Twelve years ago today we met. I was in the backyard and heard a ruckus, all of the neighborhood dogs barking about something. When I turned around, you were there. Tail wagging, face smiling. What was originally a one-night stay until we could take you to the shelter the next day turned into forever. I am so grateful.
You saw me through the teenage years, my constant friend and shadow as I grew up. You were my first model and muse when I discovered photography. I could never take my camera out of the bag quietly enough—you always heard it and assumed it meant we were going outside. It made you so happy! You took it upon yourself to manage the lizard population at our house, always on the lookout and ready to pounce. You caught your fair share of bunnies, too, but I know you didn’t meant to hurt them. You and I went on countless walks around the neighborhood and any word that even rhymed with “walk” got you excited. You guarded the house with vigilance and your big, deep bark always made me feel safe.
Your age is catching up with you now, and you have slowed down drastically these last few years. You can’t go on walks anymore, it’s just too much for your back and legs. The lizards pass by unnoticed, much to their relief. Bunnies, too. But not kitty cats—you always can spot those. You’ve taken a backseat in guarding the house, preferring to nap and let Truman do all the barking for you. You’re passing on the torch to the next generation.
But even in your old age, you have still been a constant, steady presence in my life. You were the first face I saw as we arrived at our wedding venue almost two years ago. I cried when I saw you, so happy that you were going to be a part of such a special day, so happy you had been by my side for so long. You laid by my feet as I got ready and helped me feel calm in the midst of wedding chaos. You were with us on our adventure in New England, moving there and back in six months. You loved the weather up there and I saw a noticeable increase in your energy. You welcomed little Truman into the family while we were there, and taught him how to treat his elders and be a good boy. And you were right there when the pregnancy test was positive and I didn’t know how to handle it.
You have given us several health scares over the last year or so. I thought for sure you were going to leave us on more than one occasion. But you always make a comeback and decide you are going to stay and take care of us just a little big longer. I didn’t think you’d make it to the end of 2017, and here you are today, supervising the goings-on in the new house, watching us turn it into a home and prepare it for your little sister’s arrival. I am hopeful that you’ll be here to welcome her home in a couple of months and make sure we can adjust to this new part of our life. I can see it now, me getting up in the middle of the night to care for the baby while you lay quietly by my feet, keeping me company as I get her back to sleep. I pray we have those nights together before you tell me it’s time for you to go.
You have been my best friend for twelve years. God knew I needed you when He put you in our yard all those years ago. He knows I still need you now. So much in my life has changed and continues to change, but you are always the same sweet, sweet Bud. Your eyes still light up when you get to go for a car ride, or when you see your leash, or when you get treats and table scraps. You still lay in everyone’s way, but I don’t mind. I want you to be in the way as long as possible. For twelve more years. I know that won’t happen, but I want it just the same.
Oh, Buddy. Thank you for being the best dog a girl could ever wish for. I’ve written so many words about you, but they are never enough. You are irreplaceable, incomparable. You are simply the best.
I love you, Bud, always and forever. <3