Buddy – A Series Of Adventures – He Sleeps

One nostril breathing has finally slowed my body down to a sense of calm.  Your pale, shallow sleep breath gently presses into my side, letting me know you are still there.  It has been another long, sleepless night.  The cabin floor is concrete with a carpet laid across it.  Not exactly ideal for a restful sleep.  But we have found a sliver of stillness in the morning.  Relishing in a little pain free, sad free peace.  Then……..ARGHHHHH!  Another gruesome dog fart!

Ugh…that’s my boy.

I softly follow the curves around your face with one finger, and stroke your cheek as you sleep through your flatulation.

Remember when we began our hunting journey together?  It was about this same time, in 2003. You were already 11 months old and full of self-reliant attitude when we met.   I was terrified to let you off leash, even with your E-Collar, afraid I wouldn’t be able to get you back. But you trained me.  You trained me to trust you.  Trust your natural ability.  You taught me why I damn well better keep up.  You blazed the pheasant fields non-stop for hours and hours.  You had to be the fastest North American Animal ever.  In your prime, your endless, boundless energy about killed me scores of times.  You kept me in shape.  You forced me to become a good shot.  You walked at my side, and amazed everyone we met with your sharp nose and willingness to please.

These last few weeks, mostly, you just sleep.  You would move from the living room to the kitchen, then sleep.  From the kitchen to the backdoor, and sleep.  From the backdoor to the patio, then sleep.  From the patio to the yard then sleep.  And you sleep hard.   I am constantly checking to make sure you are still breathing.  Eventually, you would begin to drift into your dog dreams.

What is filling your head to make you roll on your back with all 4 legs straight up and sprawled, ears flapped flat to the ground and that big dog lip hanging out and trembling?  Dreaming of better days?

The mind has a sneaky way of playing tricks on us humans.  You open your eyes and look at me upside down, I swear you are smiling.  I would find myself thinking;

“You are feeling better!  You are getting better! “

Then you would roll back over to your good side with a heavy sigh.  I know you are not getting better.  But a girl can hope, can’t she?  I will ride this roller coaster of emotions until you tell me,

“it’s time.”

Now here we are, up in the north woods, at the lake.  It’s quiet, peaceful, and beautiful here as you sleep.  You no longer roll onto your back with those gangly legs in the air.  It requires too much effort.  You don’t want to eat, unless it’s those treats Rose bought you.  You barely want to drink water. But you move from the futon to the kitchen, then sleep.  From the kitchen to the back door and sleep.  From the door to the patio, then sleep.  From the patio to the yard, then sleep.  About three human steps at a time, at best.   Often, you need a little help to get there.  The last few nights, you haven’t even joined me on the futon, so I joined you on the floor.

It’s turning into beautiful day today.  “Let’s go up to the gazebo.” I say, and Cindy and I help you get there using a blanket to lift you into a little red wagon, then wheel you up the hill and into the grand comfortable structure. You sleep several hours, occasionally raising your head to see where I am.  I am right here next to you, boy.

I could sit here and watch you forever.  We have spent the last few days in this lovely gazebo, listening to soft, comforting music like Enya, Jim Chappell, and Carlos Naki.  One afternoon, you even found the energy to work on a big marrow bone Cindy bought you.  Suddenly you raise your tired body up and limp out of the gazebo and over to the edge of the trees—a good 15 or more yards.  You drop to the ground.  Again, you sleep.  Do you want to be alone?  I leave you to bask in the shady sun.  My heart is breaking, watching you today.  We have an appointment tomorrow at 11:00 in Walker—but we can cancel it if we want to.  Do you want to, boy?

Tuesday’s appointment weighs heavy on my mind.  Are you telling me ‘it’s time.’?  I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to initiate that final procedure.  I know I will cancel it.  I wrestle with anguish for an hour, watching you lay on the wooded ground.  I keep returning to your side, softly petting your face and back.  You are beautiful to me.  Even with the tumor and swelling and weeping wound and the smell. You are my handsome boy.  I love you so.  I am right here.  Are you telling me ‘it’s time.’?

The sun has now found its way around the trees, taking away any hope of shade and comfort you had. I’ve got to get you out of this sun. Cindy and I scoop you into the red flyer wagon once again, and it’s back to the shady gazebo.   You are too tired to argue.  Too tired to help.  You surrender to the gazebo with a heavy sigh, and rest your head on my leg.

I sit watching you as you sleep, stroking your head, back and hind legs. Your tumored leg really needs new dressings.  My sleep deprived mind continues to spin circles of fear, grief and anguish.  What keeps you hanging on? Are you worried about me? I cannot stand to see you like this.  I know you can’t, either.  But I have to be strong in front of you.

“Cindy, will you watch him while I run up to the trailer?”

“Of course.”

I gently pull away from your side and run up the hill to the toy hauler and close the door.  Falling to my knees I burst into uncontrollable, gut wrenching sobs on the floor of the trailer, crying and crying and crying until it seems my eyes are swelling shut.   I crawl up onto the couch and rock back and forth.

“Get it together, girl, get it together!  You can’t be like this!”  My self-talk is doing nothing for me.  I need to be there for you, but I am a mess.  I don’t want you to see me like this.  I know you are hanging in there for me.

“Daddy!   Dad!  Oh, please, dad, help me with this.  Mom! Mama! Help me, please!  Look at him!  He doesn’t deserve this!  Please come and guide him to you!  Please!  Help me with this?  Muriel!  Mikel!  Sweet Pea!  Zeke! Please hear me!  Please come to him, help him find his way to you!  OH, please help me with my boy!  Please, I need your help!”

