Archive for July, 2010

Talking To A Dead Man : The Buddy Dog Story

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Have I ever told you the the Buddy Dog story? No? It’s a true story. What? You want me to tell it? Ok, ok.
This is the Buddy Dog story.

Earl and I used to live in FL, the same state as my father and brother. We had friends and a marvelous trained cat.  We enjoyed our lifestyle there.
My brother and I would visit each other from time to time although we lived across the state from each other. He & his wife had a houseful of little fluffy tailed dogs with fluffy ruffs around their necks, a couple of cats, and a couple of ferrets. My brother just loved having furry animals around. He was a tough business man who built a small business that was well respected for his honor, loyalty and commitment to his clients. He had a dry sense of humor where the punch line would be delivered with a straight face and sparkles in his eyes. But he turned to mush around animals.

I’m getting to the Buddy dog part.

Then, a year after my beloved kitty died, Earl developed health issues that landed him in the hospital right after 9/11/2001. After he got out, I was offered a swanky paying job with benefits in Northern Alabama (home of the Redstone Arsenal and the Marshal Space Center).

I’m still getting to the Buddy dog part.

I sold my successful small business, took the job, and we moved. I imagine everyone has a story to tell about a bad and/or incompetent boss. I used to think they were exaggerating. I was living alone with Earl in a place where the only people I knew were my co-workers and it turned out that the several people on the job were related to the boss.  I dealt with  daily verbal browbeating from my boss,  sales orders given to this company were fished from the trashcan by the sales people after my boss had tossed them away,  shipments were deliberately delayed for weeks in order to cause my sales staff grief, so on and so on.   Since the person in charge was the owner’s daughter, and she bottle necked everyone’s communication / access to the owners, the owners believed their daughter’s outright lies about the incompetence of the people working there.

I’m getting to the Buddy dog part.

My brother’s 40th birthday was coming up. I thought about taking some time off and going to see him. Sadly, I didn’t. I didn’t have enough time accrued for a vacation. This stung because until this job, I was used to be self employed and could do whatever I wanted on my own schedule.

On my brother’s 40th birthday, he was rushed to the Mayo Clinic for emergency experimental surgery. My brother survived the surgery only to go into a coma. I went to visit my brother in a coma and offer moral support to my sister-in-law. When I got back to work, I was given a hard time for taking unpaid leave. When my brother died a few months later, I finally quit my job to go to his funeral. The death of my brother didn’t fall under the job’s bereavement plan.

Earl was not pleased at me quitting. Quitting was a terrible career move since I wasn’t getting a reference from that job. But I couldn’t stand staying in a place where I was so unhappy. I didn’t regret quitting. And we turned our hobby into a small business of selling music CDs online.

I’m getting to the Buddy dog part.

We got through that long, dreary, gray, sleety, rainy, cold winter without Earl realizing that I was suffering depression. I was felt lost, alone (Earl loved me but it didn’t feel like enough), and purposeless. I couldn’t understand why I had been encouraged to return to life during my NDE (Near Death Experience) in 1993.

I’m getting to the Buddy dog part.

One day in the spring time, the day of my brother’s birthday a year later, Earl came home from work and told me about a co-worker who’s wife had brought home a puppy without discussing it with the guy. Earl regaled me about how much his co-worker hated that puppy, especially since it chewed his leather jacket.

I told Earl, “At least you don’t have to worry about that. I won’t bring a dog home without discussing it with you first.”

I’m getting to the Buddy dog part.

That day had been my brother’s birthday, and I was miserable. That night when I went to sleep, I had the most vivid dream. I was talking to my brother, telling him how unhappy I’d gotten, that especially since the children had grown, I didn’t feel as if my life had a purpose anymore. And my brother told me that I wasn’t supposed to die at that time- that I had to take better care of myself.

In my dream, my brother said, “You should get a dog.”

“Oh, I don’t know, ” I replied. “I love animals, but I have new light beige carpet throughout the whole house. I don’t want a puppy that will pee all over my carpet and Earl would freak out over fur on the sofa. Besides, I like big dogs, not ankle biters, but Earl wouldn’t want a big dog in the house. And Earl has computer wires and cables everywhere. And we leave our indoor/outdoor shoes by the back door when we switch shoes Japanese style. A dog might chew on those… I don’t know. Getting up early every single day to let a dog out to pee would also be a pain. ”

Only a depressed person can complain, whine and come up with so many excuses!

My brother started to reply when someone else I knew from FL, (who lived somewhere between reality and LaLa Land), strolled up in the dream and asked in surprise, “Cindy! What are you doing here talking to a dead man?”

That startled me so badly that I woke up with a start. Because of the surprise of being startled awake, I remembered that dream.

