(Wo)Man’s Best FriendPosted: 23 May 2011
I love Senor. I tell him all the time. He’s my best human friend and my favorite person in the world. I sort of think that if you’re marrying someone who isn’t your best friend and favorite person, well, it’s a bad plan. As much as I love Senor, there is another young man in my life who stole my heart well before Senor. In this picture, Buddy and I pose an hour after bringing him home.
The Honorable Buddy Blakely Von Jones. Okay, the ‘honorable’ part I made up. The rest of his name is what he came with on his AKC registration when I adopted him. Buddy, Buddster, Budgie, The Budge, Chocolate Bear and Fuzzy Brown Bear, as we call him, was five years old when I adopted him in July 2006. He is a long-haired, purebred chocolate dachshund. I found him in the classifieds for $65 and when I emailed his owner, she said that no one else had responded and she was about to send him to a shelter.
We don’t know much about Buddy’s life before I found him in the paper. He came from Wisconsin originally and ended up in a puppy mill in Texas. He was intact when we got him and quite independent. He’d been living on a farm in rural Minnesota for a year, running around and chasing bunnies into a woodpile every day. I don’t know why the woman on the farm who rescued him didn’t want him…just that she didn’t want another house dog.
Go figure. She didn’t know that she was giving up the sweetest, best dog in the world. You just have to make sure to give him the down blanket.
We adopted Oliver about a year later and he is possibly the silliest dog I’ve ever met. He tries to bring his toys to bed at night, he rolls over in parking lots and in the middle of streets if he thinks someone might pet him. He snaps at Rottweilers and makes them roll over to him (for real, he’s kind of an idiot). Buddy and Oliver are the best of friends and there’s not much they do that isn’t in unison, hip to hip. Thick as thieves, always getting into some kind of mischief together. Or, sleeping.
While Oliver is my baby in all ways, Buddy is my prince.
Buddy picks up the toys that Oliver leaves laying around and puts them back in their bed. He rarely barks and when he does, it’s a low, deep bark that doesn’t really fit how small he is. When Oliver barks, it’s earsplitting and shrill. Buddy sits down and eats his food slowly, chewing each bite. Oliver swallows his food whole in 5 seconds flat. Before we got Oliver, Buddy was never crated but spent his days on my sofa waiting for me to come home from work. Oliver can’t be trusted not to bark and pee on things, so in a dachshund hotel they go. Buddy wins over everyone. He’s as soft as fleece and his chocolaty eyes can bore holes into your soul.
For a few months, it was just Buddy and Mommy. He slept next to me every night, had one-half of the sofa any time he wanted, and had the run of the house. He was always happy to see Senor, but I think when Senor moved in and Buddy got relegated to the foot of the bed instead of the pillow….well he still hasn’t let us forget it. If we let him, he will sleep between our two pillows at the top of the bed. A barrier between Mommy and “Bad Man” as we imagine he refers to Senor. In truth, he loves Senor.
Buddy is a fabulous dog. He wins over the hearts of anyone who meets him. The groomers buy him treats, vets tell me that they would have nothing but dachshunds if they were all like my Buddy. And Buddy has seen a LOT of vets.
Last year in May Buddy had a pretty intense breathing problem. He was in pain, he couldn’t breathe very well and he was so lethargic he wouldn’t eat or drink. After every test they could think of, he was put on a feeding tube so we could get him fluids and food. They started him on an anti-inflammatory drug that cost $70 for 10 days, and we crossed our fingers that it would work. It did, and not too long after, we got our Buddy back. We never knew what exactly had caused the problem in his lungs, but it went away and he was our happy, playful Buddy again, spending his time digging holes and fluffing blankets wherever he goes.
Last week we took Buddy back to the vet. 1 year and 4 days after I had spent 7 hours in the vet ER with his lung problems, we were back. He’d been acting fine, but some brown urine had us concerned that he had an infection. The answer we got was not what we were prepared for. There was a ‘mass’ (read: tumor) in his abdomen. Stomach cancer and tumors do not occur very often in dogs. Less than 1% of canine cancer is stomach-related. Dachshunds are not a breed that are prone to tumors in the stomach. We left the vet heartbroken. Buddy was acting fine, playing like normal. Oliver cried during the whole visit because that is was Oliver does. He’s a spaz. Buddy was busy sniffing, investigating, wagging his tail and making googly eyes at his new doctors.
Thursday night was a bad night at our house. I ended up cooking a lavish dinner and baking cupcakes. It’s what I do. We both cried as we thought about losing our Buddy. He’s 10 which means he isn’t young but dachshunds regularly live to be 15-16 years old. Depending on what his ultrasound would tell us, it could be very bad news. I tried to mentally prepare myself. But I kept imagining our house without the ticka-ticka-ticka of Buddy busily trotting from room to room in front of me. Or behind me. He follows me no matter where I’m going. I tried not to think about what Buddy’s leaving us would do to Oliver…and overly emotional dog at the best of times.
On Friday I brought Buddy back in for his ultrasound. Leaving the house without Oliver was a bit of a task. After shutting all the windows and turning up NPR, Buddy and I left three times. Normally Oliver is quiet when we leave but not yesterday. His shrill yipping lasted until Senor came home. Oliver is rarely left completely alone.
I dropped Buddy off for his ultrasound and went grocery shopping. Trust me, it’s better than waiting in that ‘medical imaging’ waiting room. I’ve been there before. Buddy, although displeased about the visits to the vet, was a good boy as always. He’s so predictable. The vet called to tell me that he was done and I could come back to get him. She mentioned what a sweetheart he is, how well-behaved he is, and could she give him a few treats? He is a lover, a crowd-pleaser, and a lady’s man through and through. She couldn’t believe that while they were poking and prodding him, he was still giving them kisses.
The good news that we learned is that the tumor is on Buddy’s spleen…an organ you don’t need! Hooray! It has to come out. There were no signs of anything nefarious in his bloodwork, urinalysis, or ultrasound. His liver and kidneys are like normal. His lymph nodes are okay. Most canine cancer is lymphoma, so healthy lymph nodes is a really, really, really good thing.
As his very kind doctor told me, dachshunds are not prone to cancerous tumors off the spleen. It’s pretty uncommon. Given that there are no other signs of anything going on, there’s a chance the tumor is benign. Or that if it is malignant, the removal will take care of it. We probably won’t know until after the tumor and his spleen are removed exactly what is going on and what more might need to happen. Amazingly, Buddy isn’t showing any signs of pain or discomfort. He seems to get tired a little more easily, but he’s still his enthusiastic self. Hopefully after the surgery this week he’ll get back his normal energy. He has still been sleeping, lounging, fluffing blankets, taking treats and investigating the sidewalk outside the same as always. And let’s not forget, napping on his back with his mouth open.
I don’t write about my dogs often because, well, I don’t think most strangers really want to hear about what cute thing your dog did today. I love animals but even I tend to skim over animal posts and just look at pictures. I’ll understand if you did the same here. This post is more of a therapeutic one for me than for you. I hate to be selfish, but you’ll get a yummy recipe in the next post, I promise. But really, our dogs mean everything to us.
The best part of this whole ordeal was that Thursday and Friday were vacation days for me. My first ones since Christmas/New Year’s. Thursday was the first day Senor and I had off together since then as well. Apparently, we have terrible luck. If our Budgie can get through his surgery and be fitted with a clean bill of health, I don’t think either of us will mind in the least. I would happily give up all of my vacation days in exchange for a healthy, happy (10 year old) puppy.