Ode to man’s best friend, and saying goodbye
What eventually blossomed into a beautiful friendship between myself and our family dog began with him staking his territory by peeing in my shoes.
My wife reminded me of that little stunt last week after Buddy was put to sleep. He was 15.
Up until about a year ago, Buddy was in remarkably good health. That changed after he was diagnosed with diabetes. Twice-daily insulin injections kept him going, but his vision and hearing deteriorated, as did his strength and co-ordination.
By the end of it, I had to carry him outside to relieve himself, and it was at that point we made the heartbreaking decision to release him from his suffering. Buddy – a medium-sized mutt we charitably described as a mix of Rottweiler and German shepherd – was adopted by my wife as a puppy in Kamloops.
I met him when I started dating his mom 13 years ago. After an appropriate amount of time, we had our first sleepover, during which Buddy left his mark in my shoes.
A veterinarian summed him up nicely when he described Buddy as having “bad manners.”
Although a sweet and gentle creature at home, he lost his mind when he saw other dogs – even at 500 metres while travelling 120 km/h in a car.
He wasn’t always that way. Buddy was attacked by another dog while we were out for a walk once and just wasn’t the same after that.
As a result, it was impossible to leave him with friends, meaning he came on every vacation with us, including our honeymoon, which was especially awkward since Buddy also lost his marbles when he saw people hugging.
Something changed, however, when our neighbour, Sharon, moved in next door about three years ago with her dog, Chewy.
While my initial reaction was to reinforce our fence, Sharon wisely deployed treats to win over Buddy and get him on good terms with Chewy.
The boys enjoyed a couple of good years together, but illness claimed Chewy last December and I’d like to think he was waiting for Buddy at the rainbow bridge.
Buddy’s passing was made easier by our veterinarian, Dr. George Proudfoot, who made a house call so our boy could move on in familiar surroundings.
And we’re eternally grateful to the folks at The Nest and Nectar, who invited Buddy for the ultimate dog’s breakfast on their patio just a few weeks before he left us.
Knowing his time on earth was coming to an end, we also took Buddy for a beer at Cannery Brewing and for photos with Santa at the Penticton branch of the BC SPCA.
Ironically, it was only after his condition deteriorated that he was calm enough to be around other people and dogs. Still, he enjoyed a rich life, was loved deeply and is missed greatly. We should all be so lucky. Rest in peace, boy. Joe Fries is city editor at the Penticton Herald.
Buddy lying down on the job at The Penticton Herald office.