(I’m going to blame this post on the fact that I took a 2 hour nap yesterday with a sick child and not only have I slept downstairs next to the fire until it went out (umm, it’s 4 and I finally gave up and added logs), I have woke up every single hour all night and had terrible dreams. So, good morning! It’s 4:31 a.m. and here’s your wake up call)).
In 1999, I was blessed to be gifted with a chocolate lab who I quickly named Addie Mae. She was the sweetest little “miniature” lab there ever was. She was a miniature. She was shorter than most and everyone thought she was a young puppy. She was gentle, kind, loved to run and LOVED to have her ears scratched. She would groan and groan when you scratched them. She hated car rides and loved to chew…including my brand new Oakleys that Hunter bought me the next Christmas. I had them 2 whole weeks.
Anyway, after I got Addie, Hunter (my boyfriend…who’d have ever thought we’d be here now?!? Me probably, given the fact that I totally freaked out during the entire relationship) decided that he wanted a lab. So, I began looking for him since I worked at a veterinary school.
Two weeks later, saw his picture in the veterinary office where I was having Addie’s hips x-rayed. We’d just found out that her brother came up lame for hip dysplasia and now her father’s owner confessed that the male was crippled. GRHHHHHHH. I won’t get on my soapbox here.
There he was. Big, yellow lab with a wide head named Buckshot (could the name be any more perfect?), 1 year old and free to a good home. I called Hunter. Go see him and if he doesn’t look you in the eye, I don’t want him. So, I made the call to find out why they were giving him away. Story was that the wife didn’t want her husband’s dog anymore. I, again, will stay off my soapbox, but how selfish can you be?
I drove the 20 miles and pulled into the driveway. He ran out in front of me. NO, that’s can’t be him. He’s gorgeous. Plus…he’s got no tail. Apparently, he was hit by a car as a puppy and it broke his tail so they have it removed. The lady came out. That was him but her husband wasn’t there on purpose. It was his dog and he didn’t want to be there when he left. Again, selfish and what a coward. He wanted me to throw the ball so I did and continued the conversation. She brought out his papers. I threw the ball about 100 more times and then loaded him up. I knew when I went over that he was going home with us. And I wondered what would happen when Hunter and I broke up! (hahahahaha)
Over the next 3 days we bonded. Hunter drove up on the weekend from South Georgia to get him and it was love. They bonded on the 4 hour trip and the rest was history. He’d been our dog since. I want to tell you a few things here about our sweet Buckshot.
1. He loved to chew on coke bottles…the 20 oz kind. He would take the top off and drink the coke! Never ate a bottle cap. Loved those bottles and I’ve picked up a couple million of them in the past 11 years.
2. He loved us and was faithful. He wouldn’t let anyone out of the car which is why I now have a PO box.
3. Hunter and Buck used to share cheeseburger meals on the way back and forth to South Georgia.
4. He liked to sleep on our bed when he thought we didn’t know.
5. He hated fences. Hated them. And barked and barked and barked until you lost your mind and just let him in the house with you.
6. He also hated bicyclers with a purple passion. I have no idea why but he did.
6. He once ate through a solid wood door on July 4th while we were gone to watch fireworks. I did think Hunter would kill him that day.
7. He was not scared of guns but when one fired where he couldn’t see it, he freaked.
8. He was our protector and made me feel secure.
9. He wore a camouflaged collar.
10. In the past 6-8 months, he’d slowed down. He couldn’t hear as well. His bones hurt him a bit.
11. When he was sick or didn’t feel good, he always came to me. He knew who his mama was, just like my boys.
12. He loved Hunter more than anyone else in the world.
13. He got hot spots terribly in the summer and we always had to take him to the vet. This was the only medical problem we ever had with him.
In early November, Hunter called me and said he was bleeding. I left work and came home to take him to the vet. I figured a hot spot had been scratched too much. Turns out, I was wrong. The vet found a tumor near his, well, rear when we was looking at the hot spots. She told me that it was a place where it wouldn’t be able to be removed. She sent us home with antibiotics for 2 weeks to clear up the infection and then said to come back so we could follow up on what to do about the tumor.
The antibiotics helped a ton and he was feeling better. Hunter and I let a week lapse after our “need to go back” card came. We both knew what the appointment would be: there was nothing they could do and we’d have to wait until the time. We were so sad and he wasn’t even gone. We loved this dog. He was our first “child” together if you will. How on earth would we be able to say goodbye? Instead, we spoiled him. He slept inside and on our front porch (he hadn’t rambled in a while since he’d started getting older). I stuffed his bed with hay so it’d be comfy and warm. We and the boys loved on him excessively and he ate it up.
On November 17th, Hunter called me very upset. He’d found Buckshot dead. He was hit by a car and whoever the jerk was, he didn’t even stop. Coward. He was crying, I was crying. It was not supposed to happen this way. It was NOT. We were preparing ourselves to say goodbye. I’d made Buck promise that he wouldn’t go off and die alone like a dog of my mine did as a child. We wanted our last bit of time with him. And now he was gone. Gone.
I rushed to leave work and drive the 40 minutes home to be with Hunter. By the time I got there, Burgh (our other dog) was in the front yard and Hunter was in the back, covering Buck’s grave. He’d buried him next to Addie. Hunter wouldn’t look at me and he wouldn’t talk so I stood there and cried. Buck had been with us through our entire relationship. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt. He wouldn’t be there to greet us anymore or to come over and scratch his ears. He wouldn’t sit next to me while I cried. The boys wouldn’t have the dog that they’d bonded to. It wasn’t fair that he had to go that way. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.
Hunter buried him in the backyard next to Addie. A rock will be placed on his grave soon. He took his bed and laid him on it and wrapped him up. I don’t know how Hunter did it. I would have fallen apart. I did fall apart. When I saw the dog bed was gone, I cried harder. When I noticed his collar hanging on Hunter’s deer in the living room…I lost it again.
I went back to work that day, despite the events, because I knew that Hunter needed and wanted to be alone. For days, we said we wished he were back. To THIS day, the boys have not gone a single day without asking where he was, why God took him to heaven and why he couldn’t come back. Our family was really impacted by the loss of our beloved friend and protector.
It may seem dramatic to some, this post. But I loved him. We loved this dog. He will forever be our dog. I firmly believe there’s a dog heaven up there somewhere and he and Addie are running like the crazy labs they were.
Here are a few pictures of our sweet, sweet old man.
This last picture was taken 4 days before we lost Buckshot. As you can see, he always wanted to be involved, even if it meant he quietly slipped into the back of a picture.
It’s been a hard couple of weeks for us, adjusting to Buck being gone. I think we needed a bit of time. I know I did. That’s why it’s taken me nearly a month to post this. Pets bring a different aspect of love to your life. All of our current pets (well dog and cats) are all over the age of 10 now. It’s hard to think that they will be gone in the next couple of years. We’re hoping our Christmas surprise for the boys will bring some of that…zest back into their lives.
But Buck? He’ll always be “our dog;” the dog I gave Hunter when we started dating. And he will be dearly, dearly missed and talked about with such love and amusement.