Buddy was my shadow. He followed me everywhere. He sat on a blanket in my office. He sat in a "doggy bag" when I sneaked him into university classes. He sat in front of the living room window watching for my return when I ran errands. He pretended to be a stuffed animal in the buggy when I sneaked him into Target. He took naps with me on the couch. He sat on my lap during road trips.
He knew the teller at the bank drive-through has treats. He knew Starbucks serves "puppucinos." He slept on my pillow. Okay. It was his pillow that he let me share. He licked the tears off my face when I was sad. He licked my nose when he was happy! He snuggled up to his "sisters" (my daughters) because he loved them unconditionally! He snuggled up to people who were hurting because he loved with abandon. He was what my daughters and I called a "comfort dog." He was our "buddy."
And, then...sweet little Buddy was no more. Just like that. In the blink of an eye, a terrible accident took his life while I was out of town. He was in the care of people who also loved him. Accidents happen. You can't wish them away. You can't pray them away. You can't cry them away. You can't scream them away. You try. You really try. But you can't.
And, so, here I am. 3 weeks later. Still waiting for his paws to skitter across the hardwood floor as he races toward me to say "Hey, Mom! Where've you been?" Still waiting for him to dash up the doggy stairs by the bed and onto "my" pillow. Still waiting for him to wake me up at 5 a.m. for breakfast and a walk. Still waiting for him to dig a toy from his basket and drop it at my feet. Still waiting for him to crawl up on my lap, put his
paws on my chest, and turn those big brown eyes up to stare at me in absolute pure puppy love. Still waiting.
Loss is hard. Whether it's loss of a pet's life or loss of a human life. The loss is real. It leaves a hole that cannot be filled. But, with God's grace, and perhaps with time, it can become less painful. We can stop asking the "what if?" questions. We can put away or pass along the beds, toys, sweaters, and other items that belonged to them. We can learn to remember and cherish what was wonderful about them. We can look forward to seeing them again. Yes, I believe "all dogs (and other pets) go to Heaven." And, we can smile because of the time we had with them.
Below is the last video I have of sweet little Buddy. I'd taken him to work with me the day before I left to go out of town. We were headed home after a long day. He was excited to "go for a ride in the car!" I hope he's this happy where he is now. Rest in Peace, sweet little Buddy! I love you and I'll see you again!