December 13th 2007 4:36 am
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My beloved Buttons has been at the bridge for ten months now, so this isn’t going to be a diary. Instead I will be submitting her memoirs.
The story of Buttons arrival must start with my first encounter with a Sheltie. It was mid winter, I was in my mid twenties and living alone in my own house when my mother called me and said she rescued a dog who had sought shelter under her car as he tried to get warm from the exhaust system. I don’t remember anything about my first meeting him only that I found him to be a really nice dog. After a day or two my mother asked me if I wanted him. It didn’t take too long before I said ‘yes’. For the next couple days I found out just how wonderful a Sheltie could be. I was so impressed with the way he walked right beside me on leash. It was so different from our old dog that strained at the leash for the entire walk. My father also liked this dog. He hadn’t visited me in months but on the day I took the Sheltie home, he came over. I know it wasn’t to see me ;-) Soon after, my mother told me she saw an ad for a lost dog in the newspapers. She called the people up and got some info from them. I was told the lost dog’s name was Henry. As soon as I said the name, by his reaction I knew it was him. I called them up and set up a meeting time. My parents wanted to be there and my father wanted to make sure he was their dog so he had him sit on his lap to see if who he preferred. As soon as they walked in the door there was no denying that this was Henry. They took him home and I knew that whenever I got another dog, it would be a Sheltie.
Years past and for one reason or another I never thought it was a good time to get another dog. About six months after getting married, I was working midnight shift and still in bed when my wife wakes me up and tells me that she has a surprise. It was right around Easter and I thought she brought home a rabbit or other rodent. My stepdaughter had already neglected to death a couple hamsters and so I didn’t want another rodent. She then puts this little Sheltie puppy on the bed. She was so cute I almost immediately fell in love with her. I did almost have a heart attack when my wife told me the price. My parents never spent more than $25 buying a dog, Buttons cost $600 from a pet store. But soon the money didn’t matter, I could see she was well worth it. The only other thing I can remember of that first day was right after she ate, we were playing with her in the kitchen when she starts walking in a circle. She walked faster and faster and the circles got smaller and smaller. We said “what is she doing?”. She then spins in place on one back leg, hunches over and takes a poop. We said “well we know what that means now”. She did the spinning poop thing most of the time for the rest of her days.
We didn’t name her right away. I wanted to find the perfect name. My wife and her family for some reason are big Lucille Ball fans and so they started calling her Lucy. You can hear them call her Lucy in some of the first videos we took of her. I am not into celebrity worship and so I refused to call her that. Sometime in those first days I thought about how she was “cute as a button” so naturally, I decided to name her Buttons.
Some of the things I recall from her puppy days: Soon after we got her I changed shifts so we would have someone at home most of the time. I fed her and took her for two walks per day. I remember how in the first week I could outrun her, the 2nd week she could keep up, and by the 3rd week, she could outrun me. Sometimes she would sleep on my lap as I played on the computer. If you watch the youtube video of her, you will see just how playful she was. In those days she also pranced sometimes as she walked during play. It was really cute to watch.
I will continue to add to her memoirs as time and memory permit.
December 13th 2007 5:52 am
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As you can imagine, as we became attached to her we started acting like the typical brand new parents. We kept constant watch on her in the yard, afraid someone would steal her (for good reason, expensive pets were being stolen nearby) and would take her to the vet for every little thing.
Growing up, there was only one nearby vet that everyone took their pets to. We never did like the vets there, but we didn’t have much choice at the time. It wasn’t until much later that we found out just how many quacks they had at that clinic. So when it came time to find a vet for Buttons, I naturally wanted someone better. I asked around and had a Dr. Woods recommended, so we took Buttons to her. For the most part I didn’t have any problems with her, but I was concerned about certain things. When we saw her, she would do a quick look and then take Buttons and later Bows, into a back room. Many times, no matter what they went back for, they would come back upset, panting, with a purple tongue. Knowing now how other vets operate, I should have changed vets sooner.
