the hardest part is saying goodbye…

I lost my beloved dog of fifteen years today.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel. I sort of thought I’d be all right. Maybe shed a few tears…but I really thought I wouldn’t be that bad.

I was right. I didn’t feel bad.

I felt devestated.

Buster was my puppy (and yes, even at 15, he was still my baby puppy). We got him when I was eight. I wanted a hamster…we ended up with a dog. He was the funniest, weirdest dog ever to exist. Buster was not one to perform on command. He knew a total of zero tricks, couldn’t sit or stay and thought going outside was meritous of getting a treat. He didn’t really walk, he pranced. He didn’t like other dogs, probably because he was in denial that he was a dog. He would run around outside in circles, stop abruptly and have a coughing fit. He was a nervous, neurotic little dog that freaked out when a storm was coming, when he met a new person or when he heard a doorbell on television.

Seriously. He fit in perfectly with the rest of us.

And he was a sweet dog. Really, he had the sweetest temperment of just about any animal I’ve ever known. Up until he was maybe 13/14 he could not sit by himself ANYWHERE. If there was an open lap or an open set of feet, rest assured that he would be on top of you in a manner of minutes. No matter how horrible my day was, I knew that the minute I walked in the door, I’d hear him scamper to the door and greet me with a wagging tail and doggie kisses (which I hated at the time, but right now would give just about anything for). He was the one who shared my sandwiches when I couldn’t finish the other half, ate my bagels some mornings when I left them within his reach, the one who would join me on walks around the neighborhood and the one who took naps with me on the couch. I don’t quite know what I’m going to miss most.

I’ll miss his big brown eyes that would look up at me after exclaiming “BUSTER, can you please leave me alone so I can enjoy the rest of my dinner”…and then instantly feeling bad. I’ll miss his doggie kisses when I’d been crying and all I wanted was a little affection. I’ll just miss him. My dog. My baby.

Rest assured he lead a very nice life. This was a dog that had free roam over the house until just a few years ago. He was never caged. He never had to do any tricks. He got treats for going outside…or just sometimes because he was cute. He had a family that adored him and refused to kennel him when they went on vacation because they were afraid that he’d be scared that they wouldn’t come home. Most of all, he had my dad, who in the final days of Buster’s life, showed more love and kindness unlike any I’ve ever seen. This is a man that barely slept for three days, only leaving the dog’s side if he had to, sleeping downstairs in case Buster had to go out. When Buster could barely walk, it was my dad that carried him outside, cleaned up after him and constantly told him “It’s ok, buddy. You’re a good boy. You’re okay.”(I’m crying just thinking about it). My dad’s was the last face Buster saw and I know the face that he will miss most. That’s the kind of life Buster had.

I know he’s in a better place now where he’s free of sickness and pain, and believe me, that little animal was in a lot of pain the last year or so of his life. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I’d had him most of my life. He was as much my sibling as Nicole or Erik…and the fact he’s gone hurts like hell. Buster was another chapter in my childhood that came to an end. I don’t know if I’ll ever want another dog…I don’t know if I could ever truly love another animal quite like I loved Buster. I think because I still had that childhood devotion to him. We had Buster since he was two months old, when he was a little black mop of a thing that barked and ran and chewed on dirty underwear (true story). I’m not eight years old anymore…and I don’t think that I have the capability to love another animal like that. People tell me “of course you will”. But I know me. And I really don’t think I’d ever be able to love another dog who, for me, would always be a poor replacement for my Buster.

And now I have to say goodbye to someone that I loved so much (although sometimes I didn’t know it…or show it) for fifteen years.

So goodbye my dear sweet friend. I hope that wherever you are you’re happy and healthy…and know that you were so loved and you’ll be missed forever.

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