Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 23, 2013

Buddy is my new dog

By Curt Swarm
Empty Nest

---- — I lasted 44 days without a dog. As fate, or luck, would have it, I was wandering around Wayland one Friday afternoon, when I spied a used furniture shop. Never one to pass up used anything, I stopped in. It was a nice shop, and there was a real nice lady running it, the first lady of Wayland, the mayor’s wife, Sonya Roth. I noticed she was eying me as I poked around the store. Finally she said, “You just had a dog pass away, Holly Girl, right? I read your article in the newspaper.”

“Yes,” I sighed. “Holly Dog was fifteen.”

“Well,” she said, with a gleam in her eye. “I’m the unofficial dog savior of Wayland, and I have a real nice two-year-old male at a temporary home right here in Wayland. He’s a smallish dog, house trained, and-neutered, with all his shots. And he’s free.”

She had said the magic word. Foolish me, I asked, “What kind of dog is he?” like I was just being polite.

Sonya had me and she knew it. “He’s a mix, maybe a Lhasa Apso/Schnauzer cross. The kind that doesn’t shed.”

That did it. Sonya and I drove out to the people’s house who were caring for the dog. They were a real nice couple, Ken and Janice Rich. The minute I saw Freddie, and he jumped in my arms and licked my face, I knew I wanted him. He even had a fresh haircut. The Rich’s sent Freddie home with me with some food and a leash. I offered to pay them for their care, but they refused.

Freddie (now Buddy) snuggled up on my lap on the car trip home.

My phone rang. It was a client asking where I was. A sinking feeling hit my gut. I had completely spaced out an appointment, and had been wandering around Wayland like I was lost. Maybe I was. I dunno, but offhand, I would say Buddy was meant to be.

Buddy took to me and my house like he had lived here all his life. I’m now back to two walks a day, have a sleeping companion, and an alarm when someone’s at the door. His favorite place to sleep is under my desk while I’m working. I had won the dog lottery!

On our first walk around the block, Mary Jane Kauffman came running out of her house to greet us. “Oh, Curt. I’m so glad you have another dog. Not that Holly can ever be replaced. But you need a dog.”

The other morning, I was sitting on the edge of the bed tying my shoes. Buddy was up on the bed. I heard a slurping sound. He was drinking out of my jug of nighttime water. Yep, he’s right at home. To date he has eaten only one sandal.

My phone rang. It was Sonya Roth, calling to see how Buddy was doing. She had a single mother looking for a smallish dog to keep her kids company. If Buddy wasn’t working out ... Not on your life! Buddy’s my dog!

Reluctantly, I dug Holly’s purple collar out of the closet. It looks real nice against Buddy’s black-and-white coat. Holly would have wanted me to have another dog. I’m not sure how she would feel about him wearing her collar. Let’s see, which picture of Buddy should I use for my desktop background? A special thanks to all those who sent sympathy cards at Holly Dog’s passing.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at (319) 217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com.