Bringing Up Buddy

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Buddy: foot warmer and friend

Our sorely-missed Sou’wester winds have returned to slog the island, hellbent on casting leaves like confetti, reviving moss to its rightfully green state, and painting each pane with raindrops and rivulets. The world is dark outside my windows, the drizzle present, and the chill, impatient. I write from my kitchen nook, on an old oak table with Buddy at and on my feet. He’s snoring quietly and comfortably while the din of the downspout sets a tempo to his breathing and repose.  My toes are kept warm by this 65-pound beanbag who takes up more room than one would suspect, but I’m not complaining. In fact, Buddy has grown to fill the house both in presence and with his loving and bombastic personality.

Put down the camera and play with me!
Put down the camera and come play with me!

It’s hard to believe I adopted this big lug close to a year ago. Buddy went from apartment living to plodding the porch and parlors of an old farmhouse with acres to explore (supervised, of course). For the first few months, we got to know each other, and in that time, he learned that a butt rub is a whimper away, that treats are stored in a coffee tin, and that I’m basically a total pushover. As for me, I’ve learned that Buddy is the most congenial fellow, neither growling nor posturing toward any soul or beast, always happy to see you, me, the neighbor and the stranger whether two-legged, four-legged or festooned with feathers and sporting a beak.

Buddy stealing kisses
Buddy stealing scenes and kisses

Buddy operates as if playtime is anytime, and that the only worthwhile interruption is mealtime, treats, or a walk, or ride in the truck. If I pick up any object whether heavy like a hammer or slight like a sock, all bets are off for me completing the intended duty; it’s tug-of-war time for the big guy and Tom’s chore list goes on life support. (Did I mention that I was a pushover?) Buddy’s been weaned off of fine leather footwear, and now focuses mainly on black plastic nursery pots, ropes, and raw bones, though it doesn’t take much for him to find new teething treasures when introduced. (Yogurt containers are this week’s preferred chew toy.) My workboots, offerings any time they are off my feet, are gathered up by Buddy and stacked in prominent piles around the house, like tributes. Any time I return home, Buddy greets me with a boot.

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Floral buckets: On Buddy’s chew-toy bucket list

If Vashon Island had a version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Buddy would surely have his own star. He’s known at all storefronts, and by all shopkeepers. I fear Buddy’s treat habit may imperil Vashon Ace Hardware’s profit margins. At Snapdragon Bakery, Buddy knows the regulars (make that the marks) who save him flakey tidbits should he happen to drop by with that Tom fellow.  It’s not uncommon to hear, “Hey, Buddy!” shouted from a passing car, and for approaching strollers to request a pet or two. Buddy is more than willing to accommodate, and quickly backs in, just in case you didn’t know where to start first. (All roads lead to the butt rub.)

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Buddy wants a place at the table, and on the table as well.

Buddy beams an effortless charisma. Even when I had Boz and Gracie around (the Cary Grant and Greta Garbo of bulldogs, respectively) folks didn’t make a fuss over them like they do Buddy. He’s a joyful jester wrapped in fur, and that is not lost on any onlooker. In my truck, he hangs out the window so daringly that I’m afraid the flaps and folds of his skin will launch him like a kite.  Any drive to town quickly prompts an oncoming motorcade of smiles. The big guy is hard to miss and hard not to love.

Buddy riding shotgun
Buddy goes windsurfing

There are times when Buddy sleeps, like now on this early morning, that I think of Boz and Gracie, and my first dog Maggie and the fond memories and times we enjoyed.  I miss them dearly, but know Buddy shares their legacy of love and companionship in his own way and on his own terms. Yes, he’s his own dog, an original, and I’m happy to report Buddy has found a forever home at Tall Clover, taking permanent residence on the farm and in my heart.

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Tom and Buddy after putting in a good day at Tall Clover Farm

34 COMMENTS

  1. Aww, Buddy. One day you will have a scratch and a kiss from me…I promise. Tom, so glad you two are adjusting to each other so well. But then, you are almost living in paradise, so what would we expect? I am curious about the little house with the smoke coming out of the chimney. Is that your “office” for gardening?

