When I was in college I worked at a doggy daycare. The hours were great, it was close to school, and I got to play with dogs all day long.
I loved all the dogs that came, but obviously there were some that were closer to my heart than others. The dog in these pictures is Buddy. Buddy came from the Humane Society and was a foster dog to one of my friends. He came to daycare with his foster brother, Mowgli (the black and tan dog in the pictures above). Buddy was picked up by animal control workers from a horribly, horribly abusive situation. He was malnourished, dehydrated, and emotionally and physically injured. He came to daycare to for company and socialization and because he suffered from terrible separation anxiety. For a long time, he was only comfortable around women and would shake and cower if a man came near him. Since the owner of the daycare and my coworkers were men, Buddy became my best buddy. He was such a sweetheart. He formed a deep, unbreakable bond with my friend and Mowgli, and became a “Foster Failure.” My friend ended up adopting him and he joined her family permanently.
Over the years, I spent a lot of time with Buddy, both at daycare and outside. I dog-sat for him and Mowgli when his mom was out of town, and I would pick him and Mowgli up along with the chocolate lab in the pictures to go hang out at the dog park or go hiking or jogging. We shared evenings on the couch watching Friends, eating cheeseburgers, and reading.
With my friend’s patience and kindness, and Mowgli’s calm, sweet personality to guide him, Buddy grew into a great dog. He still had a few neurotic tendencies, but all the best dogs do.
Yesterday, Buddy was diagnosed with terminal cancer at only 7 years old. There was nothing they could do for him but end his pain and suffering.
This morning he left us, and there is one less tail wagging in the world.
The hardest part about loving so many animals is knowing that you will more than likely out live them. Buddy was a great example of what love and patience can do for a scared, traumatized animal.
Take a moment today to hug your fur babies a little bit extra.