For the Love of My Buddy

By John Darling, December 2018, Updated March 2021

It is with great sadness that I have to report that my little shadow, Buddy, has died.

He has been a pretty sick little boy the past few days and we had a doctor’s appointment the next morning but he did not survive the night.

When I got home from work, he was just plain old Buddy, though weaker than normal. He had his dinner with some warm chicken broth on the side and for most of the night he was fine, but in the last few hours as I comforted him and finally got him settled into his favorite bed with this favorite blanket with his stuffed lamb next to him, I wondered if he would still be with us in the morning. When I got up, I found him under his blankets, still warm but not breathing.

I’m not one to believe in mysticism or any of its many forms but the power of the love of a small dog is a curious thing and maybe it was his passing that sent me a short, very vivid black and white dream. It was night and I was standing in a barnyard, or so it seemed from the surroundings, a bright light showed a spot on the dirt. Suddenly, two big dogs ran into the light and from somewhere under my feet, Buddy ran out to play with them. He was young and very happy to see them. They ran off into the dark somewhere, and I never saw Buddy again. I don’t think I woke up right after that but I may have. It was three minutes past midnight.


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Buddy was a little dog who was taken from his neglectful owners by the Humane Society of Ventura County. He’d had a pretty tough little life until then. They cared for him and loved him while trying to find him a forever home. I was volunteering there at the time while raising money to pay the adoption fees for older dogs as an encouragement for people to take home a senior dog. I called the program Tinker’s Treat, named after my former little senior dog that died suddenly. After months of trying to get Buddy adopted, I decided to bring him home. He was the 30th and the last dog to be adopted through Tinker’s Treat.

Our relationship was not a dog and master situation; we were buddies, best friends, and I took him everywhere that I could to meet as many people as possible. I did this because he brought instant smiles to everyone’s faces and he was always the gentleman if people wanted to pet him or hold him. By going everywhere with me, he got to know that not all humans are horrible people.

He was a quiet little man, he rarely barked and only made his squeaking noises when I came home or when I was preparing his meals. Still, it is going to be a much quieter world for me and his mommy without him in it.

Thank you to everyone who knew and loved him you can be assured that he appreciated it and that the last few years of his life were very happy ones.

Photo: John Darling