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about buddy

This article is presented in loving memory of Buddy who was euthanized at the age of 14 in his home with his family present. We miss you Buddy and hope your story can help other pets become the wonderful pet that you became. I imagine you restored to four legs, digging holes, swimming, chewing on things, making your cute grumbly noise and wagging your helicopter tail in heaven...

I adopted Buddy in third year of veterinary school. I think he chose me. I took one look at his file and worried that nobody would take this dog home. He’d already been at the school for quite a while. He had an injured hind leg and was, to say the least, emotionally as well as physically damaged. Despite having no money I just knew he had to come with me. I only had one more year of school left and I decided I would figure a way out to afford him. He pulled on the leash, he growled if you tried to hug him or stood over him, he guarded his food bowl and toys and yet he was distraught when you left him. He would growl and hackle up when a stranger approached but his tail would be wagging. He wanted to be loved but just didn’t seem to know how to act. So, against my own better judgment, I took him home. As well as dealing with his physical injury I started rehabilitating him behaviourally using methods from a behavioural textbook. I made lots of mistakes but fortunately Bud still got it. I was very lucky to have the help of my pharmacology professor and a sympathetic drug representative from Pfizer who supplied me with a drug called Clomicalm on a trial basis. The medication reduced Bud’s anxiety while I went through the retraining exercises. There were lots of ups and downs in this process. There were more than a few tears at times when I felt like I might not be able to help him. But I loved him tons and persisted and eventually his behaviour started improving and I was able to wean him off the medications.

His physical injuries were still healing. Despite several amazing surgeries to repair the damage to his injured leg he was still in pain. I bandaged his foot daily for a full year. I made the tough decision to have the leg amputated and within a week he was pain free. He could still swim, run and play with the other dogs.

He became a wonderful dog for me and my husband. At about 13 years old he started to slow down. He had arthritis in his one remaining hind leg. We started on special foods and medications and we helped him up and down the stairs. As his arthritis progressed we added in other medications, tried laser light therapy, Adequan injections, and massage. These all helped some and bought us some wonderful memories. The best one being a swim in Clear Lake in the summer of 2011. We fitted him with a life jacket and he swam beside me while I snorkelled. In writing this I think about how far he had come and how much he taught me and how much I loved coming home to him and the little howl he did when he’s really happy. I have to remind myself at times like this how lucky I am to have met Bud.