A Buddy For Life

It was a pleasant spring evening when my father mustered the courage to stand up against mother, and finally declare that we were going to bring home a puppy. Since it was a strong ratio of three against one, my mother conceded to defeat, not without dictating terms and conditions for the newest entrant in the house. “I will not walk, bathe, or clean his potty,” she declared with an air of finality. Also, his areas of access were clearly marked. The master bedroom and the drawing room area was demarcated as dog-free zone, without any further negotiation. Thereafter, the deal was sealed.
That evening we brought Buddy home. He was a beautiful Golden Retriever, barely 2 months old. He had innocent eyes and the most angelic expression. We left him in the front garden and watched him inspect all the flowers, garden statues, the tiny water fountain with child-like wonder. His gait was unsure in the beginning, but soon he began enjoying himself. Before we knew it, he had plucked out a couple of canes from the flower bed, and was happily gnawing at them! We quickly took him inside before he could further inflict any damage to mother’s beloved plants.
His growing up phase was a very interesting one. His antics were one of a kind. Buddy would gather all the toilet rolls of the house in the front lawn, and have a ball playing with them and shredding them to pieces. One day he managed to get his head accidentally stuck in a small bucket. Very slowly and cautiously, we helped him get out of it. It was a surprise to see my very concerned and panicky Mother, heave a sigh of relief. Even she had failed to escape Buddy’s charm. Slowly and steadily, Mother had warmed up to him. He now had access to the master bedroom, and would proudly strut in as per his whim and fancy.
True to his name, Buddy grew up to be my best and most consistent friend. He saw me through college, staying up late with me during the stressful examination period. He bade me a tearful goodbye when I left for abroad to pursue my Masters. The way he chased the car when I left with my luggage is permanently etched in my memory. Video conferencing with Buddy all the way from England is unforgettable. He would wag his tail desperately, bark at the computer screen, and notably tilt his head on hearing my voice. Buddy actively participated in my wedding ceremonies too. Strangely, he never left my side during all the rituals. It was almost as if he knew, that this time I was actually flying out of my nest. These memories are now beautiful pictures that describe the pure love between man and dog. I keep going back to them on dull days, and they always put a smile on my face.
When my daughter was born, Buddy curiously watched the tiny baby from a distance. He sat at the door, never even once attempting to enter the room. It amazed me to see his sense of responsibility. He knew that the baby now demanded my undivided attention and it was time for him to step back. Today, she enjoys with him a camaraderie of a different kind. He lets her pull his tail, climb his back, even poke his eyes. It is almost like watching a seasoned elder indulging a naughty child.
Buddy is now almost 8. And in these eventful eight years, I cannot think of even a single day without our dear Buddy. It saddens me to see his lessened appetite and diminishing energy levels. But I cannot thank him enough for giving us so many moments of pure joy, endless laughter, great friendship and memories of a lifetime. Buddy has taught us that unadulterated love is all that is needed to win hearts. And isn’t that the most important lesson ever?