Twelve years ago, we met our best friend, Buddy. My husband and I drove to the house where he’d lived the first four months of his life. We were standing in the garage, and Buddy came galloping out, like he was saying, “Hi! I’m Buddy, and I’m fun!”
It was love at first sight.
Half an hour later, we were in the car with our high-spirited puppy, his crate, bowls, and toys.
On the way home, my husband drove and I sat in the back with the new addition to our family. He seemed nervous and snuggled right up to me, so close. It was like he knew I’d keep him safe. Our bond was instant.
I pet his head and said, “You’re such a good boy, Buddy. Don’t worry, everything will be okay. I love you.”
Buddy was the perfect dog for our family. His energy and playfulness filled our home with laughter. He was there in the good times, and there to cuddle and console when times were hard.
He was our protector, our walking partner, and our silent listener. He was never angry with us. He was sweet and demanding, stubborn and smart. All he ever gave was pure, unconditional love.
Our daughters, Mackenzie and Talee, were so close to Buddy, they referred to him as their little brother.
This past weekend our best friend and constant companion became very ill.
I’m grateful that Mackenzie and Talee both happened to be home. The girls gave Buddy lots of love and attention, like always. They played with him in the pool and took pictures. They saw Buddy’s decline.
We had to do what we’d been dreading for nearly 13 years. We had to say goodbye.
On the way to the vet’s office, I drove and my husband sat in the back with our faithful dog. Buddy snuggled close to my husband, and was calm. It was like he knew.
My husband pet Buddy’s head and said, “You’re such a good boy, Buddy. Don’t worry, everything will be okay. I love you.”
That afternoon, my husband, daughter, and I didn’t want to be in the quiet house. We went out to do some errands. On the drive home, we took the “back way,” a beautiful, serene road with sprawling ranches on either side. We’ve gone this way hundreds of times.
There was something in the middle of the road. We looked closer and it was a gorgeous, majestic deer. We have never, ever seen a deer on that road. We slowed down and watched this amazing animal prance across the road and gracefully jump to the other side.
We all thought the same thing. It was a sign from Buddy, letting us know he’s okay. He’s happy and healthy again. We shouldn’t worry.
Our home feels so empty.
Every single room has reminders of our little guy. One minute I’ll be fine, and the next I’m tearing up and sobbing. It’s the small things that I want back. He followed me everywhere. The kitchen, the office, the family room, the bathroom.
When Buddy was sleeping and I’d walk into the room, I’d hear his tail thump, wagging because he was glad to see me. He loved walks and was super food-motivated. It made us laugh when he’d hop up on a lounge chair in our backyard, and bask in the sun.
One of his favorite things to do was spend time outside when I was gardening or if someone went swimming. The day he died, I broke down when I walked out to the backyard.
I told Talee that losing Buddy is too painful, and I don’t think I’ll ever want another dog.
She said, “Mom, you don’t mean that. He gave us so many years of joy, and you wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
No, I wouldn’t.
In time, there will be less tears. We have millions of happy memories. But right now the sadness and emptiness is raw.
I know we gave Buddy a wonderful life. But he enriched ours in ways that he’ll never know.
Third image courtesy of here
Fourth image courtesy of here