A dog's tale – Remembering Buddy Boy
Last updated 9/8/2022 at 11:18am
I used to pass through Fallbrook on my way to the north jetty in Oceanside to surf. For years I dreamed of someday living in this hidden sanctuary far removed from the urban blight, the rampant crime, and the rise in inhumanity that abounds in city life.
In 2006, I convinced the missus to trade in the neighborhood Macy's and the backyard bistros for a small piece of rural life. With toothbrushes, a packed storage van, two suitcases, and a new puppy in hand, we said goodbye to the city lights and hello to the country life, never looking back.
Back then, my commute was an hour and a half from the house to my office, and for eight years, I made the commute before retiring. But no matter the weather or the lateness of the hour, Buddy Boy, now a 45 lb. cocker spaniel on steroids, was always sitting quietly at the kitchen window, waiting for my truck to pull in the driveway, bringing his Daddy back home to him.
Underneath his handsome façade and regal pedigree was a conniving doggie demon who derived immense pleasure from his boyish antics. Buddy especially enjoyed tormenting the contractors working at the house by absconding with their tools and sack lunches, then disappearing into the hidden recesses of our lemon grove. But no matter the severity of his exploits, one look from his chiseled mug and all was soon forgiven.
A little more than three years ago, Bud was diagnosed with a terminal disease. He had lost most of his beautiful coat, wasn't interested in eating, and had little energy to lift his head or leave his bed. But thanks to his veterinarian's magic potions, poultices, and prescriptions, we embarked on a treatment plan that restored his coat and appetite, giving Bud a new "Leash on Life!"
We were inseparable for the next three years, cruising in my truck, Fro Yo's for his favorite yogurt, or sharing a turkey and Swiss sandwich from Dominick's while dining alfresco at Fallbrook Airpark. With his paws perched atop the kitchen countertop, Bud would oversee every detail of his impending meals. His favorite was Steak Tartare, flanked by pate de foie gras and accompanied by escargots dipped in bearnaise sauce paired with liberal amounts of Dom Perignon. Bon Appetit, Buddy!
Sadly, after nearly 17 years, we lost Buddy Boy, my sixth son and man's best friend, all rolled into one. In his final days, he was blind in one eye, two legs had become estranged from him, and he had developed selective hearing like so many men of his advancing age.
Today, our house is eerily quiet, no longer interrupted by the sound of his nails sliding across the floors or his baritone voice resonating above the chorus of his barking cousins in the neighborhood. I still listen for him to come through his doggie door, wish he was here for me to scratch his ears and kiss his head, the silly rituals we engaged in, and the games we played when he was being fed.
Throughout Bud's life, there were far more bright spots than dark ones, more precious moments than unspoken ones, and more beautiful memories than bad ones. For nearly two decades, Bud's pawprints were left on every page and in every verse, fashioning and shaping the chapters of our life. Buddy left us as he came to us, innocent and demanding nothing but love from us.
Somewhere on the outskirts of the cosmos, with his brown eyes glued on the horizon, his favorite tennis ball sitting beside him, you will find Buddy Boy patiently waiting for his Daddy to come home to him.