Today is the one year anniversary of meeting Buddy. I remember being so upset because Steve wanted a black lab, and the one he chose at the Humane Society was crazy. He wouldn't listen at all, pulling so hard on the leash that I went flying, hitting the ground hard. Steve kept insisting, "See, he's alright" while being towed across the yard. There was no way I was bringing that one home, especially when I wanted to be able to run WITH my dog - not dragged behind. Steve finally agreed, and we decided to go back and see Buddy.
On our first walk through, he had been the only dog to stand up and greet us in a non-maniacal way. He'd tilt his head in that inquisitive way, and just look at us. No barking, no jumping, just curiosity. When they brought him outside for us to meet, he danced around so happily and then settled into my lap. He won my heart instantly. Unfortunately, we couldn't move into our newly bought home for two weeks and could not have dogs at our condo. The lovely ladies at the Humane Society were kind enough to board him for that time. I'd visit him every day for a couple hours while we waited impatiently to bring him home. Yes, we went through a difficult transition while Buddy adapted to his new life. After years of abuse and neglect, he was afraid of everything. He was also extremely anxious and hated when we would leave him alone. We spent a lot of money repairing damages done to our home, but it was well worth it.
Now, it's been one year. Buddy no longer destroys things. He can be left alone in the house while I'm at work with no problems. He watches from our big picture window and waits until the car pulls into the drive, when he knows I'm home and we'll go on another adventure. Buddy has learned to run next to me and not to pull on the leash. He watches over me when Steve is gone, and just brings a lot of love to our family.
This morning, looking forward to a long weekend and some hiking in the rain, we drove to one of our favorite trailheads. There was a light rain and snowflakes and absolutely no wind. As usual, I let him off leash once down the trail. Buddy trotted along, sniffing everything and marking his territory. He'd watch the squirrels and rabbits, but stayed close. That is, until out of nowhere, three deer stood up from where they'd been snuggling in the grass. Buddy took off after them, which he does from time to time. I kept on hiking, knowing he'd come back after 5-10 minutes.
Time went on with no Buddy. After 20 minutes, I started to worry. After 40 minutes, I was in a panic. Calling for him, whistling for him, I hiked the same trail several times. Every once in awhile, I'd hear a bark that I thought was Buddy. That made me panic even more, because Buddy ALWAYS comes back to find me. I was worried that he was hurt or trapped and I couldn't get to him. The terrain was impossible to search off trail because it was so steep and I didn't want to get lost as well. It was 35 degrees out and still raining. I hiked back to the car, drove home to see if he found his way there. No sign of Buddy. Driving back, I was a mess. Our one year anniversary, and I'd lost my dog. Every possible bad scenario went through my head. How was I going to tell Steve?
Parking at the trailhead, I collected my things so I could do a long search if necessary. And there, on the trail, stood Buddy. I called for him, and he seemed so uncertain. Finally, he came running, and I noticed there were large branches stuck to his backside. Buddy launched himself at me, shivering uncontrollably, obviously scared and cold. He was limping a bit, but I couldn't see any blood. There was so much debris stuck in his fur and tail that he couldn't really sit down. I tried to get some of it out, but it was impossible. We drove home, and I dried him off. It took a pair of scissors and lots of patience to cut out every last bit of debris. He also had dried debris in and around his mouth. I can only guess that he must have gotten stuck somewhere and had to pull and chew is way out. After the ordeal, he his sticking like glue and we are both really tired. We had one lucky anniversary.