Loving & Losing a Senior Dog
In December of 2009 a large black dog ran past my house and into my pine forest. I pulled on boots and a coat and walked into the woods whistling for the black streak that had run past my window. The wind was howling and the tall pines were creaking. There was no dog. I turned to walk back to the house when out of the shadowy pines stepped a large black dog with a striking gray face. I spoke to him but he turned away. I started back to the house and he followed me. This was the beginning of my love affair with a big, old, black dog named Buck.
The dog that came into my home was extremely well mannered, got along with all my other dogs, and made himself very comfortable on my sofa but he was emaciated, his coat was dull, his muzzle and feet were gray. He looked really old. This was the very first and only dog that has ever shown up at my farm. How did he know I was a rescuer?
I put a “found” ad in the paper. It ran for a week. The very last day, I received a phone call: “I believe that you have my brother’s dog,” said the voice at the other end of the line. I found out that my dog’s name was Buck, that he was turning eleven January of 2010, and that his mother was an AKC Golden Retriever. I also found out that he was really no longer “wanted.” “No problem,” I said. “I have a rescue. I will take him and find him a wonderful home!”
Buck tested heartworm positive but after treatment he began to rally. He gained weight, his coat was shiny, and he was enjoying life again. I put forth a wholehearted effort to find him his very own home by taking beautiful pictures and posting him on Petfinder.com. I only wanted applications from perfect adopters—why should he settle for less? But one potential adopter didn’t have a fenced yard, this one didn’t like to go for walks, this one didn’t like to take their dog for rides in the car, another wouldn’t consider Buck’s raw diet, wouldn’t consider no longer vaccinating, wouldn’t consider a natural approach to fleas and on and on and on.
Six months later Buck was removed from Petfinder; he wasn’t going anywhere. He was going to live out every day of his life with me at his side, going to the barn every morning and evening, riding shotgun every chance he got, loving my grandchildren, sleeping at the side of my bed. For almost 11 years of Buck’s life no one took the time to look beneath the plain black exterior to see the perfect gem that is Buck.
Summer, 2012, Buck began to lose weight and his blood work was not good. By the first week of August Buck could not make it to the barn with me, could no longer get on his favourite sofa, could not get in the truck; he seemed to be wasting away before my eyes. I knew from his piercing stare that I had learned to love, that had told me so many things about him, that he was asking me to release him. On Friday, August 8th, 2012, on his favourite sofa at the farm he so loved, surrounded by his family, both two and four-legged, Buck crossed the rainbow bridge.
Old, dignified, perfectly mannered, and forever with me—my dog Buck!