I pray and pray with all my might.  Somehow, I have ended up back on the floor of the trailer, and I swear I hear Muriel tell me to get up off the floor.

Now I know I am losing it.

I pick myself up off the floor, and stand in stillness for a minute.  I’m tingling all over.  It feels like I’ve been away for hours, but only a few minutes have passed.  My chest hurts.  I blow my nose, wipe my face, grab something to drink, and head back to your side in the gazebo.

I look to Cindy, “Can you take the girls up to the trailer?”

“Of course.  He tried to get up and get some water, so I helped him.” She reports.  “Patty…I think… it’s…it’s time.”

I drop to your side, and comfort you, hoping you have no awareness of the mess I’ve managed to become.  She leaves the gazebo with your sisters, and we are alone.

“I know. “ I softly reply, and dial up Solitudes Algonquin Suite on my computer playlist.

I lightly follow the curves around your face with one finger, and stroke your cheek, then trace up around your neck, and ear, down your back and to your back legs as you lay on your green blanket, in a shallow breath sleep.  I gently lift your head, tucking your soft red toy under it.

“Buddy do you see my dad? Go to him, baby, it’s ok.”  I softly coo in your ear. “Do you see my mom?  Do you see Sweet Pea? Muriel?  Mikel?  What about Zeke? Don’t be afraid, big dog, they are waiting for you.  They will take care of you until I can get there.  It’ll be ok.”  You begin to snore.

I must be crazy. I must be going completely crazy, but I am driven to maintain this chest pounding prayer for help.  I believe.

Your breathing quickens and you lift your head to meet my gaze.  “Yes, boy, I am right here with you.”  You lay your head back down on my leg and drift off, jolting awake in minutes, searching for my eyes, then falling back to sleep.  I stroke your tired body as you doze and wake, doze and wake, always meeting my gaze and finding a new position to rest your face on my leg.  My sweet, sweet, Buddy.

“Cindy, can you help me change his dressing?”

“Of course.” She has been just a few feet away, getting some sun.  She returns to the gazebo as I put together a new bandage for you.

I gently remove your Ace bandage and soiled gauze, and I slide my arm under your body to begin wrapping the new dressing.

“Patty……Patty…….” Cindy begins “…I think he…..”

He sleeps.  Yes, he sleeps.

The air is still.  The crows are still. The waves are still.  His chest is still. The whirring of the little fan cooling us seems far away.

I look into your beautiful brown eyes. They, too, are still.

You gave me everything good there is.

You gave me laughter.

You gave me challenge.

You gave me hope.

You gave me a reason to go on.

You gave me unconditional love.

You have filled the last 10 years of my life with purpose and joy.


And now, in my arms, he sleeps.

Buddy Boy McBrady

Gone Forever Bird Hunting as of Monday, Sept 1st 2014 at 3:30 pm












“Find us some good fields up there, boy, and I will see you again soon.”

You can read all about my boy… there are lots of stories under “Buddy – A Series of Adventures” in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our stories.



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About PR

I’m an “Oily Yogi” ready to inspire you to reach for limitless possibilities.

With a lifetime of experience in the outdoors, one of my biggest joys is to share my passion for adventure with others. After spending decades in suits and buildings, I found a way to combine the office and the outdoors in a way that optimizes positive results. There is a clearly defined correlation between nature, sensory contact, and high impact performance.

I am recognized as a change agent, who inspires people to allow their dreams to become reality through group and individual experiential settings. But perhaps the best gift I can bring to the table is my passion for your wellbeing. I enjoy coaching and training others to achieve their personal and professional goals, focusing on health, wellness wholeness, and limitless possibilities. Everything starts with the self; and is unique to each person. Simply tuning into the breath, mindfulness, and gentle movement for starters. Whenever I can, we take the work outside.

Life is an adventure! Whether it’s a business or personal situation, career path or life path, As Chief Experience Officer of PR Brady AdVentures, my passion is Inspiring Limitless Possibilities, Bringing Our Best Selves to Life.
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  1. Patty: I am so sad hearing your loving story about Buddy’s passing. An eloquent storyteller and best friend to Buddy, you have captured my heart with you story of love fo Buddy. What a pair! Thanks and may your memory of Buddy comfort you.

  2. Dear Patty, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.. your loving story of Buddy’s journey off to join your other family members so touched my heart… He truly was an amazing dog and member of your family… Hugs go out to you and the girls from me… Vicki

  3. Pamela J. Wandzel says

    Thinking of you and Buddy. Thanks for sharing. I know only too well the anguish of losing a member of your family. My four-footed furry friend Cleo, just left to find my dad and her former house mate, Daisy Mae.Sadie and I miss her as I know you will miss Buddy. But your life, like mine, has been better because we shared it with them. Take care. Hugs,

  4. Patty
    I send my deepest sympathies for the loss of your “best friend” Buddy!
    This hunting season will not be the same…be safe.
    Big Hug,

  5. Oh, Patty, I’m crying hot tears for you and Buddy. I know — all of us animal people know — that death is a natural part of life, but it can be so, so, so hard. Such unbelievable pain. My heart is just aching. I just wish my words here could give you just a tiny bit of comfort. I’m sending you a huge hug across the Internet, from one dog mama to another — always their mamas we’ll be. ♥

  6. Puddling tears are splashing down my cheeks. What a lovely and kind thing you did for your lad. To allow him to pass in such a comforting manner. Not alone and scared. Saying goodbye to my dogs Fergus and Oscar rank right up there amongst the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I salute you. Sending you and the girls jumbo hugs.

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