Archive | 11:15 PM

Day 317: feeding your dog

13 Nov

We met our neighbor yesterday.
And with him was a sixteen-year old dog named Buddy, a tiny, somewhat ragged looking dog who was as cute as a new puppy.

We were informed Buddy was not doing well, suffering and headed to the vet.

Today, while I was out on the lanai painting the the dumpster diving treasure we found — a thrown out dining room table (before and after photos coming soon) — our new neighbor walked by and we talked about Buddy.

Then he asked me if I ever put down a dog.

I answered no.
I have never been there to say goodbye.

My first dog, Pepper, was my buddy.  He slept on my bed every night of my childhood beginning when I was three.

I ran into my parents room at some early morning hour crying because I was terrified from staying up too late watching Godzilla with my older sister and cousin. My parents ingenious solution to my nightmare was to send Pepper in to protect me.

And, he did, standing right by my side, following me wherever I went, sleeping on my bed every night.  In exchange for this companionship and adoration all I had to do was feed Pepper and love Pepper.

When I was a teenager and Pepper could no longer jump up on my bed at night, I would get down on the floor next to him.  Just to make sure he was okay before I would crawl back into my bed to go to sleep.

On one hot summer day while I was away at camp and granted my time slot to call home, my parents informed me that they lost Pepper.

I couldn’t believe it!
How could they lose my dog? 

I spoke clearly into the pay phone and pleaded with my parents. Please. Go. Find. Pepper!

My father spoke softer and clearer.  “The vet put him down.”

To this day I think my parents let Pepper stay on long enough to get me off to summer camp. Through his cataracts and gimpy legs, they let him follow me around the house until the day came that I wasn’t there for that drive to see the vet.

Today, while I painted the dumpster treasure out on our lanai, attempting to give it a new life with a new coat of paint, my neighbor got a phone call.

Tears streamed down his eyes as he told me Buddy’s fate — he wasn’t going to make it through the night, he could no longer breathe. They had to put him down.

As he fumbled for his car keys, he sobbed and opened the door to his car to start that drive to the vet. Before he got in he looked over at me and said, “Buddy’s been good to me.”

And, I agreed.
Even though I only met Buddy once I knew this as truth.

Because when you’re a dog person, you understand: dogs feed us more than we feed them.

And, that is a treasure meant for the soul.
Rest in peace dear Buddy.

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