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Buddy the Wonder Dog
June 1996 - 12 May 2009
Requiescat in Pace, My Friend


Buddy the Wonder Dog"Catching Snowballs is fun!"
  • Born in June 1996, somewhere in Nebraska
  • Experienced the socially responsible act of being broken (why do they call it being fixed, anyway?)
  • Graduate; Adam's Puppy School, Winchester MA
  • Member:
    • Neighborhood Squirrel Watch Volunteer
    • Neighborhood Bird Watch Volunteer
    • Neighborhood Leaf Watch Volunteer
    • Neighborhood Ant Watch Volunteer
    • Snow Lover's Fan Club (it's delicious!)
  • Hobbies:
    • Chewing Rawhide
    • Playing Tug-o-war
    • Chewing Rawhide
    • Puppy Fits (send email if you want a definition)
    • Chewing Rawhide
    • Wanting to be on the other side of any door he encountered
    • Eating weird things like raw squash and ice cubes
    • Did I mention Chewing Rawhide?
    • Making Lynn laugh

Hear the boy HOWL! (click here, 50kb WMA file)

Buddy liked to bark, especially at noises in the dark, but ever since he was a young pup he howled whenever he heard sirens in the distance. It didn't happen very often, so it sounded funny coming from a dog that always barked in typical short barks.  Whenever he was howling and you stepped outside to listen, he would shut up (I wished he did that when he was barking at night!). I finally caught him singing to a distant fire siren!


 

In August of 1996 the family finally broke down and did what we had been threatening to do for years. We got a dog - Buddy! Buddy was a Black-Lab / German shepherd / Chow mix-breed we got from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem MA. Lynn said it was either a dog or another kid, and you don't have to put dogs through college or dress them in designer shoes. When we got him he was 11 pounds and cute. He grew to be 60+ pounds and was still cute, but in a different way. He was all-black (though in later life he developed a hint of gray under the muzzle), so at night he would just disappear into the darkness at the end of the leash. The intent was that he would be Lynn's dog, but it didn't quite work out that way. He was mostly Gene's dog, but we all had fun with him. He was a real good dog and he learned the doggie-essentials (like no peeing in the house) real quick. He also learned tricks and commands pretty well - he would sit and stay, and he could roll over, speak, and play dead on command. Some of the more esoteric things (like letting go of the fetched Frisbee or ball) he had a bit more trouble with, but he was good natured and a real companion for us all.

And he loved rawhide chews.

Buddy quickly became a member of the family and he got far more love and affection than he deserved sometimes! He was a real people dog who loved to greet friend and stranger alike with a lick or three. He was never much of a watchdog (he'd be too busy licking the burglars to notice they were stealing anything), but that's not why we got him. He rode in the car well, and even did well off the leash when there was room to run (not very often).

And I even got him to pose for a formal portrait! I had bought some new studio lights for doing portraits, but no-one wanted to help me try them out (too camera shy), so I had Buddy sit for a portrait in front of the fireplace with a few of his toys! He sat still real well, because he knew there were cheese treats in the balance!

One thing about Buddy that was unusual was that he had a double set of eyelashes. One set grew out normally, but unfortunately the other set grew inward and they irritated his eyes and sometimes scratched his retinas. We had to have the extra lashes plucked periodically (about every 4-6 months - and it had to be done under anesthesia) to keep his eyes from getting irritated and infected.  When that happened, he was miserable and he had to have his lids temporarily sewn shut to let the eyes heal..... pretty horrible for him and for us! In his later years the eyelashes apparently stopped growing, so he wasn't troubled by them anymore.

Mid-life Update:
As Buddy grew older, he exhibited some interesting (and sometimes perplexing) adult-dog traits, something that was new to him and to us.  Read about some troubling incidents (#1 and #2) we experienced, and what we did to make sure it didn't happen again.

