As I am writing this, I am being interrupted by one of my favorite people in this world.
Our dog, Buddy.
I know he isn’t “people” but to our family, he is.
For many years, we were good without a dog; we had a fish, Lucy, that required no care other than the weekly tank cleaning and twice a day feeding.
But for years the youngest member of our family has begged and pleaded for a dog.
This summer, we had told Ella, was finally going to be THE summer.
We had read that dogs are good for children who have ADHD, and Ella is so good with animals of all kind.
We owed her a dog, we reasoned.
It was just the “how” and “where” we hadn’t nailed down.
We owned a dog before. His name was Riley.
I wrote a post about Riley over a year ago and I never hit publish because I was afraid to share it, honestly.
It still sits in my inbox waiting because I still haven’t gotten the courage up to share it.
We gave Riley up for adoption to another family in 2007, just weeks before Ella came into our world.
It is a long story that I won’t go into here because someday I will get up that courage.
We thought we would never again get a dog because of our experience with Riley. More because of the guilt we felt than with the actual Riley experience. We honestly felt like we never deserved a dog again and that maybe we weren’t cut out for a pet other than our goldfish.
But over the years, we could not ignore the attraction that animals have with Ella and vice versa. She is what we have always called an “animal whisperer”.
When Ella asked for a dog every single birthday, holiday, school break or random Tuesday, we would always say with reservation, “maybe, someday, we will see……”
We left it open-ended.
Until this summer.
It was on July 6th that our lives changed.
Ella, her friend Sophie and I went to see the comfort dog from their school at the local library. What they didn’t know was I had also planned a surprise visit to a local pet store that happens to adopt out dogs they rescue from kill shelters after our library visit.
I thought it would be a fun dog filled morning for the girls; I had no intention of meeting our dog to be.
We have been semi-looking for a few years now, nothing purposeful really. Just visiting pet shelters if we happened to be near one, mostly so Ellie could see the animals but also seeing if there was a connection.
He was the smallest dog in the pile of dogs playing in the tiny room. He was jumped on, pawed at, clawed, when I scooped him up.
I carried him around the shop without even realizing it; talking to the other dogs with this little black dog under my arm.
The girls took turns holding him gently, talking to him and giving him hugs. It was when I could hear them quietly discussing names, that I started to panic inside.
Wait! We weren’t doing this yet! IT’S-A FUN DOG DAY! Not THE day!
Then Ella said, “I think he should be named Buddy, he seems like the perfect buddy. Doesn’t he mom?”
My child has weathered a lot of shit in the past eight years but specifically the past four. Having a “buddy” is one of the many parts of ADHD that are character builders. For those who have children with special needs, I am not telling you anything new. Social cues, knowing inferences made, sarcasm, none of that resonates with kids who have ADHD. So in turn, making friends is always a challenge.
Sure Ella has friends but it doesn’t come as naturally as it does for others and others don’t “get” her as much as the average child.
Buddies are hard to come by in these parts, as well as loyalty. And Ella really, really deserved a loyal companion more than anyone I know.
We went through the adoption process within ten minutes of meeting Buddy. There was a three-day waiting period and background check, so we left the store without our Buddy but over the next few days, we knew it wasn’t a snap judgment. We couldn’t wait to see him again. We knew that we needed him as much as he needed us.
He has seamlessly fit into our family.
He goes with the flow like no other dog I have ever met.
He is my shadow.
He is always looking for his family when we aren’t all together.
And when we are, he is at peace.
He is quite literally, man’s best friend.
He makes us laugh.
He saved our lives on July 6th.
He is the perfect fit for our family. He makes us complete. And we can’t imagine life without him.
Thank you for giving our fragile family a try, Buddy.
We will never let you go.