He loved to eat, but he’d leave his favorite dish of fresh Alpo with beans and carrots if he had a chance to ride.
We got him in 2003 when Ruby, Jilda’s mom, fell and broke a hip. One of the most popular columns of all time for me was “Ol’ Buddy Changed My Mind,” that detailed how he came to live with us.
Most of the dogs Jilda and I have had through the years have bonded with her. They loved me, but if we’d ever gotten a divorce and the dogs had to choose which one to live with, most of them would have run to her and never looked back.
But she’s always cheated. She would “accidentally” drop pieces of hamburger, steak, chicken, and other goodies while she cooked. It’s hard to compete with that.
She also has this soothing voice she uses when addressing our animals, and I’m convinced it’s some form of animal ESPN or something. Some of the most docile dogs we’ve ever owned would have eaten you alive if you tried to harm her.
I, on the other hand, was the bad guy because I administered all the medicine when they were sick. And I was always the one who carried them to the vet. Those things created lasting scars that were not easily forgotten by our four-legged friends.
There were a few of our critters that bonded with me, and Ol’ Buddy was one of them.
As I mentioned, he loved to ride. He could hear jingling car keys even when he was sound asleep. In a flash he’d be dancing at the door raring to go for a ride.
He loved wheeling into the drive-through at the bank. That big steel mouth fascinated him when it clanked open next to the truck window. Each time I placed the transaction inside, he would jump in my lap, lean out and try to lick the teller window.
When the drawer clanked open again, there would always be a treat for Ol’ Buddy. Most of the time there’d be several tellers in the window cooing and using that ESPN voice that Jilda always used.
Ol’ Buddy would cock his head in one direction and then the other to make sure he clearly heard the metallic message coming over the intercom.
He also loved the dump. We humans consider the smell of rotting stench of household garbage repulsive, but to Ol’ Buddy, it was better than a steaming plate of crawfish etouffee at Antoine’s in New Orleans.
We took Ol’ Buddy on his last ride this week. The vet told us several days ago there was a good chance that he had cancer. We thought we’d enjoy him for a month or so, but his health deteriorated quickly and by Tuesday morning, he was too weak to stand.
Normally the vet’s office is packed first thing in the morning, but thankfully there were no customers there to hear our cracking voices or to see the tears in our eyes.
We laid him to rest in a place of honor among the other beloved pets that have added richness to our lives as only close friends can do.
The house seems so empty without that little dog.
RIP Ol’ Buddy.