 

At The End:

On May 12th 2009, our constant companion for almost 13 years passed away suddenly. It was pretty emotional for us all.  Buddy had gotten "old" quickly during the last few years or so, with arthritis and hip dysplasia. Stairs had become a chore for him, especially going upwards, but he bravely endured and just took his time a step at a time. Walks were painful after-the-fact, though he still enjoyed them while we were walking. Even his all-time favorite outdoor activity - riding in the car - was a chore, as it was difficult for him to hop up into the van and almost impossible for him to jump up on the seat to look out the window.  In a very short time he had morphed before our eyes from our big energetic puppy to our stiff and creaky "old man." He passed away after a two-week bout with a respiratory infection. He always had allergies in the spring, just like a human, but his sneezing was more extreme and violent this year. He had apparently developed pneumonia as a result of the respiratory infection, even though he was on antibiotics, and his heart just gave out. I had gone off to work that morning, and the morning routine (coax him up off his bed in the living room to go downstairs and outside to do his morning duty, then back up the stairs - slowly - to get his beloved morning milk-bone biscuit) had gone just like every other morning previously. He seemed perfectly normal to Lynn as well, eating his breakfast of rice and chicken broth with relative vigor. He then had a particularly hard sneezing fit where he started bleeding from the nose, and it didn't seem to want to stop oozing blood.  Lynn got ready to take him to the vet because of the bleeding, but after a while he got up and moved to his favorite spot under the dining room table, where he had a couple of seizure-like episodes (arching his back unusually, yipping as if in pain), and he just stopped breathing. Lynn called Audrey (who was home, luckily) up from the apartment and she tried to keep him alive to get him to the vet, but he just couldn't hold on and he passed away quietly in Audrey's arms.   Lynn called me at work to give me the terrible news, and I came home and we all took him for one last ride in the car to the vet's, and made arrangements for him to be cremated.  That was one tough car trip.

The first few weeks after he passed away was a frequent adjustment to not having him around.  Cleaning the dinner dishes was a poignant time, as he loved being our pre-wash cycle, especially when there were meat scraps and meat juices on the plates - chicken was his all-time favorite, but steak wasn't too far behind on the preference list.  We found ourselves looking for him at the top of the stairs (we live in a split-entry) when we left or came home - he always greeted us as if we had been away for months when we came in the house, and looked so forlorn when we went out the door.  On occasion, Lynn found herself reaching out to pat him as she woke up from a nap.  She likes to nap in the sunlight in the living room on the couch by the picture window, and whenever she did Buddy would park himself up against the couch as if to keep her from rolling over and falling off.  Once she fell asleep he would lie down right there and "guard" her for the duration of the nap.  As she woke up, he would sit back up and she would rub his head.  So many little things we miss.

Buddy lived a long and good life (he would have been 13 years old in June), and was a happy and well-loved member of the family.  He will be missed dearly.  If you are so inclined, send a few dollars to your local animal shelter in his name. He was a shelter-dog, and a finer shelter-dog there never was.

 

Epilogue:

For the past year, Buddy's ashes have been on the Family TreeHouse living room mantle, in a simple wooden box, with his picture, his collar, and the few cards and notes we got at his passing. A year on the mantle is long enough. On 12 May 2010, the first anniversary of his death, Lynn and I took a walk to Buddy's back yard stomping grounds and his favorite walking areas. We scattered his ashes in these, his favorite places to be. He can now spend eternity in the places he loved the most. Requiescat in Pace, My Friend.



VIDEO - Buddy and Bailey Playing (31 Aug 1996)

VIDEO - Buddy and Lynn; A Test of Wills (15 Sept 1996)
"Are we there yet?? Riding in the van makes me sleepy!"
His favorite spot - sitting on the stairs, watching out through the front door! Doggie-TV!

VIDEO - Buddy Eating Snow
Ever see a dog smile?  Looks a bit evil........
Buddy doing his Elvis Impersonation:
"Uuuuh, Thank-u-very-much!"

 

 

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