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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.

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