Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Boy and His Dog

Sam has always loved animals and even though he was not speaking yet in this photo I knew he was praying for a's know these things. When I brought up the idea about getting a dog for the family, my husband Jeff wasn't very excited. Jeff had and loved dogs when he was a child but as an adult he thought of them as yet another mouth to feed, another being to take care of. He pointed out that a dog's lifespan isn't as long as ours and both he and the children would be sad if something happened to their dog. He reminded me of our first pets...the fish...and how they were really cool at first but then cleaning that fish bowl, well....I didn't like that part very much and I'll admit I was happy when the last fish was flushed in a bathroom funeral ceremony. If you know me, I love to jump into things but the long term maintenance....not such a strong point.

Soooo, I considered what he said for a brief time, okay probably a couple of minutes or so and then began to research what type of dog we should get. I mean...he didn't really say "no" to bringing in a dog. I decided I would surprise him with the cutest and best behaved dog on the planet so that he just couldn't resist. Okay, well if you know've probably already figured out that my plan was going to crash and burn. In my life experience it wasn't going to be the first or the last time that happened.

Due to Sam's respiratory issues I began to look at the dogs considered hypoallergenic. Jeff also has a lot of allergies so I knew he would appreciate my thinking of him too, right??? But...really...can we think about that. A hypoallergenic dog. Hmmm, when I think of a dog I think of an animal that likes to roll around in the grass, run through the swamp or woods, drink out of toilets, sewers, ponds, and lick itself. Not hitting me as really hypoallergenic but it sounded good.

I also had to think about what type of dog would be best for our family. I knew we needed a bigger dog and a dog with a gentle temperament. I knew Danielle would love the little lap dog but Jeff, Ben and Sam needed something more substantial, a man's dog. So we chose a goldendoodle. I know you're laughing saying how can you think something called a goldendoodle could possibly be a man's dog. Bad name, really cool dog, trust me.

So I saved my work paychecks and put a down payment on a puppy in Kansas that I only saw via the internet. Again if you know me...NO I couldn't find a puppy locally...that would have been too easy and I was after all looking for the perfect puppy.

I know you're oohhing and ahhhing at the pictures. This is Buddy's family and the second photo is of course Buddy's glamour shot. How could Jeff possibly say "No" to that cute little face???

I arranged for the puppy to arrive around Christmas and have to share one of my favorite Jeff stories. As you can probably tell, I am often on the internet. Jeff checks up on me to see what I'm researching or interested in. Well, one day I was looking at the beautiful faces of the children waiting to be adopted at He asked me what I was looking at and I told him about the mission of Reece's Rainbow to promote the international adoption of children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. How they raise money to offer adoption grants on waiting children, and are able to give adoptive families the extra financial help they need to bring a child with special needs home from a miserable existence in overseas orphanages. I told him how these children are viewed as outcasts with no ability to learn or be functional members of society. They usually languish in mental institutions, hidden away from the world in shame. Now Jeff knowing me as well as he does quickly began worrying that I had decided it was my mission to save these children. He knows me well, he has seen my determination on things I feel strongly and passionate about...I love him dearly...and I have prayed for these children time and again and am always thrilled to see them find a forever family but I know I have limitations.

Several weeks later when it was time to pick up the puppy at the airport, I told Jeff we had to go to the airport to pick up the newest member of our family. Jeff went pale, he turned to me and said, "What are you talking about, what did you do?" I looked at him not sure where he was at and told him I had bought a dog for the family. He sighed loudly and said, "Whew, I thought you had adopted a child". I explained to him that he would have had to be involved in something like that and I wouldn't just sort of spring that on him. Needless to say, the news of the puppy was well received. Hah, see I didn't crash and burn on this one.

We told the kids that Jeff had to go to the airport to pick up a package for work and then we were going to a movie. Jeff had them stand with him checking every box at the turnstile while I went to the side office to pick up our puppy. I walked out holding the puppy and Ben and Danielle ran over telling me what a cute puppy I had and where did I get him. We then explained he was ours and then things got a little loud and the puppy got a little scared and of course peed on me. They thought that was hilarious and so our life with a dog began. Sam slept through the whole episode and did not meet his new puppy until he got home. Here they are getting acquainted.

Buddy has now been with our family for 5 years. He is Sam's best friend. That relationship took a while to build because early on Buddy seemed to think of Sam as a really cool chew toy that ran. We had to teach Buddy to be gentle but what we didn't have to teach was for him to love Sam. They began to bond early on. Buddy gave Sam his space and he didn't react much to when Sam was loud or crying. He would simply sit and watch Sam. He didn't nudge Sam like he did the rest of us to pet him. He would follow Sam and watch over him. If Sam wandered outside Buddy would always be facing in the direction Sam went.

They seem to have some type of communication with each other because if Buddy was locked up in a room, Sam was always the one to let him out. Sam has worked on his fine motor skills by attaching and releasing Buddy's leash and he takes him for walks through out the house. Sam loves to blame Buddy for any messes in the house including ones he himself makes. In recent months Sam has begun to sit next to Buddy to pet him and since Sam opened that door Buddy has begun to nudge him like he does us when he stops. Buddy allows Sam to take food and toys right out of his mouth. He won't let Ben do that.

During these last couple of weeks Sam has been sick with respiratory illnesses and will often lay on the floor and drift off to sleep. Here is what I came across the other day.

Now that is love...between a boy and his dog!!


  1. Love that story and saw more than a wee bit of myself in it. I kept chuckling out loud as I was reading it and making my kids very curious.

  2. So sweet!! I hope Buddy is feeling better now and over his respiratory issues.

  3. So cute! We have a bullmastiff puppy (he's 10 months old and not so little anymore) and him and Osiyyah have the best friendship. It's very cute. It was especially adorable when the pup was a little smaller . . . they seemed to have some sort of communication between them.

    Some of my sister's other bullmastiffs have also been the same towards him. I think they can sense that he is different ;). Our oldest bullie, who we lost a year and a half ago, used to follow Osiyyah around and was very guarding with him. It was so sweet to watch.

  4. Sue, that's a great story! I love Goldendoodles, though we have the original hypoallergenic dogs, Wheaten Terriers. They look so similar, and I wish mine were as big as a Doodle--I grew up with big dogs.
    Glad that Buddy has such compassion for Sam!

  5. Both boy and dog are adorable. My son has a service dog (a yellow lab) and he is one of the best things that's happened to our whole family.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful, the connection between a boy and his dog. So many valuable lessons we can all learn from this.

    Barbara Techel
    Award winning author of the true, inspirational Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Book Series
    My passion is bringing a positive face and voice to animals with disabilities
    Frankie is Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog

  7. I think that getting a dog was great for Tom. (and the rest of the kids)