Buddy, my dog, my first born, is 15. I got him my sophomore year and as my dad says getting him was the best purchase this shopahollic ever made. He put up with the craziness of college, people coming and going at all hours often blowing odd substances in his face.
He endured the lean years when I boycotted toys because he ate and pooped them all out. Unfazed, he adorably brought me pieces of slobbery lint and coughed them up in front of me wagging his tail so that I would try to throw one. Then he would retrieve it (though wet lint doesn’t travel far) as if it was the best ball in the world and enthusiastically continue the cycle.
He survived eating an entire bag of blowpops which came out the other end like taffy that had to be pulled and pulled, by hand to get out. A job I handed off to my then roommate as I was late for work. I should say SHE survived that one. (Seeing as she is currently my closest friend, she barely holds a grudge. Though she hasn’t been able to look at a piece of gum since.)
He out-lived his long time love; a very attractive and preppy bean bag pillow who he constantly abused after sex, by biting her and swinging her vigorously from side to side. Then he would ignore her till their next rendezvous. Hmm… sounds like one of my exes. One fateful day he bit too hard and when he swung her, she profusely bled itty-bitty styrofoam balls. For weeks he somberly attempted to meet for trysts but she was a shell of the booty call she once was, and eventually we buried her… in the trash. He tried to date other pillows but I think for him, they could never compare.
He withstood living with my dad who for a month forced him to wear a girly Israeli flag bandana that read SHALOM. My dad would take him to dog-runs hoping to attract the right king of bitch. Unfortunately, Buddy technically male, but snipped at birth, had some tendencies and enjoyed other dogs balls a little too much. But, my dad never wavered in his love, saying only, “As long as he’s Jewish.”
He won over my husband who raised with cats, swore Buddy would never move in with us, only to find himself as in love as anyone else whose path Buddy ever crossed. And when he moved to NYC he adapted to the concept of grassless pooping and even got used to the salt lined streets that sent him into a crying limp until I could find a patch of snow to pack up under his paw for relief.
He tolerated my son Jake who quickly stole the limelight making our once Golden Child feel like a dog for the very first time. He took it in such stride that he became body guard to this little human that was pulling his tail and trying to ride him like a pony. In 2006 he had a proper Bark Mitzvah with brunch, candle-lighting and thirty in attendance. (Picture included). He barked through his haftorah so beautifully that had Randy Jackson been there he would have said “Yo, Dog, dat was the bomb.”
Now he is 106 and pees and poops so much that I spent a month cutting a gorgeous 20×16 shag rug. Everyday razoring out another chunk till it was a sorry 2×3 backdoor mat. He pants like a sex caller throughout the night, and requires being let out what feels like every 27 minutes. He trips out the door without fail and then spryly bounces back in like this perfect beautiful puppy. In moments of spunkiness he laps my pool table like a greyhound over and over and over and over. He is deaf and mostly blind though he can still read lips. He walks on a tilt because of a herniated hip and often completely loses footing as his legs uncontrollably spread eagle beneath him. And if you are carrying food he’ll take your arm off to get it. Unless you say “easy,” then his jaw quivers so gently, he could remove a tic tac without touching skin.
Every morning when I wake the first thing I do is look at him asleep so sweet, like horse that has fallen sideways. Then I look at his stomach for rise and fall. I am morbidly hoping that he has gone peacefully in his sleep so that I will never be confronted with the other option. My father asked where I will have him buried when he goes. A pet cemetery is too creepy. The truth is I’m one of those crazy people who think, maybe I could just have him stuffed. Not like eyes open greeting you at the front door kind of stuffed. You know asleep in a ball chin on paws kind of thing. But then I imagine my cleaning lady having to dust him and like Rosie from the Jetsons raising him over her head to vacuum underneath and I think maybe just an urn will do.