It has been a sad week. One of my dear little dogs, Buddy, has died. He was 12-years and one month. I remember, exactly.
Buddy, and his brother, Rocky – whom I still have – were born at Tivoli Road, South Yarra. It was quite a morning the day they arrived. Mitzi, their mother, who died a few months ago and whom I had buried in the garden, was a rescued dog. She had a broken jaw – they said she was hit by a truck – and, consequently, after the required surgery, her jaw was not correctly aligned, and she was incapable of breaking the puppies’ birth sacks. I played the role of midwife, and, with the help of veterinary nurse on the other of the telephone, did what was needed for her to start their breathing. Buddy stayed with me for the first 3-months of his life and then he went to Jackie in Brighton – on the understanding that he was to be returned to me if things did not work-out as we hoped. He was a much-loved dog, and for 8-years they were constant companions. Sadly, Jackie was not able to look after him and he came home to me in Ballarat. In a short time he became my shadow. He would position himself on the bed so that he could see where I was, and when I was comingand-going.
A Maltese-Shiatzu cross – his father, Oscar, was a black and white pedigree and another of my rescued dog Buddy was with me for 4-years. He was a joy to have around. He was an affectionate dog and wanted to start the day by licking my face until I woke-up. To the horror of some, he and Rocky slept on the bed with me. Buddy leaned-up against me and almost pushed out of the bed. There were battles royal about who had the right to the most space. I have to admit – I won! Buddy had more than his fair share of disability. He was epileptic, diabetic – which sent him totally blind and required daily insulin injections, and contracted Cushing’s. He was on hefty doses of debilitating medication which did little for his general well-being The end came quickly. I had him to see the veterinarian – Aaron Luttrell, only a few days before he died. Curiously, I asked Aaron about Buddy’s prognosis and he thought it was, as far as he could predict, fine for the moment. He was carrying good condition and did not seem to be in any pain.
When the day came, it was obvious that Buddy was winding-down. In the evening he was restless but still capable of swallowing his medication. At about ten he climbed-down off the bed, went into the office, stretched-out on the carpet, and gradually slipped into a coma. I put him on a blanket with a pillow under his head. I sat with him and soon after 3am on the Wednesday he stopped breathing. His work on earth was done. He was in almost exactly the same spot as his mother, Mitzi, when she died.
Buddy is buried in the garden, near to the spot where he would disappear under the house on one of his adventures, and re-appear a short time later, covered in dirt, and looking very pleased with himself. Buddy was a sweet little dog who never barked, and I shall miss him,deeply. I still have two dogs – Penny and Rocky – but the vibration in the house has altered and it is taking some adjustment. Buddy lives on in my heart.
In last week’s column I wrote about the fat pandemic which this country is facing. I was deliberately provocative – not for the sake of being so – but because I truly believe we have to start thinking seriously about the problem. We have too many fat people in our community – including children and I am not talking about those who are blighted by a medical condition which causes their obesity. It is they who need our support – not those who are fat because they eat the wrong the food, drink the wrong drinks, and do not exercise. They need to be shamed into taking action to save their own lives.
I was encouraged by the supportive emails which I have received since the column appeared. There are moments when one feels like a voice in the wilderness, and you wonder why, if those affected by the condition do not care, why is one bothering? The truth is, we all have to live on this planet, and sometimes we have to speak-out, even if it causes some anguish to others. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30 with Edwin Cowlishaw.