We have lost our Buddy dog. He’s been a good ol’ pup…well, not a pup. He was a pup. He was no bigger than a cat when we adopted him. He spent his days cuddled on my lap, and didn’t even notice when he grew into a full size labrador! He would try to bail right up on my lap (full grown!!) for the longest time, clumsily flailing legs on his way to the floor. He was incredibly loyal, and a had such a gentle disposition. Over the years I’ve watched him stand guard for and allow kittens to snuggle with him, he’s watched our property and helped us welcome our three children. He knew what was ours and what was not, though! He was a wonderful hunter, bringing in rabbits especially, and he loved to swim. One crazy thing that he did was chase buzzards. That was probably our fault. He did it naturally, but we agged it on we he was young. We’d say, “Big bird, Bud. Big bird!” Off he’d go, chasing the birds that were high in the air. Our other dog, Hurley, picked this up quickly. Then my neighbor got a new puppy and he and Hurley were instant friends. Guess what her new dog does? Chase buzzards! I was over there one day and off he went and she said, “I don’t know why he does that!”
I said, “I do.”
This big love for him has come with big heartache. I know he was a dog. I know they don’t live long compared to people. I know. But before I had babies, he was my baby. He was my first puppy away from my parents home, and I miss him. I’ve been missing him, even before he passed. I knew over the summer he was slowing down. I knew a few weeks ago he wouldn’t have long. I knew a few days before he went that he was going.
I have been looking at an adoption site off and on the past few months. I wanted to get a pup while Bud was still active enough to train him. Hurley, our other guardian, is a super dog, too. He’s just maybe not as patient. Maybe not as tolerant of having his tail chewed on. He wants to chase the truck out the driveway and down the road…not something I want another dog learning.
So, I was looking, but I just hadn’t found that one. That…Buddy dog. My kids were staying the night with my mom and my husband said, “What are we going to do? He’s not going to be around many more nights.” I directed him to the adoption site I had been frequenting. There was a dog, that I hadn’t been looking for. But he was looking for me.
My husband said, “Scroll down…that dog is going to be huge.” I did, but went right back up, “Look at him!” I clicked.
“Just go back to the search page.” He directed.
I did, we clicked a few…back to the top. Back to the Walker Tree Hound. Back to the puppy we named Cooper. When my kids returned from my mom’s we were lined up to go and meet him. We interviewed (the next day the fellow actually commented on how well-behaved my kids are 🙂 ) and he really needed one more day before he could come home with us, to be sure his health was 100% and he got all his shots. Bud died that night.
I tried to call off the whole adoption. I didn’t want to replace my Buddy dog. I didn’t want to be that invested in an animal that will pass about the time my kids leave the house. I heard my oldest explain to the twins, although he was sad himself, that, “Mom’s known Bud a lot longer than us, so she’s more sad.” We had a talk about that and how I was being selfish. How love is… love. There are maybe more reminders from that extra time, but when you love it hurts to lose, regardless of how long. I was not hurting more than my kids. I was making them hurt even more, taking away a promise.
So, while my husband dug a grave, the kids and I went to get our new puppy.
I’m in tears right now. I don’t know why it felt so important that they meet.
Cooper is a beautiful puppy. He’s such a different dog than I’ve ever experienced. It’s hard to get a rise out of him. He’s so calm! Until you bring in another animal, of course! Then he’s loud and excitable. He’s had no house training before us, and by the second day the only accidents are at night. He’s a smart little dude and Hurley is doing a wonderful job teaching him the boundaries. He is a hound dog, and would prefer to sleep his days completely away, but once you get him outside he tracks and wallers into thickets. If it’s the worst possible path to take, that’s where he’ll go! And he is going to be huge! He’s already grown about an inch and a half in the four days we’ve had him, and he was a good 2 inches taller than Bud was at the same age!!
So I’m happy in my sadness. Getting Cooper has certainly made it easier on us all, especially my oldest son. He’s taken the responsibility like a champ!!
And the kids were right. It’s better to be open to love, instead of guarded in grief. We love our new puppy. He loves us. Love is always bigger! Love is always best!