The first thing I remember is being hungry and pushing, pushing, pushing - trying to get some milk from my mother. It seems that I have always been hungry. Someone took me and my litter mates away from my mother and placed us in a box in the back of a truck. It was very hot and hard to breathe, but we stuck our noses into a small hole and survived until the truck stopped and the box fell a long-long way down a hill and into some bushes and dirty water. We were lucky! The water melted the box -- but in a couple of hours we scampered out of the box into our new cruel world.
At first we tried to stay together. There was no mother to feed and clean us and it was getting dark. Ouch! We were all bitten by mosquitoes and the fleas were dancing in our fur. The pain of being abandoned had begun!
One by one I lost my brothers and sisters and I finally found myself alone in the middle of a sandy road with the midday sun burning my fur and my nose. My head hung low as I searched the ground for a morsel of food. When I looked up again a blinding pain hit my head and I fell over screeching in agony. Several human feet began to kick me and I ran away. My head had been hit by a football, for I had stumbled into the middle of the children's playing field. For several days, perhaps weeks, I suffered at the feet and hands of the children, who hit me and laughed at my pain. But I needed someone to love me and help me find food, so I slept in the wet woods at night and searched in the garbage cans by day. Do you know there are bears and rats in the woods?
The humans were celebrating a holiday called Thanksgiving and I smelled a meal cooking down the road. My nose lead me to a back yard where a lady was feeding some baby pigs. I whined and screeched and groveled in the dirt and begged her for some of the food. She was kind and got me a meal called turkey. I never tasted anything so delicious. Well, I am not a stupid dog! I came back several times each day and the lady shared her meals with me. Finally I had a friend! One of my litter mates stayed off at a distance because he was afraid of humans and very sick with mange. The lady cried because she couldn't help him.
Then one day the lady was gone and my brother died. I was alone again. I stayed at her back door for several days, avoiding the rough children and hoping for the arrival of a meal of some kind. Then one day a big white car rolled into the drive and the lady popped out the door. I ran to her and she gave me a hug and a pat and went to work filling the car with her belongings. When she drove off, with her full car, I ran after her. I was only a puppy, and my legs were weak from hunger, but I wouldn't give up. The car went fast and my heart was beating, beating. I could not breathe (like when I was in the hot box) but I kept running. "Dog versus car is just not fair," I thought. My back legs got tangled in my front legs and I fell, hard. I rolled over my own head and off the roadside down into a ditch.
Then I just gave up and accepted my broken heart and emptiness.
But my angels were watching. The lady stopped her car, backed up, turned off the engine and got out. She ran back to me and placed my head in her lap. Wrapping her arms around me -- she carried me to her car and carefully placed me in the back seat. "This is just temporary!," she said, and off we went. I didn't make a sound. It was too good to be true. At the end of the ride I got real fresh water, some strange hard chunks of food in different colors, and a huge pillow to sleep on.
My first night a big tough-talking man told the lady, "He can't come in the house." I slept in the laundry room. The second night the gruff man said, "He can't get on the furniture." I slipped under a chair. He started calling me strange names like: Budster, Budmeister, The Buddyroo, Budreaux and My Buddy.
I could feel that someone was watching me and I was very excited to see another animal in the house. "What kind of creature are you?," I asked.
"I am Princess Leah! I could be your worst nightmare."
"I am blind!"
"Then follow me. I will be your eyes (and later her ears too)."
"You may call me Kiwi. I am a poodle and of royal lineage. I will show you how an alpha dog reigns."
(Kiwi has gone over the Rainbow Bridge now, but I will always remember her.)
But my troubles weren't over yet. I had food, shelter, love and friends but my hips hurt when I walked and it made me lie down a lot. Then, one day, a saw a red truck and I just couldn't resist chasing it. It hit me harder than the football and dragged me several feet under the back bumper before I landed in the road. The pain was like fire. I couldn't stand still. My face was mangled and I could feel a tooth was bleeding and another was broken. I had many bruises and my left hind leg was sliced open and bleeding too.
All this happened twelve years ago. I now have a couch of my very own, a dish that says "Top Dog", and two small brothers and a sister (My sister is Xena and she is the new alpha dog.). I have learned that the back yard is for potty breaks. Every Thanksgiving I get turkey, again, sometimes with mashed potatoes and gravy. We can exercise it all off with a trip to Barkley Park for dogs.
Oh, oh ... here comes the nice lady. I have to roll over so she can rub my tummy. (She calls me her precious Buddy.) I smell fried chicken in the kitchen. Are you hungry?
The sad ending to Buddy's story is that in 2010 he got very sick. I noticed certain changes in how he looked and behaved. His skull changed shape and became pointed, his abdomen began to sag, he shuffled his feet and began to drink enormous amounts of water. Buddy seemed very depressed, but his sweet nature was still evident. A year earlier I had some medical examinations of Buddy and he had some of these same signs, but not too evident. I feel if we had diagnosed diabetes then, and begun treatment he would still be with us today. The report I got back was that he was anemic and I changed to a very nutritious brand of dog food. He seemed to rally at first.
Buddy continued to go down during that year and I took him to another veterinarian. We agreed on the symptoms and a lot of bloodwork was done. I thought he had a virus but my doctor told me that Buddy had diabetes. By this time he was hooked up to IV's and was in crisis treatment. In three days he seemed to be in a coma, but he rallied. On the fourth day he did not recognize me. Day five in early morning Buddy slipped away.
I still feel more loss from the death of Buddy than any other dearly loved dog or cat I have had. He was so very special in a way that cannot be denied. His soft touch had a healing quality for me and he seemed to be a skilled mind-reader. He knew when to comfort me and when I needed him to stay close. He had inherited good manners at all times and tried to please. I never had to tell Buddy what to do. He knew instinctlively his roll as my best friend.
Buddy is buried at my church in a corner of the garden under a small tree. We had a fitting service for him and I think of his love every day.