Their treatment there led to my first crisis with Buttons. On our 2nd visit to the vet as soon as I opened the door and Buttons got a whiff of where we were at, she slipped the collar and took off running. Much later I learned that the Sheltie fur and neck makes it very easy for them to slip off a collar. Some people use special collars to prevent it. Well she took off into the parking lot with me running after her. By this time she could outrun me so I couldn’t catch her. As she headed toward rush hour traffic on the nearby roads I cried out for her to stop one last time. She must have understood the desperation in my voice so she stopped. Another thing that aggravated me with this vet was it seemed that she always tried to pad the bill. It seemed she always found a way to justify adding prescription dog food to the bill. One time I really got mad. It was one of those times we took her in for a minor upset stomach. She sold us a small bottle with an eye dropper with pink liquid in it. When I got home and gave it to Buttons I sniffed it and realized it was nothing but plain old Pepto-Bismol. I no longer remember how much I paid for it, but I know it was a lot more than it was worth. From my experience with other vets, it seems that this is normal. They will always try to sell you someone instead of instructing you to use a home remedy. After we moved to Stewartstown we stopped going to her. It wasn’t long before the wife was in that area and said Dr Woods clinic wasn’t there anymore. She doesn’t turn up in any searches so I don’t know if she is still a vet or not.
December 17th 2007 5:46 am
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In the first few weeks we had her, the wife decided to take Buttons to the park for a nice walk. I was working at the time, so it was just her and Buttons. Soon after she gets there a big Black Lab comes running out of the lake and attacks Buttons, grabbing her by the throat. My wife kicks the dog in the side which caused it to release its grip long enough for her to pick Buttons up. The Lab then started jumping up on my wife trying to get at Buttons until the owner finally shows up and takes control of the dog. The vet said to give her a couple days, she should be fine and she was. But when she was 10 or 11 years old, she developed a collapsed trachea which may have led to the condition that she died from. We always wondered if this attack eventually caused the collapsed trachea.
The last incident I can recall while she was a pup was on another walk. For several weeks I took the same route for our walks and decided to try another route for that day. So I get to an area that we hadn't been to; Buttons is naturally stopping to sniff everything when I see some goof stop his car in the middle of the road, get out and come over to me. He starts bitching me out for the dog mess in his yard. Telling him I haven't had her in that part of the neighborhood before didn't seem to matter to this jerk. Even though this guy was twice my size I really wanted to let him have it but while I wasn't afraid of getting hurt, I was afraid that Buttons could get hurt. Afterwards, I avoided that area and started carrying pepper spray to drive off any other idiots I might run into. Over the years I had to deal with a couple neighbors during our walks. It seems that whenever anyone ended up with dog poop in their yard, that we automatically got blamed, even though I was one of the few who bothered to bring a pooper scooper. One lady who got on my case had a dog that her daughter took for walks. I often saw that dog poop in other peoples yard and she never cleaned it up. I'm so glad I live far far away from that neighborhood now.
December 25th 2007 6:07 am
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The year I got married, 1993 was the last year we celebrated a Christmas without Buttons. She is sorely missed. Merry Christmas to you my sweetheart. You are always in my thoughts.
January 15th 2008 6:48 am
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Today is Buttons birthday! She would have been 14. In honor of her, I will light a lamp and put it on her grave. I couldn’t find a proper candle holder for outdoors, so a lamp it has to be. Also, today I will tell you stories of funny things she has done.
The first story takes us back to right after we got Bows. We had problems with Bows peeing on the carpet at night. It was more our fault for not taking the proper precautions. On this particular day though, for some reason I thought Buttons was the one who peed on the carpet. I found her in the kitchen looking out the sliding glass door checking thing out outside. I put my hands on my hips and in a firm voice said “did you pee pee on the carpet?”. She looked at me, put her head down and slowly walked to me. She then sat right beside me, leaned her body against my leg and then offered me her paw. Giving paw was naturally her first trick and she knew she was a good girl when she gave us her paw, so this must have been her way of trying to please me. I of course completely melted and picked her up and gave her a nice hug. Whether she did it or not, she was completely forgiven.
One of the favorite past times for Shelties is chasing any nearby squirrel. My girls were no different although Buttons put more effort in it then Bows. The tree lined path behind our house typically held a good number of squirrels and our walks usually took us down that path. The street behind my house had little traffic on it and once past the street, the path provided a safe area to walk the dogs without a leash. So our walks would start with me checking for traffic. If it was safe, I’d open the gate and we’d all run across the road and run down the path until we were at a safe distance from the road. On one particular day as we ran across the road there were a few squirrels hanging around. They took off in different directions but one went under the nearby car. The girls took an interest in that squirrel so I decided to help out. Buttons took the side where the field was, Bows took the front of the car. After making sure there was no traffic coming, I went around to the rear of the car. The squirrel was now surrounded on three sides. Suddenly the squirrel decides to make a break for the trees. He heads right for Buttons and ends up running right under her. In a flash, he was gone. Buttons wasn’t sure what happened at first. She looked toward the car, then she looked toward the trees. Finally she figured out what happened and she then got hopping mad and took off running and barking after the squirrel. It really reminded me of when Bugs Bunny would pull a fast one on Yosemite Sam. You would see him turn red and he’d bounce up and down he was so mad. That’s exactly how Buttons looked.
