Buffy by Dana / Love You Forever,

Mommy Dana

Buffy (or Buffy the Boy, as we affectionately came to call him) came into our lives on October 22, 1988. Our previous dog had died just three days earlier. As one can expect from children, my sister and I immediately needed a new dog to fill the void of the one we had just lost. So off our parents took us to buy a new one.

I was 10 years old in 1988. This dog was going to grow up with me, as my sister and brother were both older than me and ready to leave the house. It was important for me to get a dog I really connected with, and he and I did. As soon as I saw that cute ball of white fur, I pointed him out to my mom and said., “What about THAT one?” “The white one?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered with assuredness. “The white one.” He was brought into a small room where we could interact with him and decide if he was the one for us. From second one, it was blatantly obvious he was, and so began our journey together. He was three months old at the time, and as the store owner told us, days from being “shipped off” because the chances of being able to sell an older dog in his store were slim. With that said, I knew it was meant to be.

It is nearly impossible for me to describe Buffy’s personality. I have never come across a dog like him since that day we took him home. Never in his life did he once nip, growl, or get angry. If he was eating his food and you came up behind him to pet him, he’d wag his tail as if to say, I’ll hurry up and finish so we can play! Anytime I would sit and pet him, brush him, snuggle with him, whisper to him, the appreciation shone in his eyes and through his body language. He loved to be loved. It seemed to me that he believed he could get love as long as he was perfect in every way. While of course he didn’t need to be, he was.

He and I spent endless hours of time alone together. Walks, play time in the backyard, nights being silly together when I was left home alone, late evenings up watching television, afternoons napping together on the carpet in the sun, taking pictures and videotape, sitting on my bed with my while doing homework or on the phone, watching me practice my dance routines- the memories are endless. The hardest memories to reflect back on are the most endearing ones. If I were crying (and there was plenty of that as I made my way through high school) he would approach me slowly with sadness in his walk and eyes as he knew I was upset. All he wanted to do was just be there, sit next to me, and lick away my tears. How does he know, I would always wonder? How does he know that I’m hurting inside? It took me years to understand that it was because our bond really was that strong.

When I went off to college, the first question I would ask my parents when on the phone with them was how he was doing. Are you brushing him, petting him, cuddling with him? I hated being away from him. I felt he wasn’t getting enough attention. When I would come home for the weekend, our reunions were joyous. When I would first enter the door and yell his name in excitement, he would look over his shoulder at me like it was too good to be true to see me. When he realized it really was me, his excitement could bring me to tears. Who in the world cared that much about seeing me? HE did, and he never failed to let me know. We would be attached at the hip the entire time I was home. As soon as he saw me set my bags out by the garage door when it was time to leave, he immediately would slip away , sit down against the wall, and look at me as if to say, no, you can’t go. I can’t believe we have to say goodbye again. I would start over to him, and he would lay down on his side before I even reached him, wanting me to know that he wasn’t happy about my departure This would rip out my heart, so I always made sure to allow a few extra minutes to say goodbye to him before I left. I’d stroke him under his front legs, his favorite place to be petted, would kiss him and tell him I loved him, and that we’d see each other again soon.

As time went on, I returned home, got married and had children. Our time together became less and less, but when we saw one another again, it was as if we were back in time to when we were younger. He was never too tired to get up and greet me, no matter how much his arthritis was hurting him. He never failed to give me the only ounce of energy he had to let me know how happy he was to see me. A dog’s love is so great that I will never be able to fully comprehend it. But after life with Buffy, I at least have an idea.

The worst time for he and I came last year at Christmas. My parents were leaving on a 2 week cruise and my brother and sister refused to take him in because he was having bladder control and diarrhea issues. My mom told me she could take him to a kennel where a friend of hers worked, but I would not allow it. Even though I was 7 months pregnant and exhausted all the time, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for my Buffy. During this time of caring for him, it began to hit me of just how bad of shape he was in. He walked so slowly and painfully, he couldn’t see and could barely hear, and slept the majority of the time. I was up with him three times a night to carry him out in the dead of winter and piled up snow, and often times on my hands and knees in the middle of the night/early morning to clean up his messes. On New Year’s Day, he had a bad accident up the entire length of our hallway. Before we went out to rent a rug cleaner, I spent an hour on my hands and knees cleaning up the majority of the mess because my husband couldn’t stand the smell. It wasn’t pleasant, but I didn’t care. How could I only love this dog when he was happy and healthy? I loved him no matter what, so I dealt with it because of my love for him.

The saddest part of mine and Buffy’s story comes at the end of his life. The last time I saw him was 2 weeks before he died. My parents were gone for the day and I went over to their house twice during the day to let him out and feed him. The second time I was there, I remember something tugging at my heart to stay awhile and wait until he was done eating his food and spend a few more minutes with him. As he was eating and I was headed towards the door, I turned to look at him and paused, thinking that I should listen to my gut. For some reason, maybe denial, I told myself I would see him again and to just go and ahead and get home, that I would see him again soon. I wouldn’t.

I have many things to remember him by- the black leash he used to get so excited to see because it was his special walk leash, his old mustard colored dog bowl, his collar with his tags that make the clinking sound I have come to know so well, fur, even some of his old baby teeth. For me, these things will never be enough. But they are all I have, so I will cherish them the rest of my life.

I never expected Buffy to live 17 years, 2 months and 2 days. But I know God kept him here for so long because he did bring so much joy to so many people’s lives. It would have just been cruel to have him taken any sooner. In the beginning, there were many times I didn’t think he’d last very long, one instance being when he got loose and playfully ran around the neighborhood, thinking I was playing a game as I frantically chased after him, or the time he helped himself to 5 chocolate turtles at Christmas time and we were sure we’d need to get his stomach pumped. But then I came to not worry so much, because I knew in my heart he was going to be there for me as long as he could help it.

I was not with him when he passed. In fact, I did not know my parents were going to put him down. They took him to the vet to see what kind of medicine, if any, would help him with a new infection that he had gotten, and when the vet told my dad no, he added that it was a good time to put him to rest. I was furious with my parents for taking that last goodbye from me. I will never forgive them for that. I am devastated and heartbroken that he and I never got to feel our special connection together one last time. But there is no going back, and I will have to learn to deal with my grief. I was supposed to watch him next week while my parents went on yet another vacation, and I was looking forward to the time with him because I felt it would be our last real time together.
Little did I know.

It is comforting to know that my older daughter, who is 3, got the chance to know and love Buffy the Boy as I did. As she did her best to comfort me by saying, “Don’t cry, mommy. Buffy’s coming back. You’ll see him soon,” I told her, “No, honey, he’s not coming back, but yes, you’re right- I will see him again.”


To my little prince, you were and always will be the light in my day