Every morning my son Shaolin goes through the kitchen door to greet his best friend Buddy. Buddy, a Swiss-Shepard, was a member of our family for exactly four and a half years. Last Sunday Buddy was not at the kitchen door to greet Shaolin nor did he come galloping in response to Shaolin’s whistles. After jumping into his slippers, Shaolin went to look for him. Jen, Kiara-Lee and I were having morning tea when we heard a blood curdling scream followed by howling cries of pain and helplessness. I sprinted to Shaolin with Jen in hot pursuit. We found Shaolin crying uncontrollably over Buddy’s lifeless body. Jen burst out crying and so did our daughter Kiara-Lee who came to see what the commotion was about. Kiara-Lee went on to her knees and picked Buddy’s huge head and caressed it. I felt my heart chakra slam shut as the emotion of pain swelled from deep inside of me. Buddy was a big boy. He weighted over 50kgs. We wrapped him in a white sheet and buried him close to where we found him. To ensure that nobody walks over his grave, his resting place is closed off with a little wooden fence and we’ve planted flowers on his grave. Later we huddled together as a family and each shared stories about him. Last Friday he went to the palour. To this Jen while sobbing uncontrollably, said that he was so clean when he died. He had one helping of food left on Saturday. I was meant to buy his food on Saturday but deferred it to Sunday. To this Jen, still crying, said that he was such a good boy that he finished all his food before leaving us. This has been the biggest loss that we have experienced as a family. Shaolin’s social media status reads “Rest in Peace Buddy. Words can’t describe the joy and happiness you brought to us. I love you.” Kiara-Lee’s reads “RIP my boy. I love you so much.” Jen’s reads “RIP Buddy, I am going to miss you so much.”
I’ve written this message to remember our beloved friend and give him a worthy send-off. During the past few days I remembered the things he used to do and realized that he taught me a few things without me knowing it:
1) When someone comes to the gate make a big noise so that everybody knows we have visitors.
2) When our visitors are leaving, run around their car and make a bigger noise to let them know that we are going to miss them.
3) When any member of the family is outside follow them around and give them company.
4) When Jen is in the court yard drying clothes, sit near her and play the body guard. Jen called him Buddy guard.
5) When Shaolin, Jen or I drive into the driveway run from wherever you are and greet us like we are the most important people in the world.
6) Always enjoy a good scratch on the muzzle or under the chin.
7) Shake hands like a gentleman. This was an amazing character trait which we did not teach him. From the time he was a baby he’d sit and offer his paw to shake hands.
8) Lie down and mind your own business but when a family member shows up, get up and chase the hadeda birds to show who is the boss.
9) When you play, give it everything.
10) You’re not meant to be alone. Be part of a pack. Be loyal to your pack and love your pack unconditionally.
We miss Buddy immensely. On Monday morning, Jen burst into tears and said “I never knew that I’d miss an animal so much”. Repeating Shaolin’s words: “Rest in Peace Buddy. Words can’t describe the joy and happiness you brought to us. I love you.” My hope is that everyone experiences the kind of unconditional love Buddy gave us.