Ode to Buckshot: A Kindred Spirit

I inherited Buckshot when my favorite uncle passed away. He has lived a strange life filled with great sadness and pure love. I am honored to share this furry angel’s story with all of you.

Two of my uncles lived with my grandmother. She needed someone at the house twenty-four hours a day. Since my favorite uncle (Ronnie) worked during the day, my other uncle (Ricky) worked from home. This arrangement suited everyone just fine.

Uncle Ricky was running errands one afternoon when he spotted a small dog carrier in the grass, right off the side of the road. Something told him to stop. It is a miracle that he did because to his utter shock, inside was a half-dead puppy, Buckshot. He did not have a collar so we were never able to find out who did this to him. Who would leave an animal to starve like this? Poor Buckshot had been there for several days judging by the condition Uncle Ricky found him in. He brought him straight home, his errands forgotten.

My grandmother, Memaw as my siblings and I called her, fell in love with Buckshot immediately. She is the one that named him due to his black spots along his body. Uncle Ronnie took Buckshot to the vet for urgent care. Luckily, he had been rescued in time. Soon, he completely recovered and returned home as part of the family.

Uncle Ronnie already had a full grown German Sheppard-Rottweiler mix, Wolf, at the time. Wolf adored Buckshot. They became the best of friends. We later learned that Buckshot is a mixed terrier. I cannot tell you how funny it was to watch the pair play together. Wolf was a huge dog. When he stood on his hind legs, he could easily look into the kitchen windows. He was also very protective of Memaw. When it came to Buckshot, he was incredibly indulgent, patient, and loving.

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Life was grand for several years until Uncle Ronnie learned that Wolf had bone cancer and had to be put to sleep. Sadness hung heavy on everyone’s heart, including Buckshot. You see, he is a gentle soul. He mourned in silence, shedding his quiet tears. After Wolf’s passing, he clung to Memaw and Uncle Ronnie like a furry shadow.

Life is a circle and sometimes that circle gets shattered. Both my Uncle Ricky and my beloved Memaw passed away a few years later. They did so only two short weeks apart. It seemed like the darkest period for our family. My poor Uncle Ronnie and Buckshot now had to live all alone. We visited often, but it was not the same. The house had grown more quiet.

Out of the blue, not two years later, the Universe dealt us yet another blow and took my favorite uncle in the night. Buckshot, loyal beyond the end, refused to leave his side. It was the most heartbreaking sight I have ever witnessed. My father had to gently pick him up and carry him into another room where I waited. I gathered him into my arms and he looked me deeply in the eyes. The sadness broke my heart. I hugged him fiercely, deciding right then, that he would come home with me.

Buckshot has been my constant companion ever since. We have cried together over the loss of Uncle Ronnie and we have healed together. When I am home, he follows me everywhere I go. I do mean everywhere. Heaven forbid that I get to use the facilities without him. I do, and he waits outside the door like a little sentinel. Even now, as I sit at my kitchen table writing this, he is curled up under my chair. When he feels that I have gotten too deep in thought, he will nuzzle my dangling foot until I take a break. Then it is on! I swear he has a twenty foot tongue and will do his very best to lick my entire face if I let him. His favorite thing to do is to rub his head on my chest while I scratch his back.

Buckshot does tend to get a little jealous. I have a six year old. She loves to cuddle with me on the couch while we watch television, read, or draw. He has tried to get in between us and it took a long time for us to sort out a seating arrangement. I get in the middle and each of them can cuddle up on either side of me. I think I spoil him a little bit too much. Luckily, the pair get along wonderfully. I often get caught in the middle of their games, such as tug-o-war with one of his toys. They both seem to laugh as I struggle to get out of the mix.

Honestly, he is spoiled by the both of us. He is no longer a puppy and is quickly approaching old age now. The grey hairs on his face are starting to show. He still plays with all of the zest of a younger dog but he tends to sleep more than he used to. Some days he is slow to get up in the morning and has to stretch out his joints. I can see when they are a bit stiff by the look on his face. Those are the days that I spoil him the most.

Our time with Buckshot will come to an end one day. Today, however, is not that day. Until the Universe decides that it wants him to come home, he will get endless love and cuddles. There will be laughter. There will be belly rubs. There will be treats. There will be tons of time for him to chase the squirrels in the backyard. His life is a happy one. You only have to look into his big brown eyes to see it.

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