Oct 29


Buzz was our first dog.

We lived in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania when we got our first family dog–a border collie, springer spaniel mutt that we named Maxwell Buzby (after the Beatle’s song) and shortened to just Buzz. I remember I was in first grade and had just gotten out of school when I first peered over the seat in our station wagon and saw his little puppy face looking up at me.

He was a good dog. He barked insistently at these red snoopy mittens my sister’s and I had, he always held the leash in his mouth when we went on a walk, and he peed on our Christmas tree one year.

Buzz died eighteen years after that afternoon in the station wagon—after I had graduated high school and college, gotten married, moved to Colorado, and had kids of my own. My dad buried him under a rock on his favorite hike up in Bear Meadows State Forest and we all cried at the loss.

Buzz was as much a part of the family as any of us and he’s there, in the background, of almost all of the memories I have of growing up.

DSC03435We have a dog of our own now named Cowboy. He’s a big, oafy Weimeraner with floppy ears, a stumpy tail, and a deep gruff bark. We adopted him from a rescue when he was two, mud on his coat, and a few of his ribs showing. He’d been caught as a stray when he was young, then adopted into two different homes in two years only to be given up both times.

He came into our family with his own personality, hang-ups, issues, and baggage…but he’s fit in perfect cause we like his personality, can understand his hang-ups, laugh at some of his issues, and relate to the baggage…since we all have our own set of suitcases we cart around through life with us.

Cowboy gets nervous in new places, he hates being left behind, he has an obsessive hatred towards foxes, loves to ride in the car, abhors the rain, barks at the words “here kitty-kitty” and “superdog,” he loves being babied, and hefts his 75 lb self onto the couch and curls up every time we leave without him…we know this cause he leaves a nice indentation in the cushions.

Sometimes I think about what his life must’ve been like before us. Where he got the scar on his left leg, and what it must’ve been like to not understand why you were dropped off at a shelter two times before you found a home.

But good old Cowboy is a part of our family now just as much as the rest of us and I smile to think of all the memories my kids will have of him when they’re older and he passes away.

And hopefully that baggage he’s carrying around–the one that makes him nervous and upset about being left behind–feels a little bit lighter for him every day.

And there’s not really a point to this post…just some thoughts on those creatures that we take into our home and become a part of our family in so many ways.

But for all the animal-loving middle grade readers and adults out there that love dogs as much as I do, here’s some books that I’ve loved reading over the years and more recently.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo

A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin

Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles

And if you are ever thinking about adopting a dog or cat into your family, go to your local animal shelter or rescue, or visit The Humane Society website to learn more on adopting.

One Response to “Dogs”

  • Linda says:

    Thanks for making me cry Linds. I also have memories of Buzz – like when he tried to take off Uncle Mark’s hand when Mark decided to try to pet Buzz through the car window when you were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But he was an amazing dog. As well as Zeus. I would love to someday meet Cowboy. He sounds like a dog I can relate to.
    Thanks for the memories – Aunt Linda

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