My Best Buddy E-mail
Saturday, 19 June 2010 01:00  |  Written by Joy Nicholson | Blog Entry

Buddy photo by Joy NicholsonAs a foster-dog parent, I’m often asked if I love all my fosters equally? The correct answer is yes. The real answer...Of course, not.

I respect all my fosters equally; give food, walks, love and treats equally; but my heart fuses with only a few. Just as in person-to-person love, interspecies love is an alchemy that has no recipe. There’s no common physical trait, age, breed, size or issue that seems to bind me to a certain dog. It’s often not an ‘instant’ love, either.

Take Buddy, who came to me as a third-strike guy. He’d been adopted and returned to the shelter—twice. (This after being given up initially by his first human.) Because the Santa Fe Shelter is wonderfully funded and staffed, Buddy was in no danger of being euthanized, but he was in danger of spending his entire life in a small, cramped space going nuts.

His issues were ‘marking’ (pissing everywhere), ‘humping’ and ‘energy level.’ Not to mention he has only half a nose and half a mouth. A sort of severe cleft-palate issue. Plus an odd tooth growing out of his nasal cavity.

I was warned that “Buddy doesn’t get along with other dogs,” but soon found out he was fine with other dogs. Just a bit too fine. Buddy liked to hump. I mean really liked to hump. Hours upon hours upon hours of uninterrupted, serious humping—rugs, chairs, balustrades, dogs, legs—whatever—followed by a bit of sleep and then more humping—hips doing the nasty almost before he was even awake. Unlike most humping dogs, Buddy didn’t need the dominance, he needed the actual contact. The energy release.
As a neutered male it took him a very long time to climax. But it was okay with him—he’d hump for weeks if need be.

He humped so hard for the first few weeks that his willie was red and raw, then alarmingly purple and raw, then just mottled, scary and raw. He humped through dinner parties, long French movies, waking hours, sleeping hours, farming hours (humping an ice-coated bale of hay could go on for frickin’ ever—until there was no ice left), eating hours, etc. (Yes, he would hump the air even while he ate.) His behavior was unattractive. It was uncouth. It made me a little sick. It scandalized my very Catholic neighbors. It flummoxed my vet, until she said, “The only thing I can diagnose is a screw loose.”

Still, I decided I wasn’t going to send him back to a small enclosure, no matter what. I was a ‘rescue,’ and the hard stuff was what I did.  If Buddy had to hump, I’d just have to apply salve when needed, give him extra vitamin C, and part ways with my neighbors. I’d separate him from the other dogs so he wouldn’t traumatize them. It was just this separation that worked.

Buddy and I went on long solitary walks together—after the other dogs and I had walked. The longer Buddy’s walk, the newer and more novel the place we visited, the less he humped back home. After a month of different places, it got to the point that Buddy wasn’t humping, marking or howling at all. As long as he smelled new scents, saw new sights, ran at least five miles a day in new surroundings, he was calm. A perfect gentleman with the other dogs. He even stopped humping couch legs and hay bales. And my legs.

I’d had no desire to become a runner, but because of Buddy I did so. I became reluctantly healthier, too.

So now, I have daily dog walks and ‘Buddy runs.” Buddy has become my best friend—my canine soul mate—a force in my life I can’t imagine living without.

Buddy is now the ambassador of the Rancho de Chihuahua. He needs to go somewhere new every day and drags me along. I am happier for it and my Catholic neighbors can visit once again.

Buddy and I will soon need a new planet to explore.

But at least I’m not worried about salves for the moment. Salves are actually kind of gross and hard to make—not to mention in Buddy’s case weird to use. But that’s another story.

Updated 6/19/10; originally posted 5/5/09.

Comments (6)add
Written by JeannieJayne , March 20, 2013
.Hi Joy. I just finished a furry prayer and recognized the critter formerly known as. SFTF. I believe. His story and Foghat and Ahab and Igor. ....well. I guess all of them really touched me. That's some swell place you run. And some great man you have. I miss having a dog but my mate maxed out on my three cats ....four if you count the one that moved into the chicken coop..and my chickens. Bless you all.!

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Written by Candy Hajek, 2/10/13 , February 10, 2013
As Cesar says, you get the dog you need - I guess your health needed Buddy.

I just finished Steven's book (the furry prayer one) and am so grateful for it. I have always, always, always had an incredible empathy and love for animals - particularly dogs - that I never understood. Thanks to that wonderful book (which I have already recommended almost 20 times in the last three days), I know that it's a part of His plan.

I am so in awe of your courage and hard work with the animals - I'm too big a wuss to do what you do - my heart would be broken so many times that I don't know if I would ever recover. THANK YOU for what you do - Martin Luther thought that dogs have souls - there's a quote from him regarding 'rewarded in heaven w/a golden tail.' And St. Francis said (paraphrased) that if people don't like and care for animals, they likely feel the same way about humankind.

Anyway, I appreciate your work and devotion and courage and right now, THE BOOK - I think it will be a while before I stop feeling the impact it has made on me. What a gift I have received.

I would like to send some items to you - and will add your organization to my gift giving list.

Best wishes and I've written you guys onto my 'thank you' list - and you, your critter and your organization are on my prayer list.

Candy Hajek
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Written by Jen-Jen , June 13, 2011
OMG, I have this dog, his name is Sammi, and he looks just alike-only he is brown and had only 3 legs, but most everything else is the same. I am going to now take him exploring, away from his Chihuahua brother and sister and maybe he will be ok at home and away from his stuffed buddies. Thank you so much for this and his picture. I love him!!
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Written by Erin Shannon , June 26, 2010
What an uplifting story. My heart melts every time I look at Buddy.
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Written by Karen Cruz , May 05, 2009
Joy, I cant stop laughing and crying at the same time!!
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Written by Claudia , May 05, 2009
Joy, this is the funniest, greatest thing I have read in YEARS!!! You are GREAT!
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