How to know your pet is yours

I lost my first Miniature Schnauzer Hans to cancer in March. I cried every day for months. Finally, early in September I told myself it’s time for a dog, and I started looking for Miniature Schnauzers on petfinder.com.

Buddy Egan, June 2009 | photo courtesy of Diane Egan

It took a couple of weeks, and there he was. The ad said his name was Clancey, and he was around six years old.

My husband was used to not having a dog again. He wanted to be the free spirit he was before Hans came into our life.

But I found Clancey three weeks before my 50th birthday. I told John that my 50th birthday was going to be real expensive unless he let me get this dog. The next thing I knew, we were driving to Naples, Florida to bring him home.

When we got to the adoption fair where Clancey was, I couldn’t believe it was the same dog. He was white like the picture showed. He was severely underweight. His bones were sticking out like nothing I had ever seen before. His skin was irritated from the haircut they had given him. He was a mess.

John saw me holding the dog in my arms and said “No. You can’t be serious. We’re not taking that dog.” I told John that if we didn’t take him, the dog would die, and I’m changing his name to Buddy.

The next day I took Buddy to our vet for a check up and to see if he had any other ailments that needed taken care of. The vet thought Buddy was between 11 and 13 years old. I said “No, that can’t be. The place I adopted him from said he was six. Maybe you think he’s so old because he’s lived a hard life?”

John and Buddy in Key West, Florida September 2009 | photo courtesy of Diane Egan

Buddy spent all his life in a puppy mill – between 11 and 13 years. Someone had removed his voice box, making it impossible for him to bark. Every time he opened his mouth to bark, nothing but a slight whisper would come out.

When I’d take him for walks, people would drive past us, see Buddy’s condition and GLARE at me like I was the one who abused him. I really wanted a sign to carry that said “I FOUND HIM THIS WAY! GIVE ME A FEW MONTHS TO MAKE HIM BETTER!”

I wasn’t sure how he’d do being around people, so I asked friends to come to the house. Buddy passed with flying colors. He was gentle with children. He loved everyone, especially me. Buddy slept with us every night. If we left a plate of food on the bed and walked out of the room, it would still be there when we got back.

He was in sync with my feelings. On February 14, 2007, John and I had a terrible argument. I remember the date because we have never had an argument before that made me angry enough to go for a walk to cool down. I called Buddy so I could take him for a walk with me. John’s golf bag and clubs were on our front porch. Buddy walked over to the bag, lifted his leg and peed all over it! I was so proud of my dog! He did something for me that I didn’t have the presence of mind to accomplish. He got extra treats when we came home. I didn’t tell John what Buddy did until years later.

A few times my job required me to go out of town and stay overnight at a hotel. I told my boss the only way I would go is if I could bring Buddy with me.

My hotel room was always booked in the back of the Holiday Inn so Buddy and I wouldn’t attract attention. I wrapped Buddy in a white towel and sneaked him in the room. When we went to work, Buddy had his own office.

In September 2009 Buddy went on vacation with us to Key West. We found a lovely bed and breakfast that allowed dogs. Especially dogs that couldn’t bark. Buddy was the perfect guest.

Buddy Egan on vacation in Key West, Florida. September 2009 | photo courtesy of Diane Egan

In November 2009, I noticed a lump under Buddy’s jaw that wasn’t there before. The vet performed a biopsy. He had tears in his eyes when he told me Buddy had lymphoma, and he didn’t have long.

I couldn’t breathe. The vet gave me Prednisone to give to Buddy in the hopes it would help him. I left work every day at lunch time to walk, play with him, and give him his pill. Buddy and I were among the vet’s best customers. He needed a tune up at least every three weeks to keep him healthy. Nobody saw this coming.

Two months later, Buddy wasn’t at the front door to greet me. He was in his dog bed, just watching me. I gave him his pill, was going to take him out to pee, but he suddenly starting having a seizure.

I didn’t know I could move so fast. I grabbed a towel and wrapped Buddy up in it. We took off for the vet, and was seen immediately. Both of our vets were there that day. The decision was made to let Buddy go. Everyone who worked at the vet’s office started crying. They all loved Buddy.

I asked to stay with him until the end. I held my dog in my arms when he went to sleep forever.

I have never had a dog put such total trust in me until Buddy. He even taught John and I how to argue. My favorite part of an argument was usually “You need to be more like Buddy…lips move with nothing coming out!”

We had a great 3 years, and I don’t regret one minute of his time with us. I miss him so much. I’ll never have another dog like Buddy.



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