To my friend, Buddy

4 Aug

Lamont Diaries continued…

To my friend, Buddy

Lamont’s Uncle Buddy has come to stay with us for a couple of weeks. Buddy is one of my oldest, closest friends, ever since he was given a reprieve from death row a decade ago and came to live with me. Buddy has lived with my brother the last couple of years, where he has a backyard and three young whippersnappers who love him.

Buddy has had a good life, and he has made my life much richer by sharing himself with me. He is an older guy, now. Glaucoma clouds his eyes and his hearing is worse than mine. Sometimes he can’t muster the strength in his well used legs to get up. I just had to carry him down the two flights of stairs so we could amble ever so slowly to the dog park. It took us 23 seconds to cross the street. These are my thoughts for my friend, Buddy, now.

To my friend, Buddy

I remember when I first heard of you. It was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a rural church basement. Someone—a volunteer at a local human society—stood up and said he loved you but you were scheduled to be executed the next day because you did not have a home. 

The man said you were a good dog.

I had just gotten home from Iraq. And I needed someone to love me too. So I said: “Stay the execution, the boy has a home.”

I came to the dog prison and you were hiding at the back corner of your jail cell. They opened the door, and you came out, reluctantly. 

They said you had been a bad boy.

That you would run and run and run and that the hated Dog Police had arrested you umpteen times and they had had enough. And they captured you and put you in a cage. And then, when nobody wanted to give you a home, they sentenced you to death.

You came out of jail and, once out the front door, you broke free and you ran and ran and ran from the jail. We had to chase you down the rural roads of Maryland’s Eastern shore until we captured you again.

And then you came home with me, buddy. That was 10 years ago this summer.

And Scoop, my pal from Bangkok, who we both know had a pea brain but a big heart, and we both know, Buddy, she really considered that she was an entitled Princess and, to be generous, she sometimes was a bit bitchy.

After all, she was born in a fetid sewer on the streets of Bangkok and now had her own waterfront estate in America. She was not very nice to you, Buddy.

But you were then and you are now such a good, tolerant boy. You put up with her snarls and growls—just standing there and letting her have her fit, and you said: “It’s OK, Nate. If you have enough room in your heart for me and Scoop, I have enough room in mine for you and Scoop, too.”

I love you for that, Buddy. You taught me how to be a better man.

My friend, Buddy, enjoying his sunset years

My friend, Buddy, enjoying his sunset years

Scoop wouldn’t let you sleep on my bed for 6 years, but you would come smooch me each night and then you would always sleep blocking the door. I knew you were trying to protect me, Buddy. So many nights you would bark at what you suspected was some bad guy, and you were right more than a few times.

Do you remember nearby there was a minimum security juvenile prison and how many times those poor fellows escaped? But the problem was there was only one road out to freedom because we lived on that long peninsula and it was surrounded by water. It was nine miles to the nearest store and so, most of the time they would sneak across our farm fields and try to steal my truck to make their getaway.

And you would have none of that Buddy, would you?

So you barked and barked and ran to the door and back to me until I paid attention and we went outside, together Buddy, with my 30 odd 6 and fired off a few very large, very loud rounds their way. And then they would go away. You were, rightly, very proud of yourself, Buddy.

And you forgave me when, another night you were convinced something was outside and I stumbled out of bed to the front door with the 45 automatic pistol and I tried to put a round in the chamber but I couldn’t lock and load because the ammo wouldn’t chamber  and remained in the clip. So, like the idiot I can be sometimes, I tried to load it by pulling the trigger and shot a hole through the wall and that round came entirely to close to you.

I was embarrassed for the Accidental Discharge and you had the bejesus startled out of you.

But you still loved me even when I was an idiot, Buddy.

Lamont and Buddy, on guard duty

Lamont and Buddy, on guard duty

You were such a happy boy. You loved that big farm. You were free. All 70 acres were yours. The waterfront was yours to frolic, which you did every day. And I remember how happy you were, running full speed round and round and round the swimming pool and the deck just to show how happy you were to be free.

You are such a loving boy, Buddy. When Scoop died in my arms, her head resting on my shoulder, in my bed, you smooched her one last time and you saw how devastated I was and you smooched me,  too, and put your paws over me.  And you crawled up into my bed and you never left me in the years since. That was the first night you slept all night in my bed, and you did every night afterwards.

And you smooched me when I was sick. And you curled up by me every night to protect me.

I remember the night when the barn caught fire. You barked and barked and ran up and smooched me and ran back to the front door and back again, until I woke up and saw what the commotion was all about. You were so proud of yourself. As you should have been, even though the barn burned down.

You were the perfect guard dog and you are the perfect friend, Buddy.

I love you Buddy and I know you love me with all our hearts.

Those Hated Dog Police Nazi’s who sentenced you to die because they said you were a bad dog were wrong, Buddy.

Then I got sick again, Buddy, and you were such a loving boy. Every night, curling next to me and kissing and licking me. You waited there till the morning when I woke before you went out for your long stroll and swim and frolicked, just thankful to be blessed to be alive. Every day.

I love you Buddy.

You are an older guy, now, Buddy. Your eyes are clouded from Glaucoma.

You still are such a tolerant fellow, Buddy, such a very loving, very, very good boy.

Now, you let Lamont annoy you and you understand. You let him play his childish puppy games and you even let him eat your food.

And Lamont lies next to you staring up at you, wondering how he can be the man you are.

And you show us by example. I am very happy and proud to tell the world what a beautiful boy you are, Buddy, even if they don’t care or they can’t understand.

Now you come and sleep next me every night and it is now time you let me show you how important you have been in my life.

I love you Buddy.

Thanks for being my friend.

3 Responses to “To my friend, Buddy”

  1. Al Rockoff August 5, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    Harry Truman said “If you want a friend get a dog”…..

    Like

  2. Nancy Graham Holm August 5, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    There are people in the world who just don’t relate to animals; can’t love dogs and
    fail to understand those of us who do. And we can’t understand them and why they fail to “get” it. I love dogs. Now I love Buddy too because this sweet, courageously sentimental piece confirms my own experience. Thank you, Nate.

    Like

  3. Jessica August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Dogs truly are a man’s best friend. Buddy sounds like a dog I’d like to meet! Sweet post. So glad you and Buddy have each other…

    Jessica

    Like

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