BuddyOur oldest son, Conner, before he moved to California, was visiting with his band at the home of a band member’s sister. Her boyfriend had a puppy in the backyard – about ten weeks old. He was tethered by a short chain. His food and water bowls were overrun with ants. He was malnourished and you could see his bones through his skin. Conner told them he was taking the dog, who we now call Buddy.

I came home from a songwriter’s conference in Austin and opened the door to three dogs rather than the customary two – Misty and Lyra. We named him Buddy a few days later. After a couple of months of regular meals, exercise, and attention, he was almost twice the size he was before. His bones were no longer visible. He was happy having two older dogs to play with, before Conner took Lyra to California.

Buddy is the youngest puppy we have ever had. He is the only dog we could actually take places, like J. D.’s baseball games. He is like a shepherd/terrier mix and he doesn’t shed. But when we would take him to baseball games, he would play in his water dish. Invariably, he would dump the water out and lay in it. Cyndy would put more water in his dish and the process would start over.

He would also spill the water bowl on the back porch and play in the small plastic pool we had in the backyard (until he destroyed it). So we knew he liked water, we just were never sure to what extent. Neither Cyndy nor myself has ever had a dog that liked water. Except for rainy days, it wasn’t of major concern.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the shower in our bedroom upstairs. I was getting ready to wash my hair when I backed up and felt something move. I looked behind me and Buddy was in the tub with me, lapping up water. I hadn’t seen that one coming. I got him out, hoping he wouldn’t get too much of the carpet wet. Then I finished my shower.

It hasn’t occurred again – so far – but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch out for him. He can’t get up on mine and Cyndy’s bed, but he can get into a slippery tub. Go figure. He’s in that phase now where he is growing all the time, but still thinks he’s a little puppy.

Misty is eight years old (our years). She tolerates him. I think sometimes she enjoys his trying to annoy her. And they like to play tug of war. In some ways it seems like Buddy is “keeping Misty young” – to a degree.

Best of all, though, Buddy is content and happy. At least as long as he gets to lick everything. That’s how he says hi and shows affection. Your pants, shoe, belt, shirt, any exposed skin, whatever – as long as he licks you. There are times when he suddenly runs around the house from person to person, all excited, jumping and licking. The look on his face seems to me to say:

“A house to explore, a big backyard to dig in, a pal to play with, and people to pet me and that I can lick – this is freakin’ cool!”

Peace be with you.

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