Heavy Petting

What kind of a person gives away her dog? The one she raised from a pup, who rode in the car with his arm on her shoulder like a giant canine parrot. The one who covered her face with kisses. The one who she insisted didn’t smell like dog.

Me, I guess.

I also gave away a peeing cat…but that is another story.

Buckley, named for Jeff of the soulful voice and youthful drowning, was my second attempt to get a guy.

The first was building a bar, but it turns out the guys you meet at 1am on a Wednesday aren’t the type you want to have kids with.  So I decided to get a dog and head to the dog park at the exact time that someone with a day job would be there.

Our dogs fell in love first. Then Steve and I did. Finally we began to love one another’s dogs. For a while we were a happy fuzzy family.

Buckley earned the nickname of “fun police.” If Steve and I laughed too loudly, brought home a balloon (don’t tease…balloons are very uplifting), danced, sang, or jumped Buckley barked and barked…and barked. Although he wanted us to sit still and shut up HE wanted to fun and frolic. He would submarine his nose in the snow, hinge with pleasure at a greeting and jump and twirl in the air when he ran towards Steve’s (I mean our) Saint Bernard.

Then came the boys. They were 17 months apart. From the time they were old enough to move they were like puppies themselves, tumbling and tangled, shrieking and swinging, dancing and rolling balls. Buckley wanted none of that. It was his job to keep those kids still and he was a dedicated worker. The real problem was the birthday parties. Do you know what is a main feature of birthday parties? Balloons. Do you know how long and hard a dog needs to bark at the balloons to protect his family? Days. Exhausting.

So after a bit we began to dog share. We had a single friend who spent time outdoors and worked in a dog friendly office. It started with dog sitting and stretched to a week at a time. Then we went to a week on and a week off. Finally he was coming to us just for a visit. He would hinge and wag with pleasure as soon as he turned to our street, but then again he did the same when he went to his other house. I waffled between feeling leaden with guilt and able to rationalize our arrangement.

Eventually our friend was no longer single. Then he called to say he was moving to NYC. I had my heart in my throat wondering which way this would go. Would he want to take Buckley or leave him? With a thud of guilt and grief I realized I wanted him to go. This turned out to be a good thing, because that is what our friend wanted as well.

After a few years Buckley’s family of three returned and my guilt had faded. He was loved. He was loving.

Today I got the text I have been dreading for 13 years. Buckley is in surgery. It doesn’t look good. Steve happens to be back in Vermont. Hopefully he will visit my, his, our dog and not have to say goodbye.

We already did that…and it was for the best that time. My dear Buckley, thank you for being my family and giving me my family, thank you for moving on with grace and brining love to Erik and Kortnee, and here is hoping wherever you wake up there will be lots of fun to police.

Erik and Buckly
Erik and Buckly


Published by

Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

9 thoughts on “Heavy Petting”

  1. Oh Anna, how beautiful. I am teary eyed thinking of your/Steve’s/Erik/Kortnee’s Buckley I do hope Steve gets to visit with him to give him your hug.

  2. Anna, this was brave of you to write. I can’t imagine being without my Aero. But after what I just read, you made the right decision. It is indeed about the well-being of our fur-babies, not about us. I need to have this conversation with my step-mom in terms of her “selfish” interest in her pets.

  3. You’re making me all teary at work! Dogs create such amazing bonds, glad you were able to open Buckley up to two families along his journey.

  4. Oh Anna, what a beautiful and heart-aching story. I do hope Steve gets to see him, and that maybe Buckley will surprise you all with a turnaround. If not, I do hope you find peace in knowing that your Buckley had an incredibly wonderful life with MANY people who loved him. I call that a good ending to the story, really… no matter what happens. <3

  5. My dog took his policing very seriously too. Totally his idea, but I could see the pride he took in fulfilling that purpose. I love how you brought purpose into Buckley’s life, then he brought love into yours, which was reciprocated in the best way. I love how you & Buckley both looked out for each other!

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