Everyday Inspirations

 
 

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He was the kind of animal that changed your life, one we'll remember forever because he was our first family dog and we waited several years to get him. I can still clearly recall the day my parents drove us to a little farm in northern Utah to bring home our puppy. He was a bit of a chubby pup, a sweet, playful little guy that ran and tumbled with his brothers and sisters. My brother picked him out of the pile of fuzzy gray- and silver-coated babies. He wanted to name him Tyrannosaurus Rex. That was a bit long, so we finally decided on the short, simple Buddy. Bud for short.
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I was still in elementary school when we got Bud, so it is hard to imagine my parents' home without him. My life is filled with memories of him. Devoted beyond belief to my father, he was the definition of man's best friend, and he protected our little family his entire life.

He was the calmest, most gentle dog I've ever known. I remember when my parents brought home our second puppy, Beth, from the local shelter, he immediately took to his big brother role. The aggressive, nervous Beth would pounce on him, pull his ears and nip his neck, drawing blood with her sharp, tiny teeth. His patience amazed us. Never once did he growl or show his teeth. Never once was he jealous of his new sister.

Bud loved to wrestle and play ball in the backyard. (He never played catch fairly, though. Even though he'd bring the ball back to you, he never wanted to immediately give it up.) His favorite toy was a pillow my mother had given him.

He hated being left out of any situation. Sometimes in the summer we would eat on the patio and leave the dogs in the house; Bud would lick the window over and over to show his displeasure.
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Bud loved the cat, Sammy, even though Sammy couldn't stand him. He would corner Sam, inch ever closer to him, and lean his face forward until the cat would bat him on the nose. Then he would turn jubilantly, smiling his doggy smile as if to say, "I got him! I got him again." (It reminded me of how my brother and I used to irritate one another as kids.)

Bud definitely had a big old grin. He was the dog who taught me the strength of animal personalities. He would sink into sadness only when my dad was gone for an extended period. Ninety-five percent of the time, Bud was happy. Four percent of the remaining time, he was out-of-his-mind happy (car rides, in particular, made him so giddy we'd often have to ask him to calm down).

He could read us like books. I've spoken before of situations in which my mom or I was upset and how our sweet puppy would rest his head on our shoulders and let us sob into his neck. He was a snuggler. He loved to lovingly nip at my mom and dad's faces to show his affection. He would play jealous whenever someone was giving a hug that didn't include him.

He was nothing short of the word my mom used to describe him his entire life: awesome.

After work on Friday, Dan and I arrived at my parents' house so that we could all travel to the race together on Saturday morning. We walked in and knew Bud was having a rough afternoon. Over the past few weeks, he had been walking the line between a normal and happy, albeit extremely tired, geriatric dog and a dog we knew would be leaving us soon. Unfortunately, Friday was another bad day for our Bud. He was standing the foyer in a way that told us putting weight on his hind legs fatigued him. He was breathing heavily through his open mouth, often dropping dots of drool on our clothes as we held him. His eyes were at half mast, and he only wagged his tail halfheartedly, as if to say, "Hi guys, I love you and I'm so glad to see you, but boy, I'm tired, so please excuse me if I don't run around with you today."
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We took pictures with our boy, whispered in his ears that it was okay, that we would be fine if he needed to leave us, that we understood he was tired. We hugged him and held him, rubbed his soft ears, kissed his forehead. We pulled him close to fill his coat on our cheeks, let him drool all over our sleeves. We let him know he was the best puppy a family could ask for, that he made our lives beautiful.

That night, I climbed into bed around nine to get some sleep for the race. My head racing, my heart tight, I tossed and turned for hours. I was too hot, so I cracked a window. I was too uncomfortable, so I moved to the floor so the cool air could touch my face. Around 1:00 a.m., distracted by outside noises, I made my way downstairs to make a bed on the couch. Frustrated by my racing mind, I read. When that didn't work, I finally broke down, cried into my pillow, prayed for the ability to sleep.

When I finally gave up on the basement around 1:30 and made my way upstairs, I realized my parents' light was on and the car was gone. "Shit," I mumbled. I called my mom, who said, yes, they were at the vet and that she would let me know what was happening. She was crying. I offered to come take my dad's place so he could sleep. They, of course, refused. "I know you can't sleep," she said, "but please try to rest."

I tiptoed into the spare room and patted Dan, told him the news, broke down. He held me tight, let me cry against him. I settled next to him and closed my eyes. Somewhere after 2 a.m., I slipped into a deep sleep. I didn't know it at the time, but a few miles away, around the same time my heavy heart and racing mind let me fall into the sleep I had been praying for, our Bud took his last breath.

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Friday, April 15, 2011. I love my boy.

Losing our dog the morning of our race (including my dad's first marathon) was beyond exhausting, and I want to say thank you to my family and friends for the kind words and love that got us through the day. I will definitely be writing about the race on Monday, but I knew today had to be about Bud. He was beyond inspiring and we will miss him more than words can describe.
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Dad and Mom
4/17/2011 10:17:51 am

Ashley Thank you so much I couldn't have asked for anything more.

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Aime
4/17/2011 10:21:22 am

Love your sweet story Ash!

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Ruth Rudick
4/17/2011 01:51:46 pm

Ashley,Ashley,Ashley your writing abilities of expression grabs at your first sentence !I was into your emotions,love,and devotion for the beloved "BUD".Very accepting of the comforting tears down my face and tug at my heart.You have such a precious writing capability.You draw your readers into such a wonderful warmth.Thank you so much for sharing with everyone this special tribute to "BUD".

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David & Carmen Talbot
4/17/2011 03:38:33 pm

What a beautiful tribute to a family member. Bud will be remembered by many. Thank you for sharing. On the way to church today I told Dave I felt sorry for poor Beth being left behind. David said "I was thinking the same thing". So sad!!
Grandma & Grandpa Talbot

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Mary Jacobsen
4/17/2011 05:17:12 pm

Thanks Ash,can't see to write much more! love you, love Bud.

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Jen
4/18/2011 12:00:55 pm

Oh, Ash, I'm so sorry! What a beautiful story--I'm totally crying right now. Thanks for sharing that with all of us. I'm glad you guys were together with him for one last day. Hope you're doing okay--so glad Dan was there for you that night. Loves!

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Ash
4/18/2011 09:24:25 pm

@Mom and Dad: I love you so much. Thank you for bringing him into our lives.

@Aime: Thank you! I love and miss you!

@Ruth: Bud loved you so much. Thank you for being such a good grandma to him and for being here for our family. We love you.

@Dave & Carmen: Thank you for your love. Sweet Beth keeps us so happy. We were so blessed to have both of them. Love you so much.

@Mary: I absolutely adore you. I'm so glad you're in our lives and so very glad you got to see Bud last week.

@Jen: Thank you sweetie. You're so amazing and such a good friend. We were so blessed to have that time with him.

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