he still headed for the door with Tovia when it was time.
Buddy was on medication for several years. He had a chronic breathing problem that was exacerbated when he was nervous or when it was close to meal time. We also gave him a glucosamine pill with dinner to help his joints.
At this point, Buddy is 16-1/2 years old. Besides his breathing issues, he has a hard time getting around, especially getting in and out the dog door and up and down the stairs. He doesn’t hear or see too well. We nearly put him down a year ago when he was peeing in the house, but then he stopped and hasn’t had that kind of accident since. But he does poop in the house, and that has been happening for months, usually just a spot. He also vomits occasionally. Our vet Dr. Speights says we shouldn’t take him up to the cabin, because the high altitude would not be good for him. So when we go, Curt stops to check in on him a couple times a day.
And on this day, December 19, 2007, we are going to put Buddy down. I have made an appointment with Dr. Cooney, a roving vet who specializes in this. She has a website called hometoheaven.net. We opted for this, because Buddy is hard to get into the car, and he gets very nervous at the vet. We want to make it comfortable for him.
We love you, Buddy. You have been a good and faithful dog.
Addendum: I include this here because I’m not certain whether this story involved B-Bop or Buddy. It could have been either one. Anyway, my son Curt was out walking the dog, when suddenly Buddy saw another dog across the street. He took off. Meanwhile, Curt, who was pretty young at the time, didn’t let go of the leash. He was dragged across the street and ended up with road rash on his stomach.
–Stewart and Cheri Mayott