Over time I got to know what some of Button’s barks meant. I would immediately recognize her “help me” bark. I didn’t take the girls for a walk in the wood too often, mostly it was after it snowed. This one time we were returning home, just as I was about to enter to back yard when I hear Buttons “help me” bark. I looked behind me and Bows was right there, but Buttons wasn’t. In the woods, it was hard to figure out where the bark was coming from and she wasn’t barking enough for me to be able to zero in on her location. I had Bows go in the yard and I followed the trail to try to find her tracks in the snow. I soon see where her tracks go off the trail; I don’t know why she stopped following us and went off in that direction. About 50 ft off the trail, I find her completely tangled up in a patch of blackberry bushes. Boy was she a mess with her long fur tangled up in the thorns. She couldn’t move at all. It was so bad that I had to leave her to go get cutters. Even after cutting away the bushes, I still had to use scissors to cut off fur that was too entangled.
Another time I heard the “help me” bark it was both funny and strange. Buttons usually slept in my bedroom. She’d sleep with her back against the nightstand next to my bed. This one day I wake up and go downstairs. The wife and Bows are already down there and I ask her where Buttons was. She said she hasn’t seen her. As I start to look for her, I soon hear the “help me” bark. We head upstairs and start looking. We were looking around but at first we couldn’t find her. Finally I realize it’s coming from under the bed. I look under there and there she was, in the middle of the bed under the part of the bed where my pillow might be. I see her try to stand up, but there isn’t any room under there so she kinda flounders around not knowing what to do. I crawl under there and reach for her. She then does exactly the right thing by laying on her side so I can easily slide her out. To this day we don’t know how she got under there. If she laid upright and crawled like some dogs are trained to do, she may have had room, but I’ve never seen her crawl before and she certainly couldn’t do it that morning. If she laid on her side there was more room, but I don’t know how she could crawl under there on her side. For weeks afterward I watched her as she slept at various times to see if she did any sleepwalking. Once asleep, she never moved from her position. Over the next two weeks, she did it again twice. It was becoming a pain to crawl under the bed and I was afraid I’d hurt her when I’d grab her legs and pull her toward me, so I put a flat dog bed she never used under there to block access. That solved that problem. It remains an unsolved mystery.
This story was funny to me, but painful for her. One spring I decided to replace the junk deck the builder installed. I had taken the old deck off, but couldn’t start the new deck until a couple days later. In order to walk outside, I took the old stairs and nailed it to the ledger board. With the sliding glass door, the girls could see everything going on outside and when they saw something interesting they’d bark like crazy and we’d let them out to go zooming down to the fence. Well I didn’t think anything of it when Buttons started barking like crazy at something outside, so I let her out. Well she zoomed out the door as if the deck was still there and ended up rolling down the stairs. She looked like a black and white stripped log as she rolled down. As serious as it could have been, it looked so funny I had to laugh. I picked her up and made sure she was alright, still laughing. I think her dignity was damaged more then anything else.
To you my baby Buttons
You are always in my thoughts
February 8th 2008 9:39 pm
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It's been one year since you crossed the bridge. Today we replaced the rose on your grave with a bouquet of roses and carnations. We also bought a heart shaped picture frame and put your angel picture in it and placed it in the memorial cabinet. You are always in my thoughts baby.
February 8th 2008 9:50 pm
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In reference to the last entry. Button's bridge day is Feb 9. I don't see anyway to change the time zone so it still shows Feb 8.
February 9th 2009 7:15 am
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My how time flies. It's been two years since you crossed the bridge. All of us miss you just as much today. While other Shelties have joined the family, you will never be replaced.
January 15th 2010 9:15 am
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Happy Birthday Baby. Hope you & Bows are having fun.
February 9th 2010 1:32 pm
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Hard to believe it's been three years. You & Bows would love all the snow we have and it's snowing again now. You two keep the squirrels busy until Daddy comes for you.