My Little Buddy and Bandit
by Brad Cohn
(Liberty Township, OH)
Bandit when we first got Lily from the SPCA in Cincinnati
In 1999 we adopted a beautiful little puppy we named Buddy. He was a beagle/German shepherd mix. We got him when he was about 8 weeks old. I remember going to the shelter and seeing a family leaving with a cute puppy and I asked them if they had anymore from that litter. They told me they did, so I literally ran into the shelter to see. In the first building I went into I saw a young man holding one of those puppies and talking to a lady about him. I waited very impatiently and when I saw she wasn't going to get him, I just said I'll take him and swooped him up and took him back to the front to adopt him. We loved him so much and my wife, who was not a huge dog lover at the time, starting becoming one. This was the first time she had her own dog from the start as a puppy.
She and Buddy formed a great loving relationship over the next 8 years. She worked at night and came home in the morning to take him out and spend time with him. I saw him during early evening till bed during the week after work.
I have had animals in my life since I was born. They included dogs, cats, chickens, hamsters, ducks, horses, ponies, goats, guinea pigs, guinea hens, a skunk, and a monkey (squirrel monkey). My favorite pet has always been a dog. I had Bonnie (a beagle mix), Sam (a yorkie), Bridgette (a long-haired dachshund), Queenie (a terrier mix), and then we got Buddy when Queenie had to be put to sleep (she was 20 years old).
Buddy developed bone cancer at 8 years old and had previously had leg tear repair surgery on both rear legs. So now he had three bad legs and all four doctors (2 from my vet hospital and 2 from a specialized CARE facility) agreed that putting him to sleep was best. I sat there with him on my lap while a tech and the doctor came in and administered the medication. I broke out crying so hard that I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head and my chest was going to explode. They told me I could stay with him as long as I needed. I lay on the floor with him for about an hour or so, I fell asleep with him in my arms. When I got up, I felt like I weighed a thousand pounds. It was so hard to get up and move.
Buddy and Bandit had been together for 6 years. I got Bandit at a farm from a private breeder. He was a small beagle mix and he loved Buddy a lot. The day after Buddy was put to sleep and Bandit was in the basement (they had a big 24 x 13 room with their own doggy beds - we kept them in there only when we were at work). I got home and Bandit had shredded the door from three feet up all the way to the floor. We didn't realize the impact that Buddy dying had on Bandit. So, until we got another dog, we kept Bandit upstairs with us and even when we were out.
Now, today, I just found that Bandit has cancer. The doctor said he has a tumor about 3-4 pounds. The options were exploratory surgery or keep him alive as long as he can be comfortable. I have maxed out my credit card for the health care of my dogs and even if I had money, the doctor said a 12 year old dog in this condition would only have a 20% chance of making it through the surgery and then the cancer could always come back. I just spent $700 on Lily (our 5 year old dalmatian/Jack Russell mix for swallowing one of our medications that had fallen on the floor. She is just fine. But times are very hard right now.
It is breaking my heart and I have been crying while writing this. I know that Bandit has been such a good little pal and I have loved him so much for every bit of these past 12 years. I know what I have to do and people often ask how you go through something like that several times. All I can say is that dogs have always been the best friends I've ever had and got me through the rough times in my life - my parents' divorce, family deaths, loneliness, heartbreak, and generally just make every day easier with their love. I have never been able to release love so easily and accept it like I have for/from my best friends.
Bandit is one of the special lights in my life and I will sorely miss him. I will have to keep to one dog at a time now due to financial reasons, but Lily is a wonderful friend and will comfort us during this tough time.
Thank you for sharing in my life and love for animals, and for reading. God bless all of you out there caring for your wonderful family members. No matter how hard it is to go through this, it would be worse for me never having them in my life.
Sincerely and lovingly,
(submitted Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2013)