RIP Buddy Lemieux
c 2000 – October 25, 2018
Today we had to put my good friend, our dog Buddy, to sleep. His old body just gave out.
We got Buddy from the Wake County animal shelter in 2008; the people at the shelter thought he was about 8 at the time. Which means that he made it to somewhere around age 18, which is a good long life for a dog. I'd like to hope that his years with us were better than his years before we adopted him.
At the shelter they said that supposedly he came out of a beagle. The rest of him was unknown. Our theory was that he was half beagle and half corgi. He had the short legs and fluffy butt and undercarriage like a corgi. He had the nose and food centricity of a beagle. He'd try to herd us like a corgi.
Buddy was special. It may be because of his being torn behaviorally to simultaneously chase rabbits and herd larger animals. It may be because of whatever incident caused him to have a scar around his snout might have messed up his brain (my theory is that he had his nose stuck through a chain link fence when it got hit by lightning; others have a theory of an abusively applied muzzle). But for lack of a better descriptor, Buddy was on the spectrum. It was like he had doggy Asperger's syndrome. He had trouble socializing with other dogs when he was on a leash, but was friendly with other dogs when not on the leash. He was never ever aggressive towards humans, but he had absolutely no concept of personal space. He would be underfoot any chance he could get. If you got your face anywhere near his, he would lick you. If you petted him he would sneeze lots of the time. He loved getting a “best friend hug” from the kids. He loved music. He was eccentric but very smart. He always had a smile.
We adopted Buddy as a companion to our other dog Benjamin. Benjamin died in May 2018 at the age of 18. Buddy was a caring nurturer to Benjamin as his health declined. He would use his herding capability to help poor old mostly blind Benjamin to navigate. When Benjamin slept, Buddy would often sleep cuddled up to Benjamin either back-to-back or paw-to-paw. Buddy was present when the home hospice vet came to see Benjamin across the rainbow bridge. He got to say goodbye to Benjamin. Afterwards, Buddy would not eat the food that he and Benjamin loved and he never ate another milk bone. It must have been too painful. I never pegged him as a sensitive soul, but he was. He mourned the loss of Benjamin with us. Dogs grieve.
Buddy was always Benjamin's sidekick, and subordinate in the pack to Benjamin. Buddy only had a few months after Benjamin died where he got to be “The Dog”. It was funny, though, to watch him when he would go outside, strut around, and survey his “realm”. He was “The Dog” and he knew it.
As the end approached, we tried to make him happy and comfortable. He'd go to Bond Park with us and chill by the lake. By the end, Bojangles fried chicken was about the only thing he would eat, but he did get a New York strip steak as his last meal. Buddy was a good dog, a sweet dog, and he was part of the family, and we loved him. I gave him a best friend hug at the end. I'm going to miss him.