Remembering Buddy…


It’s a year today my amazing dog Buddy lost his battle with cancer. I still think about him a lot, and miss him. When I look at Emmy, our new GSP, I can’t help making comparisons. My Buddy is a hard act to follow, and I really have to give Emmy a whole lot of grace to be who she is. I guess I’m not entirely over it yet? And maybe I’ll never be.

‘Buddy Memoirs’ is a series of poems that allowed me to work through the process of letting go of my great friend and companion.  I’ve written other posts on the subject of losing pets, including here and here. I dedicate this post to those who have experienced similar loss.

God understands. And so do I.

Buddy Memoirs

i.

I hold the yogurt container
while you lick it clean
and a slice of cheese destined for the lasagna
seems better served to you.
“He has ears like velvet” Malcolm remarks
as he lays with you on the floor
strokes your faithful head
How do I know when it’s time,
when pain is your constant companion
as you have been to me?
Dear creature without words
your chocolate eyes speak of long walks
and one way conversations on the back porch
you still like to ride in the car
ears pricked up

ii.

Oh, Buddy
there are things I’m noting so I won’t forget
stubby tail with skunk stipe, wags your body
toes contort in pleasure as we run hands down your back
speak love words in baby talk
insatiable appetite for flushing birds in the yard
and cruising food on the counter
6 fresh baked banana muffins for a mid-day snack
belgian chocolates by the box

The early days, dog park days, weight loss days,
The first time I saw you point – vibrating hard-wired DNA miracle
and waiting for ducks to come back, sitting still,
looking at the sky – ears perked up
Ears absorbing tears and words no human has heard
Your eyes, knowing in their depths
the colour of butterscotch, like a werthers toffee
ecstasy at 7 and 3, spinning for your dinner dish
all those walks, all those walks
losing you on Knox mountain, the elephant stepping off my chest
when I found in the the pouring rain
sitting on the sunny porch early in the morning with you drowsy at my feet
protecting me from all things buzzing,
wasps met their demise in your clenched teeth

Like watching Art die, only here at home.

iii.

What kind of dog is that, strangers ask?

such a beautiful dog
such a gorgeous dog
so regal
so elegant
so smart, sweet and gentle

What do they know.

We know.

iv.

This bloody hurts to let you go.
It was supposed to be so much longer, like it said in the book
your breed being long lived, up to 17 years. Bullshit!
You’ve only been with us 5 years… like a sunny day memory
and now it’s over
way too fast.
So I’m sad and mad and mixed up.
What will I do without you?
Who will I take care of?
Who will listen and follow and adore me
like you do?

I’m hanging on too tight today
tears and sniffles and words and wishes
I’m believing in here-afters with you
that God would never have gone to all that trouble
to make your kind
if this is it.
I’m hanging my hat on the verse where the
lion lays down with the lamb
and the Revelation horses bring me hope
that I will see you again.

Your name is ordained to follow me
in blogs and passwords and memories

I’m letting go in little ways
while you lay here on the couch beside me
breathing deep
Plans are gelling
and we will walk into this as best we can
under the circumstances.

But, Buddy, Oh Buddy.

v.

In all this you are larger
somehow magnified.
Your circle of influence constricts with limitations,
distills to pure intimacy of you and I.

Do you remember long hikes, or birds in the yard?

As I contend with masking pills in cheese
and contemplate playing God,
do you have knowledge of what comes
alongside love?

vi.

I dream’t last night of substitutionary atonement
and woke to cold truth, pillow damp, heart racing
anticipating
the last car ride, the last pills
masked in cheddar morsels.

The Spring morning expands in grace
allows us time enough
for our last walk, slowly now
between the budding lines of macintosh
wide branches witness to our passing.

I read you poetry on the porch steps
salt words linger on my lips
I absorb your smell, your feel, your sound,
write you into memory.

Then time, stretched to its extremity
returns us to this breath held static place
Your eyes say you understand
my ungodly secret.
You follow when I call your name.

Soli Deo Gloria

Lesley-Anne Evans

11 thoughts on “Remembering Buddy…

  1. Dear L.A.

    In learning to mourn and then let go, it creates space and allows God to fill the empty hands and heart with the gift of His presence…..and all the other things that He desires to pour into that vast place.

    May your space be filled today.
    love
    Elsie

  2. I feel, too, that I could say ‘Oh, Buddy’….. what a good dog. What a loss.

    As you say, in your usual wise way, L-A, God knows our loss, and others do – those who have also said goodbye to good dogs. I am one of those. I do feel your grief.

    Yet, they live forever in the love and memories we hold of them … and one cannot replace another .. ever. My own are with me still, in their smell, their coats, their eyes, their ways, their love, my love, their days, our shared times … the closeness, their character, the funny stuff and the wonderful experience that it was to be with them in this life. Never dimmed. Tears could come even now .. at their passing.

    And, my wonderful, wonderful cat, Ezra, who was companionship personified, and lived his short life to the very fullest!

    My grateful homage to all my passed animal companions … may they rest in peace .. I release them to rest in peace.

    Yes, the pain of separation eases …. and with it comes a clarity of all of the above, I find. To be treasured… and cherished … always.

    You would agree, I know, L-A. And we both share the privilege that it is to share our lives with a dog, a cat … or, I am sure, may other creatures.

    They bless our lives so abundantly … just by their natural presence. Thank you God for the superb blessing that is a pet … and, please, God, give us strength to cope with the partings. Some seeming much too soon.

  3. Phew! Beautiful but hard to get through it Lesley-Ann. I’m crying with you even now. I’ve recently played God for my two cat companions; Pixie-Lou last September and Intheway four years ago. I loved them and they loved me and I still miss them.

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