We had been praying for a dog, and then six and a half years ago you were given to us as a gift ~ an answered prayer ~ because the pet store didn't want a dog that kept eating rocks and needing to go to the vet ~ and the vet clinic worker couldn't handle taking on another puppy at the time.
You were ten weeks old when you became a part of our family and you were instantly loved. Kory would go out to the mud room and lie on the floor and let you crawl all over him and lick his face. Cooper gave you lots of hugs, and Kayla gave you your name. She also tried her hardest to train you ~ but mostly in vain, because you were not the sharpest dog around. We loved you anyway, because you were ours.
You loved the seasons. Many winter days we would find you completely sprawled out on the snow taking a nap. We even caught you sledding down our backyard hill one day after the kids had come in for hot chocolate and had left their sleds outside. You put your front paws on the sled, rode it down, and then pulled the sled back up the hill with your mouth. So, maybe you were smarter than we thought.
You were the star of our book about Celiac Disease, because right when we were discovering that Cooper was sick with Celiac, we also discovered that YOU could not tolerate eating wheat, and we had to change your food to a rice based formula. Thank goodness we weren't getting up at all hours of the night anymore to let you out because of your troubled tummy. Thank you for being the final inspiration to go ahead and write a book for kids on this subject.
After you were hit and killed yesterday, Kayla, through tears, asked, "Why did God let Buddy get hit by that car?" I reminded her just how many times you had crossed that busy road sneaking off to a grand adventure, and God did NOT let you get hit. Cats are said to have nine lives, but Buddy, you had at least 25. Among your adventures are several trips to the nursing home and grocery store just a block away, Dominoes pizza, and to many friendly townsfolks who caught you in their yards or downtown and called us to come and get you.
Not a moment of backyard play went by without you in the thick of things. When you got to be an annoyance by stealing balls, frisbees, socks, numerous winter hats, mittens, and little girls' hairbows, you got sent back to the mudroom. (And who can forget Katharine's beautiful in-progress afghan you ruined, or the down ski jacket you shredded, filling the mudroom with feathers while Chris dog-sat you?) But then the barking and pleading would begin, because you did not want to miss out on any fun. The kids tried to get you to jump on the trampoline with them many times, but you preferred the more stable view from the picnic table.
Just two weeks ago, you were in the middle of our family work day ~ a leaf-raking companion....
....or a trench digger for the underground gutter we were installing!
You could hardly stand it when we had parties out back. At Kory's 15th birthday party this summer, you indulged in lots of hamburger patties and roasted marshmallows.
You were the perfect paper route companion for Kory all those years, and the whole neighborhood came to know you because of it. You even encountered a bear one day on that route, but you really weren't that brave. (Even our chickens scared you!) A beagle paper customer even had his owners bring you over to play quite often on their morning walks, and the mailman brought you a treat EVERY day.
(He doesn't know that you're gone yet. Oh, how sad I'm sure he will be!)
But you couldn't resist an open door to adventure and off you dashed Friday morning. (Despite our best efforts at electric fences, ties, and a gigantic cage at night.) We were about to go and cut down our Christmas tree, but then Dad went to search for you. He didn't have to go far. Traffic was already stopped on our busy street, and you were already gone. Kory went out to help, but returned quickly, in tears, and couldn't even get the words out. All he could sputter was, "Dad needs you to bring him a blanket." I ran out and saw you lying in the grass where Dad was petting you and weeping. The taxi van driver that hit you was there too, and almost as devastated as we were. A policeman arrived, saddened himself, and was so kind. He stopped traffic while we wrapped you up in the blanket and carried you home ~ just a few yards away.
Kayla wrote a note and gathered one of your toys to place with you in your grave...
...and a 15 year old boy dug your grave along with Dad.
Dad thanked God for letting us have you in our family for the last 6 and a half years,
and then the 15 year old boy sat by your finished grave and wept over the loss of his best friend.