Buddy joined our family on Sunday, March 7, 2010. We first met him at a pet adoption event the day before. He was a rescue from southern Indiana. He’d spent much of his life chained outside and through a sequence of events his family gave him up to a shelter, where Castaway Pet Rescue found him and brought him to the Chicago area. We met with his foster family on that Sunday and double-checked to see if he had any bad habits – trash-surfing, chewing, separation anxiety – and he was clean on all counts. We signed the adoption papers on the spot, and Buddy walked out the door with us.
He quickly adapted to our home, and we adjusted to having a new member of the family. While never an exuberantly affectionate dog, he nevertheless was always friendly and had a very sweet disposition. In short, he was well-suited to us and we were well-suited to him.
Being an older dog when we got him, Buddy had the start of all of the problems that come with advancing age: bad teeth, bad eyes, bad hips. Over the last year and a half those started to catch up with him. The muscles on the top of his head atrophied, possibly due to myositis. This put pressure on the brain and led to the onset of canine dementia. His hips got worse, cataracts set in, and he steadily lost his hearing in certain frequencies. His daily regimen included some rather astonishing doses of Tramadol and Valium.
The hardest decision that Dan and I have had to make together is determining when it is time. It comes down to what is the dog’s quality of life. In reviewing past photos and videos, it was plain to see that Buddy had reached that time. We have been wavering back and forth for months, and at times almost wished for some sudden event to occur that would make the decision for us. That event never came, and so it was up to us to make the call.
Tonight, that time came. Buddy is no longer with us, and there is a gaping hole in our hearts.
We were incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful dog in our lives. I only wish we had had more time together.