Family, Life, Parenting

Our Promise to Buddy


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.


Buddy and Ella


He has seamlessly fit into our family.

He goes with the flow like no other dog I have ever met.


Buddy in the car

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.

Buddy laying on sick Ella

He is quite literally, man’s best friend.

He makes us laugh.

Buddy and Anna

And cry.

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.

16 thoughts on “Our Promise to Buddy”

  1. Making me cry!!!!!!!!!!

    You know, I have this whole post I wrote up in a passionate flurry the other day (never posted because I have issues) about how even bad families are better than no family. I was writing about our experience with our daughter and I believe the same applies with animals. Notice I said bad, not abusive. I have some residual guilt over past pets I had to find new homes for (one nearly ate my toddler, Um time to go to a childless home!). We have had our Augie for almost 8 years and we feel like awful pet parents, hardly spending time with him anymore in our crazy days, but if we leave him with a wonderful, dotting sitter while we go out of town, HE WILL NOT EAT! The entire time we were in India he would not eat for Pam. We’re family, and even with all our imperfections, he still chooses us. Yeah, dogs are people to us too.

    And as a mother of 2 children on varying levels of the special needs spectrum, I totally get every word you write. Your Ella is precious!


  2. Well, just about everything makes me teary these days, but this really did. Your Ella is lucky and your Buddy is, too. There is nothing like a good dog. And second chances. Glad you all found each other.


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