Buddy’s Borrowed Time

Buddy's borrowed time

It was fall 2007 and our little family was expanding. A new baby boy was arriving soon and with two toddlers already in tow, life was nothing short of utter chaos. We had just moved into our new home and there were so many things still to do and get done. It always seemed to be that our plates were overflowing.

Daddy worked hard all day, while mommy tended to the house and kids and in the evenings we split chores, kid duties and tasks. It was definitely teamwork at its finest. Somedays I was so exhausted, I literally felt like I could sleep standing up and I am sure it actually happened on occasion… possibly while cleaning or even talking on the phone…oops!

I went to bed many nights with spaghetti on my shirt or mashed potatoes in my hair. But hey, what exhausted mom hasn’t? Stretched thin would have definitely been the understatement of a century. And just when I thought that very full plate had all that I could handle piled high on top, you entered our lives.

An old family friend had recently picked you up at a horse sale but received military orders and unfortunately no puppies were allowed. He nonchalantly showed up with you and when you clumsily tumbled out of that vehicle, I glanced over at the kids and knew they had just experienced love at first sight.

You were the puppy I didn’t want, who became my absolute “bestest” friend.

But with a new baby, a new house and that massively filled plate, there was no way I was taking on the responsibility of a new puppy. No way, no how, the answer was no. But then… those eyes. Those twinkling little eyes of those precious little kids. What was I to do? Break their little hearts or add one more thing to that damn plate? I mean it was just “one more thing” after all, so what was the big deal?

Reluctantly, I said yes and to this day I have never looked back. You were the puppy I didn’t want, who became my absolute “bestest” friend.

It didn’t take us long to realise how special you were and for me to see how wrong I had been. I thought you were going to be this giant burden and make that plate even fuller, but you knew better. You loved to eat… and I mean, eat everything. I guess I could say, “He get it from his momma”, because we all know momma loves her some food too!

But what you started consuming was more than puppy chow and table scraps the kids “accidentally” dropped on the floor perfectly beside you… you started consuming things off that dreaded plate. You occupied the kids with chases, cuddles, face licks and belly laughs and when the baby cried. You were the first to get to him, checking him over to make sure he was alright, then licking his toes to make him smile.

We are nearing 14 years together now and sadly time has not been kind to you

You felt every emotion we felt and you went above and beyond to comfort us. If we were sad or having a bad day or moment, you graciously placed your paw upon our chest or hand and stared intently into our eyes as if to say, “everything is gonna be ok,” and somehow it magically was. That stare and those eyes… oh my, like a superpower that reaches to a person’s soul, looking through it, healing it, comforting it, and making it whole. Like I told you before, we knew you were something very very special.

We are nearing 14 years together now and sadly time has not been kind to you. Your once giant golden brown eyes are now milky with cataracts. Your years of athleticism chasing any type of small motor, vacuum cleaner or squirrel have caught up to you and arthritis has taken over your back legs. Your doctor says you have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or dementia, but I know no matter how many things you forget or struggle with, you will never forget us.

You spend your days mostly sleeping, but still protecting us constantly, just in a little bit different way. You still bark when someone pulls into the yard – you just do it from the comfort of your bed, and you still keep all the other pups “away” from us when you think they are getting too much attention; it just takes you a little longer to get up and in between us. But even though age has taken its toll and your appearance is a bit different these days, I still see you as that clumsy little puppy who completely changed our lives.


A week ago, I took you to see your doctor and it has taken me since then to write this next paragraph. Partly because every time I start writing, I am instantly blinded by tears and partly because I don’t know what to say. A momma knows her babies, and I have known for awhile now that you weren’t doing so well, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself, to your daddy, to the kids or to you.

Admitting it makes it real and I don’t want it to be real. So when I took you to see your doctor, I told him about the newest additions to your medical history and I asked the very hard question: what are we looking at? How much longer? To which he empathetically replied, “He is on borrowed time.”

I held myself together for you, I wanted to be strong for you like you have been for me so many times, and I replied again asking how long… to which he explained that your life expectancy was 12 years, and he was shocked you had made it to your age now.

As we headed home, tears poured from my eyes. I was trying to untangle the mix of emotions and feelings running through my mind. Sadness consumed my body. My heart ached and I couldn’t breathe.

You will eat steak and ice cream, and sleep in the comfiest bed. You will go on a road trip and maybe paint a masterpiece.

And just like you have done time and time again, you reached your paw over the armrest and placed it ever so gently on mine and stared deep into my eyes as if to say, “everything is going to be alright momma.”

I instantly felt a peace, and I regained my composure and made a plan. I refuse to let your “borrowed time” be filled with sadness. You would definitely not want that. You would want to live out your time with cuddles, and car rides, and making memories with the kids and food …yes, yes, yes – ALL THE FOOD!

So my dear, that is exactly what we are going to do. We are going to make every borrowed day, week, month and – fingers crossed – year that we are blessed to have left with you count. You will eat steak and ice cream, and sleep in the comfiest bed. You will go on a road trip and maybe paint a masterpiece. You will be cuddled more than you ever knew a pup could be cuddled.

And when the time finally comes and we have to say goodbye, you can rest assured we will be there, holding your paw and staring straight into those incredible eyes, showing you all of the love that you have shown us time and time again. And you can rest easy knowing, you have been, are and will always be my best friend.

To the moon and back,


This is a guest post by Sheena Carach. You can follow Buddy’s adventures as he completes his bucket list on Instagram.
Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk


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