  2. Always enjoy hearing about well loved pets.
    So sad when folks tie a dog out in the yard and never look at them. We have several in the area like that and it breaks my heart. All they want is love……….and they give back plenty in return.
    You’re a good’un, Tom

  3. How fortunate we all are to have acquired having nature and our animals in our life’s. The personalities of each are so different.

    My day is always completed by a prayer from my heart for this wealth that I have been given.

    Please give Buddy a butt rub from the Furry Gang and V.

  4. What a wonderful, wonderful piece, Tom! Every time I see a picture of Buddy, I, too, think of Boz and Gracie, though I never met them, your stories made them larger than life. Isn’t it amazing how Buddy, though so different in temperament, makes his own place in the hearts and lives of those around him,and heals the hurt of the loss. I am so grateful to our furry friends for that!

  5. Your Bully stories always make me smile. But I’m curious about the butt rubs. If I did that to my herding breed dogs they would look at me like, hello? boundaries! Is that a bulldog thing?

    • Perri, that is so funny, I chuckled for sure. Yep, bulldogs love the butt rub and are unfamiliar with the word “boundaries.” I think my left hand may become arthritic from all the butt rubbing demands, leaving me to type one handed with the right…like now. 😉

  6. Thank you again, Tom, for a delightful post! Your writing, as always, is infectiously delightful!
    I had a smile on my face, and found myself chuckling and also with a lump in my throat through the entire read. Having followed your blog for several years now, I came to love Boz and Gracie, as if they were my own, and delighted in your photos and tales about them. I could tell you had your hands full with Buddy right at the start, but it sounds like he’s settling in and has just about gotten you fully trained! LoL! Thank you for sharing your life on Vashon Island with your readers…..your blog is definitely a bright spot in my day! Please give an extra butt rub to your pal for me. 🙂

    • Thank you Nancy, your words are most comforting and kind, as Boz and Gracie were pretty special to me, too. So nice to hear from you, and thank you for taking the time to brighten my day. Now onto the butt rub, for Buddy that is. 😉

  7. A delightful post, Tom, guaranteed to bring cheer and smiles. Yes, I miss dear Boz and Gracie. They are not forgotten. Buddy is a first-class guy. The picture on the table top is priceless. I think I’d faint if I found Millie (black lab/greyhound mix) sitting on the kitchen table. 🙂

    • Stephanie, I think Buddy’s table climbing days are close to over, mainly because I push the chairs in now. Though he’s been known to push the chairs out as his stairway to tabletop heaven.

  8. As always, Tom, a wonderful post. It is such a joy to read the comments from other dog-lovers as well. Gracie runs our family with her wide vocabulary of barks, and, like you, we’re pushovers! Love the little cabin. A guest house? I’d be careful of that, Tom – you’ll have us all booking our space!

  9. Your blog and website are a delight!! We live in Vancouver and are escaping to the Sunshine Coast to acreage and a cabin built in 1937. Your blog and website are filling my head with ideas for the garden and cabin. I’ve copied many of your dahlia choices and found decanters similar to yours at the Salvtion Army thrift store. I love your idea of one dinner plate dahlia per decanter- a stunning way to display these big beauties which are otherwise quite difficult to showcase well. You have doubtlessly seen Floret Farms for dahlia ideas, too. Woof from Skittles and Jelly Bean

    • Howdy Skittles and Jelly Bean, welcome! So glad to make your acquaintance. The sunshine coast, eh? Well I had to look that up because I couldn’t believe there was any such geographic designation north of or including Seattle. 😉 Your cabin sounds pretty darn dreamy, and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures on the coast. Thanks for the kind words and visit, Congratulations on the move!

  10. PS- If you haven’t seen Margaret Roach’s ‘A Way to Garden’ (Away to Garden?), it is full of inspiring, highly-reliable and in-depth gardening information. You’ll want frogs if you go to the website.

  11. Hello Tom, just been reading about Buddy and it lifted me out of my doldrums as I am away from home and my beloved animals and my husband I must add!! We have two Spanish water/Labradors which are a handful but very much loved.
    I love reading about your life on Vashon Island,and did I tell you that I used your fig and ginger jam recipe last year and it was just the best.

    • Thanks Wendy, that is the effect Buddy has on me to, he lifts me up and makes me smile. Thanks for taking the time to share such a kind comment. Warm regards, and may your return home be soon and safely traveled.

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