Saturday, January 07, 2012

A Speckled Pup

--Buddy the dog, 1998-2011
Requiescat en pace

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion

who was never servile.

His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine

withholding its authority,

was the friendship of a star, aloof,

with no more intimacy than was called for,

with no exaggerations

--fr. A Dog has Died,
Pablo Neruda

There's a rabbit on the run

Man and beast and sky and sun

Who's talking to the birds in the trees

Why it's just my dog and me

--My Dog and Me
, John Hiatt

King went a-runnin' after deer

Wasn't scared of jumpin'

off the truck in high gear

King went a-sniffin'

and he would go

Was the best old hound dog

I ever did know

--Old King
, Neil Young

Back in 1998, in a pre- Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) world, Ranger looked at a litter of Catahoula cur pups in the spirit of friendliness with the breeder, not looking for a dog as all of those slots were filled.

But one -- the future and only Buddy -- was as cute as a speckled pup, which makes sense as that is what he was. Ranger was smitten, and told the breeder he would return when the pup was weaned; he was a mere 5 1/2 weeks old. Oddly, the breeder said, "Take him now, or not at all", and so Buddy came to be a part of Ranger's troop formation.

Buddy grew up to be a sturdy and healthy dog, if not always just a bit shy and a tad awkward. Ranger had always attributed this to his too-early maternal separation. Despite that early setback, Buddy became very independent and well-adjusted.

On Christmas Eve 2011, Buddy left this earthly plane, apparently in his sleep and without struggle. This is his honorific.

Buddy was a good dog and partner for all of his years. Sometimes Ranger thinks he imprinted on him like the geese on Konrad Lorenz, as his eyes opened after taking him home and holding him in his palm.

Bud was not a fighter, but he never backed down from a fight presented, either. However, his preferred method was to turn and walk away from any an aggressor. Fighting was a last resort, and he had to be hard-pressed to engage in such brute activity.

In his prime he was an athlete, and flat-footed could jump over the sides of a full-size Chevy truck. He was always game for a ride and rode shotgun until he could no longer enter even the passenger side of a vehicle. He delighted many a Saturday morning garage sale attendee by his re-entrance to the vehicle -- via jumping through the window (garage-saling being one of his regular outings.)

While commands were not his strong suit, owing to his lineage of living in swamps and such, the one -- "get down" -- sufficed to make him a suitable travel companion. Towards the end, when he could no longer navigate the entrance to a vehicle, Buddy settled into the life of a porch dog, a venerable position in the South and one he seemed to take to with great relish. (Alas, he was much too solid of an animal to be lifted in the compartment of a vehicle.)

Traveling was a great pleasure for Buddy, and he knew when Ranger was in a store or restaurant to seek refuge under a tree, where he would wait patiently. Ranger remembers his pal as being a bit reticent, but Lisa remembers that hand might have been overplayed as Buddy was always eager to receive a pat of affection (though he was mindful to look back at his master in hopes that his actions would be met with approval.)

One of Lisa's fond memories is of a Saturday morning visit to the local pastry shop with Buddy, and the offer by a spunky South African women of a bit of her croissant. Jim said, "Oh no, he never takes food from anyone but me." "You just watch me!" said she, and so Buddy was eating out of her hand in under a New York minute. I loved those moments of spunk, when love of a good French pastry overcame all common sense.

When Buddy could no longer visit the outside world, Ranger brought it to Buddy via daily human food treats which Buddy anticipated tremendously. It was a way for him to be vicariously along for the ride with his master.
In his reveries during his lengthy naps, we are sure Bud was traveling with the wind in his face, ears back, tasting and smelling every enticing molecule which passed his face, as any honorable member of his tribe did.

In his last month Buddy had been often unwell, and his actions betrayed this fact. Always a pleasant and personable dog, he became unaccountably surly and even aggressive at times, attacking the pup which had shown up on the property in August, a dog which Buddy had often befriended. This was not the Buddy we knew, and it almost looked like he was suffering from something like Alzheimer's towards the end.

