June 17, 2015
Buddy, my dog, my friend, my companion for 15 years and four months, died a year ago June 21, 2014. We had been at each other’s side since picking him up as a pup of 4 months on July 1, 1999 at the humane society a day before he was to be euthanized. I called this wonderful mutt “my society dog.”
He was diagnosed with mouth cancer early that summer and he had been on Chemo every three weeks and doing quite well actually. We were at dog parks every day, including the day before he passed away. Buddy took a sudden turn for the worse about 9pm the night before he died. I talked with him, held him, loved on him from then until the hospice doctor from Lap-of-Love came to our home for his final rest.
Buddy was such a hoot. He was a true restaurant dog. He went with me to work, to friend’s homes, and pretty much everywhere. He especially loved the bank because the nice tellers always gave him Milk Bones. When I had to leave town my friend Ken Giordano always stayed with him at my home. And how he loved the restaurant in Old Hyde Park…Jennifer Pio would walk him around stopping at each shop to get a drink of water and a treat. He loved her so. My friend and executive chef Barry would come to the office with pieces of cheese – oh how he loved cheese.
Buddy has been with me at every single broadcast of my Saturday Foodtalk Radio Show since April 24, 2010 – laying next to me as I’d talk up a storm about “our” favorite subject…food. It will be hard to do the show without him at my side. He was command trained, and all I would have to say is “shoes,” “socks,” hat,” and he would bring me whatever…a perfect dog for a lazy man. It was never through my training however, for he knew from where he came and was full of love and had a servant’s spirit.
Recently I read peoples Facebook posts about their beloved dog passing away and there would be a pause in my step for I knew this day would come. I had another great dog Sampson for 15 years who I also loved deeply. He died suddenly in the back seat of my car of a heart attack. That was awful…just too sudden.
Finding out Buddy had cancer was a blessing really – for the past year, it gave me the opportunity to lay next to him every night before we went to sleep and whisper in his ear: “thank you for loving me the way you do, for caring for me the way you do…you have brought so much fun, joy, and peace in my life…I love you.” Sometimes I’d cry, and he would lick my tears. He knew. And I knew his love for me was boundless.
It is hard to realize that I will never see him again…never be greeted with his wonderful happy smile and wagging tail again…never have my face licked with reckless abandon again. It is all so sad, all so part of life, yet all so final. Goodbyes are never easy, final goodbyes…even tougher.
French may have the best term for saying goodbye – au revoir, “’til we meet again.” While I don’t believe in some doggie heaven where we are reunited with our beloved pets – I can tell you this – I will be reunited with Buddy every single day of my life, in my mind-eye, and in my heart. For when I think of him, I will smile, my heart smiles. Au Revoir my dear Buddy…au revoir.