Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saying "Goodbye" ...

Almost 24 hours ago, I said goodbye to my best friend, my terrier, Buddy. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do.

Buddy came to me from the Broward County Animal Control Center which is located next to the airport. I went there with a friend who was looking for a dog. He wanted a puppy, and it was in the midst of a batch of labrador puppies that my guy was discovered. There were eight puppies, all from the same litter, and they were all over the chain link fence gate that separated us and there was no room for the little terrier to get close. He sat for a couple of minutes as the puppies rushed the fence and when I clucked my tongue and said, "Hey, little guy!" he stood on his hind legs and did a perfect pirouette.

There went my heart.

I said, "That one. He's coming home with me."

And, he did.

That was in 2003.
Animal Control said he had been found wandering in Lauderhill. He was one day away from euthanasia. I paid the 60 bucks to have him neutered and tattooed and the next day I picked him up and brought him home with me.

I don't know who owned him before me, but whoever it was, they trained him exceedingly well. I would soon learn that he responded to hand signals. Sit. Stay. Come. Down. Fetch. Twirl. There was nothing this dog wouldn't do if you gave him the right hand signal. And, he was totally a lap dog. He loved to be in my lap or, if I was on the sofa stretched out, between my legs. He slept with me, he followed me wherever I went and for several years, it was just the two of us.

I did eventually marry again and my darling husband has stories about Buddy that he could share. About how he loved beer. And, cat food. And, playing ball. He would run himself ragged fetching that tennis ball, no matter how many times you threw it. He loved to play.

He also liked to lay in the grass in the sunshine. As he aged, that became one of his favorite pastimes.

He began losing his vision about two years ago. We began to notice a change in his behavior and the vet confirmed that he was going blind. I did learn through the vet and various internet sources that dogs adapt to blindness when they lose their sight gradually. Sudden blindness, as in the case of our friend, Hallie, is a different story, although, Hallie has done well thanks to her wonderful mom!

My heart is broken and I have been surprised at the grief I feel. It washes over me in waves and the tears flow. I can't seem to stop it. It passes, but, I think it's going to be a while before I feel normal again.

I read "A Dog's Purpose" after I read "The Art of Racing in the Rain." I learned one thing from both books. When a dog loves you, he loves YOU just as you are and his sole purpose in life is to be there for you. There's no greater gift than that.

Now I truly understand why they call them "man's best friend." I'm sure going to miss mine ...

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