Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
I lost a good friend recently, and I would like to tell you a bit about him. His name was Buddy, and he was somewhere around 100 years old. Those are “dog years,” of course, for he was a golden retriever and he belonged to our daughter, Jenny, and her family.
Buddy was a “rescue dog.” They had another golden retriever named Murphy at the time they got Buddy. Murphy was getting old, and they thought it would be good for him to have a younger dog around. They were right, and Murphy got a lot more spring in his step when Buddy moved in.
Buddy wasn’t really a puppy when they got him, but he was a very young dog. I think that explains some of his goofy behavior at that time. Let’s say you opened a door to go outdoors. As soon as Buddy saw that door open, he would dart in front of you, out the door and run around like crazy in the lawn.
Then there was the day when they left Buddy at home alone, while they went to the grocery store. He must have gotten bored, and he chewed on a sofa in their family room. I think a lot of people would have taken Buddy back to the dog pound at that point. You know, let someone else deal with his mischief.
But our daughter is a real dog lover. She had the sofa repaired, and then began teaching Buddy how to behave. It didn’t take long until you could open a door, and he would wait patiently until you walked outside and gave him permission to join you. And when Jenny took him for a walk, he walked at her side, without tugging on the leash.
A couple times a year, Buddy’s allergies flared up, and he had to wear one of those cones around his head for a few days. I don’t think he liked the indignity of that, but he accepted it gracefully.
We live pretty close to our daughter, and she and Buddy visited us regularly, so he felt right at home in our house and was a part of our family, too.
I don’t have much eyesight, so it was sometimes hard for me to see Buddy on our beige carpet. He blended right into it. So when he came to visit, he wore some kind of jacket made of bright yellow Day-Glo material, like police officers wear when they are directing traffic. I guess that’s why I sometimes thought Buddy looked a lot like a traffic cop with a tail.
Buddy loved to look out the glass door in the sunroom at the back of our house. There are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood, including a few white ones, and he liked to watch them run through our two magnolia trees and along the top of the fence behind them.
He never got excited or barked at the squirrels. He just stood there, and watched them. Then he might come over to where I was sitting to have me scratch behind his ears or under his chin. He really liked that.
Buddy wasn’t much of a watchdog. He liked everyone. Strangers could come to the door, and you never heard a peep out of him. The only time I ever heard him bark was when someone was playing with him.
As Buddy got older, he was afflicted with some of the same things that we humans experience as we age. The hair on his face turned gray, and he lost quite a bit of hearing. He still was good about obeying verbal commands, but we had to talk louder.
Then he developed a problem with one of his eyes. It required surgery, and then the vet implanted some sort of protective lens. Buddy was laid up for a week or so, and he had to wear that cone again. When he got home from the dog hospital, my wife and I sent flowers. Nothing elaborate, just a small vase, with a “get well soon” note attached. The flowers were really more for our daughter than for Buddy. She really loved that dog, and he wasn’t that crazy about flowers.
We had a few dogs of our own over the years, and I got pretty attached to them. But I don’t think I ever got as attached to a dog as I was with Buddy. He seemed to know when I was out of sorts, and he would come to the chair where I was sitting and put his head in my lap. No matter what was bothering me, that made me feel better.
I’m sure our daughter will eventually get another dog, and we will enjoy its visits. But I am going to miss Buddy for a long time. He was a really great dog.
Those wishing to contact Bill Boyd can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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