As many of you know, Buddy, our sweet-faced rescue dog, is a Hurricane Katrina survivor.
He was probably less than a year old when we got him early in March 2006, which means he had a pretty rough start to his doggie life, given that Katrina happened at the end of August 2005. From what we know, he was found roaming the streets of a devastated part of town with a pack of other dogs, scavenging for food amidst the flooded buildings. He was transported out of the flooded section by boat sometime in December, which means he was on his own for about 3 months after the hurricane.
This is remarkable for any animal. It’s even more remarkable for Buddy, who was seriously injured in the storm: His front left leg was smashed and broken into several pieces, possibly by the force of the flood; we think that he may also have sustained a head injury. Needless to say, he went for those 3 months without any medical care at all. We have no idea how he got through it, but he did.
His injured leg was unusable when he was found; basically, it sort of just hung there. He could use it for balance by bending down, but it clearly hurt him terribly. After cleaning him up, the folks who found him put him in the Petfinder system in hopes his people would come to claim him.
They never did. We think, given the utter devastation and high death tolls in the area where he was found, that in all probability his people did not survive. (We’ve seen photos. Not good.)
Buddy went from one shelter to another as the weeks went on. No one wanted a damaged dog. No one wanted a depressed dog who could barely raise his head. (Dude. I would totally be depressed, too, if I was in that much pain and had been through all that.) Five shelters, five states, starting in Louisiana and ending up in Colorado…
Which is where we met him. We saw his picture on the home page of our local shelter, and it was pretty much all over right then and there. We’ve never had a dog; we’ve been cat people all our lives. But one look at his sad face, his hurt paw, and his adorable freckles…well. We went to “just visit” him.
He came out of the back room looking just about as dejected as an animal can. Head down, limping, slow. We took him to a dog run, and I sat on a bench and just talked to him. Slowly…he started to sneak peeks at me. Then he came over and sat next to me to be petted.
Then he dropped down and rolled over for a belly rub.
He went home with us that day, and really, no one could ask for a better dog. Three days after he came home, he started perking up just a bit. Then, one day, he looked at me, looked at the sofa, looked back at me, and hopped up on the couch, turned around three times, and laid down, grinning like a fool.
Buddy knew he was home.
We took him to specialists for the broken leg, because it clearly hurt him pretty badly. That summer, we made the decision to amputate, because the muscle tissue from shoulder downwards was irrevocably damaged. 13 hours after the surgery to take off the leg, he was running across the hospital lobby to greet us, grinning, dancing around in circles, begging to go home.
So he’s a tripod now, and really never needed much adjustment time. He can go up and down stairs, he can hike, he can play. Whenever someone meets him on the street and says, “Poor doggie!” you can just see him grin inside and think, “Poor doggie nothing! I still have one more leg than you guys AND I get lots of attention because I’m special.”
We think he’s half Australian Shepherd and half Great Pyrenees. We know that he’s healthy, and happy, and he loves peanut butter and cheese and oatmeal and his three kitties. And his people.
And we know, beyond a doubt, that we are the lucky ones to have him in our lives.
Our beloved Buddy left us on August 25, 2015—10 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Thus, the storm which eventually brought him home to us, echoed again the day of his passing. He left us as he came to us: Visibly damaged, but with a heart as mighty as any storm that ever blew.
We love you, sweet Buddy dog.
That’s just the best story ever. I don’t know who is luckier you or Buddy. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
I’d be wagging my own tail right now if I had one. What a wonderful story!
I just want to sit and skritch that belly.
he is a lucky dog and you are very lucky people to have found him
I am so glad Buddy found the right family. He does have the sweetest face. This story made me cry.
if we are very,very lucky, we find the people (two legged, four legged or three legged) we belong with…you guys are all very lucky!
That is a great story to share. Thank you for writing it.
Hah, you went to “just visit”. Suckers. Buddy is adorable and lucky to have found such a great home.
I never did tell you that I did this last fall:
Both braids sold right away, of course. Such a handsome fellow he is.
Buddy’s story made me all teary. What a special guy. I’m so glad he found you.
My whole family loves animals…. I have 3: 2 cats, one dog… all rescue… of course most of us know the love animals give us, especially dogs, save us to and helps in making us more human. I love your story with Buddy, smiles & wags all around.
Oh Sandi you guys are so special. You were able to see past his sadness, discomfort and withdrawal and gave this sweet dog a loving forever home. I truely believe that Buddy gets it; he knows just how lucky he is to be part of your family. We have two sweet basset hounds who provide us with undeniable love and silliness daily. I can’t imagine life without canine companionship.
What a touching story. I’m glad that Buddy has found a forever home!
We are lucky parents to a rescue dog too! You can’t ask for a better dog. I beieve they are so grateful(as we are) that they have people to love and be loved by. My husband always calls him his “very best friend”. I love your pictues. He is a beautiful dog.
You made me cry and laugh at the same time. Buddy is definitely in the right place.
I have always been a cat person too….but if Buddy had crossed my path, I would also have fallen hard for him. I’m so glad that Buddy found you and your family; my heart is melting all over the place.
I thought I’d leave a comment here on Buddy’s page. He’s crossed the bridge and loves your beautiful eulogy. You gave him a wonderful life. He’ll be waiting with everyone else in the family when it’s your turn to come. Meanwhile he’s collecting fiber for you so you’ll settle in well.