Buddy had to be put down yesterday. My mom took him to the vet and found out he had cancer. We knew he wasn’t doing well lately - he couldn’t hear very well, he couldn’t really see at night, and he spent most of the day sleeping instead of following us around the house. In the few weeks I was at home during the move you could tell he was getting older, but he had moments where he was his usual peppy self (generally when Penny tried to chase him around the house). Finding out was a bit of a shock. I’ve had him since I was 9 years old.
I still remember the day we picked him out, the day we got to take him home (that’s the photo right above here), the day he stole a monkey stuffed animal I won at a carnival and thus began a long line of monkey toys over the years. There was the day he snuck out of the yard in the tiny gap between the fence and the house and found himself walking along a ledge 15’ in the air on 25th St. and the day he snuck out and we didn’t even know until our neighbor knocked at the door with him in her arms - he had made it across Kennedy Blvd and was just walking around sniffing the trees. There was the time he ate an entire 1lb bag of hershey’s kisses when he found the stash the “easter bunny” hid in my mom’s room, somehow managing to take off all of the foil before eating the chocolate and the time he ate the entire package of hot dog buns when he managed to pull them off of the counter. There were the times I dressed him in my doll’s clothes and painted his toe nails and the times I tried to teach him how to be a better goalie while I played soccer in the yard (he never quite mastered the skill).
He’s been around for well over half of my life - from Vroom to PS14 to Midtown to high school, college, moving to California, moving back. Through countless friends, major life events, ups and downs - we grew up together. He knew when I was sad or when I was sick and wouldn’t leave my side until I was back to my usual self. He was the closest thing to a sibling I had and the only friend who’s stuck around through it all. It’s crazy when I think about the number of people who have come in and out of my life since he joined our family; about how much has changed. And now he’s gone.
I’m not a huge believer in the whole “heaven” thing, but a part of me really takes comfort in thinking that he may now be enjoying hanging out with my gram and grandpa. All day this scene has been running through my head as I process it all. I can see Buddy jumping up to my gram’s lap at the chair in the back of the living room and gram saying “no, Buddy, I’ve got nothin’ for ya.” but then would always give him the last bit of whatever she was eating. He learned that trick from my grandfather who would always push some food off of the side of table for him. They were pals. My grandfather was actually the one who got Buddy for me. I still remember that phone call. I called my gram to tell her about this dog we saw in the pet store and how much I wanted him (like every 9 year old does…). My grandfather convinced my mom and gram to let me have him.
It’s been a rough year - one that leaves me hoping that the whole “death comes in threes” adage holds true. Because I really don’t think I can handle a fourth.
But 14 years is a good long life for any dog and Buddy had the life. The King as my mom called him. I can’t really remember much of my life before he came along, but I’m glad he did.
Enjoy your retirement, pal. You deserve it.