As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was able to spend 3 weeks in February down in Southern California helping my daughter-in-law with her post operative care. That also meant helping out with their 3 dogs. Buddy and his friends made sure I did not get bored. Let me introduce you to them.
Sadie is the youngest, a lively year old miniature dachshund who loves to ride on your foot as you shuffle your way to the kitchen for morning coffee. She is quite affectionate and enjoys being picked up to be cuddled as she slathers you with “kisses”. Sadie is not troubled with low self-esteem issues. On the contrary, she envisions herself larger than life as she prances throughout the house, head held high, looking this way and that. She sends the local back yard squirrels and lizards scurrying for their life with her seemingly 100 decibel bark. At night, she will completely burrow under the blanket throws on the couch to where you think she will surely suffocate. With personality plus, she is most loved.
Berta is an 8 year old rescue beagle who is not quite as affectionate as Sadie. She had “issues” with visiting male humans in her earlier life but has become more mellow over time. Berta has a bit of mischievous nature in her. Son Family Man believes she actually has hidden thumbs in her front paws allowing her to open doors, drawers and cabinets. Berta is also tenacious. When these secret thumbs are not effective, she resorts to her teeth to accomplish her goals. She has a penchant for chocolate, sending her to the Vet at least twice that I know of. She has consumed vast amounts of peanut oil from a turkey fryer and has survived. Leave your plate of food ANYWHERE within her reach and it will disappear like magic. But alas, when Berta looks at you with those big eyes, your heart just melts.
Buddy is also a rescue beagle and at nearly 15, is the patriarch of his friends. Even though Berta has been the initiator of trouble, Buddy has happily joined in. He has also relished chocolate and peanut oil with the same consequences. I’v known Buddy since he was a year and a half old. Buddy would go crazy when he heard you coming home, barking or braying or what ever that special sound is that only beagles make. Buddy was a bit of a chewer in his younger days but like Berta, mellowed out over the years.
He and my Daughter-in-law have a special bond. Buddy was the dog Son Family Man and his wife had before kids. Buddy was their “first”.
This trip I was told Buddy had a bit of dementia. He always thought he was hungry and would bark constantly until he was fed. The barking started about 2:00AM. Son Family Man would feed all the dogs at 7:00AM before he left for work but Buddy never made it to his next feeding at 3:00PM. The first week he would start the barking at 2:00PM, then 1:00PM then 12:30PM. The first line of defense was carrots. Buddy loves carrots. That would work for about a half an hour before the barking would start up again. An apple was next. Again, I only got a half hour reprieve before the barking started. Then it became a contest between Buddy and I. I would try to ignore him by putting a book up to my face. No eye contact, right? He would just walk around my chair till he could see me. I think the longest I could endure the barking was 20 min.
He wore me down every time. Nothing would suffice other than his regular dog food.
Buddy had been slowing down for some time but this trip, I saw dramatic changes. He had become thin beyond belief. He needed to be lifted on and off the couch and at times, his back legs would just fail him. He was drinking copious amounts of water and at times, just open his mouth to just have it all come back out. I recognized these signs from the many beloved canines I’v had to put down over the years. It’s hard when you see the end coming sooner than the owners. They don’t want to go there and you don’t want to tell them. Son Family Man was guessing months. I knew it would probably be weeks.
I received the call last week. Buddy’s time had come. Surrounded by his loving owners, Buddy was able to transition from disability and pain to a life of freedom he had not experienced for some time. It is not easy to lose a pet but your first is especially hard. Do I believe dogs are in heaven? You bet I do! Rest in Peace Buddy. You were deeply loved. And to my son and family, my prayers go out to you.