Here’s where I get to the Buddy dog part. Because the next day was a sunshiney Friday afternoon I went outside to mow my yard. I was still feeling bemused by my dream of talking with my brother, so you can imagine my surprise when I mowed a strip one way, turned around, and there sat a medium sized cute dog with a fluffy ruff and tail at the edge of my yard, grinning at me. This dog looked like it was made exactly how my brother thought a cute dog should look, just a little bigger.

And this dog’s grin was so huge, it actually looked pleased with itself. It wasn’t scared of me at all. The dog had a collar on, but no tag. I’d never seen this dog before, so I found some rope in the garage, tied him to the rope, and we knocked on doors throughout the neighborhood.

No one had seen this dog before, and several people commented on what a nice looking, friendly, dog this was – except one person. That person had been a co-worker of mine and a relative of the boss. Apparently he came home early that day and had been terrorized in his open garage by the dog’s deep growls and barks an hour before.

He told me I should get rid of the dog, that it was dangerous and then slammed the door in my face to get away from the dog. The dog turned to pee on a nearby bush and again it grinned at me. Embarrassed at the dog’s behavior I quickly dragged him off to another house. (Later, after thinking about it, this also helped to convince me that this dog was from my brother. My brother was very protective of me. )

When nobody claimed the dog, I didn’t know what to do. He seemed friendly enough to me, but I hadn’t even talked with Earl about getting a dog. I didn’t think I wanted a dog. So I thought I’d leave it out in the garage and call animal control. That was my thought anyway. The dog had other ideas. He threw himself in front of the door to the house before I could get through it, and begged to be let in.

After several long minutes of this determined behavior, I finally decided that if he had a bath, he could come inside. So I hustled him into the bathroom, closed the door, and lifted him up into the tub. I was a little nervous because I didn’t have tie downs to control him. But he seemed pretty pleased to be inside, until the water came on in the tub. This dog acted as if it had never been wet before. We struggled -him to get out of the tub, me to get him clean – but although it was a pretty desperate struggle, he never once growled at me.

After his bath, I spent some time cleaning up the bathroom while the dog sat outside the bathroom door looking at me. I gave him some water and warmed some leftover chicken I had in the fridge. He wouldn’t eat, though, until I coaxed him over to the food dish.

Then I called animal control. By that time it was about 4:30 pm. I was told that unless the animal posed an immediate danger, they refused to come out to get the dog. Call back on Monday. So I was left with a damp, adoring dog that seemed to be pretty pleased with himself.

Earl came home from work. When the garage door opened, the dog didn’t bark. In fact, it merely followed me as I walked to the door between the garage and house. Before Earl came in through the door, I asked, “Earl, you know how I said I’d never get a dog without discussing it with you first?”

“Yes?” he responded slowly, distrust growing on his face. Then Earl suddenly exclaimed, while pointing at the dog behind me, “Cindy! What is THAT thing ?”

“Uhm,” I stalled, “A dog?”

And then I did some fast talking.  I explained that I couldn’t find the owner. We put an ad in the newspaper that weekend, we hung fliers all over at local stores.

Buddy Dog We found out over the weekend that the dog was very careful to stay away from wires, and merely discreetly sniffed our shoes. In fact, unless I stand over the dog and tell him to eat his food, he won’t eat it. He doesn’t climb on furniture. So we got him some cushioned beds, which he promptly claimed. Buddy also seems to be able to hold his pee for several hours after waking up. We can get up early and the dog will be sleepy, but fine. We can get up late, and the dog is fine with that, too! He shows no signs of distress until around 11:30 am.

Before the first weekend was up, we were both in love with our happy, smiling, fur baby. We finally decided we needed a name for the dog. Because the dog wouldn’t let me out of his sight, and followed me everywhere, I’d thought about naming him Shadow. But Earl kept calling him Buddy and the dog responded to that, so finally we just decided on Buddy. A neighbor later added “Dog” as in Buddy Dog, and that’s his name.

Buddy Dog TodayEvery since Buddy Dog has been around, I have had no heart issues, I have activities to keep me busy, including walking the dog daily, and I get a lot of love from this dog. There are too many coincidences for Buddy’s appearance in my life to have been mere random chance. So I tell everyone that my brother gave me this dog –  because I think he did, although I seldom mention my brother had been dead almost a year when he gifted Buddy Dog to me.

My Painting Was Included In An Eye Popping Etsy Treasury

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Natalie Murphy is an artist who created a very vibrant new Etsy Treasury. The Treasury was titled, “Fireworks for 4th July” and it is a visual feast of color in movement. You can see the original Treasury for a few more days at:
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c30e1bf55036d913d61c79d/fireworks-for-4th-july

I understand that the Etsy Treasuries are something of a moving target, so I’ve included a screen shot here for prosperity. My painting included in this treasury is the ever popular “Blue Fireworks 04 Over Water” oil painting. Thank you, Natalie! One day someone is going to be lucky in purchasing this painting.

An Etsy Treasury by Natalie Murphy, aka Killeracrylics