It’s not that November 16th has any significance, it’s just that I knew I’d cry the day Buddy had to go. When you have a big black dog that miraculously lives from second grade until junior year of college (and who dictates your parents’ daily schedules), he’s truly really not just a pet. As lame as it sounds, he’s as much of a brother as Trevor and as much of a best friend as everyone else I’ve grown up with at home.
Cheesy memories and feelings below:
He was a two-year-old puppy we adopted from the Dumb Friends League when my brother and I were eight.
He was the sweetest of the dogs we met at the time. Automatically gentle and loved leaning on us while we pet him. But as most shelter dogs, he had a couple oddities. For him, he had separation anxiety. But with the amount of time we spent with him, and how obsessed and in love we became, the problem eventually faded away (after a hole in our fence and many other destructive acts).When I was younger, I used to set up our couch and chair cushions on their side, then make him hurdle over them in order to get a piece of dry food. Along the same lines, I would pretend he was a skilled avalanche or drug-busting dog and make him sniff out where I hid food or toys. In fifth and sixth grade, we found out he liked to howl when Trevor played the trumpet. In the summer, we’d be outside in the backyard where he used to ferociously run laps around the yard and finish by jumping on us and play biting. Strangers we’re a bit put-off , but I knew it was all fun.
Growing up, he matured with us.
When we had to be up and moving every morning for middle and high school, he would cheerfully wake us up before our alarms with his jingling collar, panting, and really strange howling noise. He stopped playing so aggressively, but was still as present as ever. Hiking was always fun when he walked in front of us and scared people with his wolfish looks. He was always up for an adventure outside, or lying by our feet inside. I don’t know life without waking up to panting, having “dinner time” at 3pm, and making sure he got walked everyday.
Going to college was weird.
Each time I’d come home he’d be a little slower, skinnier, and a little more gray. But I was always excited to see him. Pictures of him peacefully sleeping gave me just enough motivation to finish classes and get back to Colorado. In many ways he was a symbol for everything I love about home: it’s consistency, love, and comfort. His deathly fear of thunderstorms and loud noises taught me patience and empathy. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve spent stuck in the basement or blasting the TV trying to comfort him. (We were pretty glad when he started to go deaf…) Over summers, his presence taught me the importance of humility and companionship. His presence minimized the attention placed on me when my brother was off somewhere and I was an only child. I’m not cut out to be an only child, and luckily, my parents treated Buddy like another (more important, more easygoing, less sassy, less financially draining) child. His presence was also reassuring when I was learning to be more independent than ever.
Even in his (mostly) silence, he was the social butterfly of our family. Dogs bring people happiness and dogs bring people together. Like most dogs, he showed me happiness, care, and LOVE. Tremendous love. He showed me values we can all use to relate to each other and carry on conversation regardless of the situation.
I’m struggling to write this because I don’t know how to explain everything. But yeah.
Our home may just be a house without Buddy.
It will lack the same warmth and black, furry friend we all know and love.
We have no one to say bye to when we leave to go out, and no one to welcome us enthusiastically when we get back.
I have no one to “force” me to go for a beautiful walk down the street or through the openspace.
No one to watch eat snow on the deck or get drenched in the rain.
No one to drool on my shoulder while riding up to the mountains.
No one to stay downstairs with me while I binge watch Netflix late into the night.
No one to eat scraps off the floor.
No one to successfully force into taking snapchats selfies with me.
I held hope (maybe a little too much hope) that he’d still be there when I return home in six days. But I guess my quivering jaw and awkward goodbye-but-hopefully-not-goodbye-forever at the end of July was needed.
There’s going to be a bit of a emptiness and change when I return.
Our selfless, cute-as-possible, physical embodiment of sweet happiness will be in dog heaven. I sure hope that place exists!
Otherwise I’ll probably go ahead and cry a little bit more…