After Buddy bit Ranger in one of these furious moments, Jim apprehensively discussed the possibility of euthanasia with his vet, but simply could not do it. While it might have been the expedient move, Buddy dd not appear to been in physical distress, and life has meaning even for a cranky old dog.

But enough of Buddy's final failings. That is not how we wish to remember him. Ranger buried his dog in a isolated stretch of woods near the house they both had occupied. It is peaceful and quiet there, a nice spot for animal or human contemplation.

Buddy never strayed, seldom left his owner's sight and wasn't fawning. He was totally focused on Jim, and Jim provided for Buddy to the best of his ability.

The Catahoula era of Ranger's life has now passed, having left when his beloved Buddy disappeared down the trail and around the bend.

"I feel like I lost a brother," says Jim. Buddy may not have been a brother in arms, but he stood patrol each night faithfully, nonetheless. Jim is bearing the loss of his faithful companion stoically, as I'm sure Buddy would understand.

"You are gone but not forgotten, old friend. You were a good dog."



Anonymous Carl said...

A wonderful and touching eulogy Jim.

Dog is God spelled backwards..it cannot just be a simple coincidence!

I miss my old four legged friends too, always will.

Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 11:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,

Sorry to hear about Sgt. Buddy. I'm sure you buried him with full military honors, as befitting a soldier in the war against squirrels.

I grieve with you as I remember my fallen, furry friends.


Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 6:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Chief said...

As you with Buddy, the ol' Chief misses both Digger and Cindy (a Newf from Newfoundland) and I offer up Lord Byron's tribute to his Newf, Boatswain.

Epitaph to a Dog[4]

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 7:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

So sorry for the loss of Buddy; the good dogs never last long enough.

We had our own version of that incomparable four legged family member: Grendel. Grendel followed my son home one day, looking starved enough to eat Vikings for breakfast (thus the name), he was already about seven years old, an apparent shepherd/Malamute/wolf cross. He lived to be eighteen and was nearly blind, very arthritic and his teeth were worn to square nubs by his rock-collecting activities.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 11:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"There is one best place
to bury a dog.

If you bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call -
come to you over the grim, dim frontier of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again.

And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper, people who may never really have had a dog.

Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master."

~Ben Hur Lampman

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Long-time RN said...

Very sorry to read of the loss of Sgt. Buddy. Lovely post sharing with us a mutual love and companionship with a wonderful pal.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks to all for your sympathy -- I know it will mean a lot to Jim when he reads them.

Chief and FDC: What lovely poetic choices ... very apt.

Labrys: Grendel sounds like he was a wonderful pack member.

Our animals give us unconditional love that few humans are capable of giving; even most parents have expectations and can be disappointed. But your dog always thinks you're the greatest as you are.

So many have made such wonderful observations on dogs. A few:

I know who I am because my little dog knows me
--Gertrude Stein

You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, "My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!"
- Dave Barry

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.
- Milan Kundera

A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along.
- E B White

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.
- John Steinbeck

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit"


Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To all,
thanks .
Buds is buried 50 yards from where he is pictured on the quilt.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 2:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Bud was my outer security against the jihadist squirrels.he never failed to call in air strikes.
fortunately he passed this skill on to tyke the pitbull that adopted me. can you even begin to imagine a American pit bull squirrel dog.
who would guess how this turned out.
usually i burn my dogs , but couldn't do this for Bud b/c i can't swing a chainsaw any more.
i hope Bud understands.

Monday, January 9, 2012 at 9:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

My deepest sympathy. You honor Buddy well with your words.

Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only time pets can ever hurt you is when they leave.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 5:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

Hard to read, and yet I did with deep sympathy.

It has only been a year since my 110 pound pup Tobey, who spent every second of his life making my life better, passed away, and it still stings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

last night i dreamed that Buddy was chasing a squirrel and came back with it's tail in his mouth.
i think that means that he's passed to the other side and his soul is calm.

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Sorry to hear of your pal's passing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 7:58:00 PM GMT-5  

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