THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT
by Brenda Looney
It was Christmas, 1990. My son, David, was just 13 years old. He had been working very hard on his newspaper route and saving his money. We had lost our poodles, Misty and Mandy just a year apart. It had been six months since Mandy had died. I had said I didn't want another pet. The pain was just too great. As time passed, I found myself checking the ads in the local newspaper. I was just looking though. I didn't really plan to get another dog. My son knew how sad I was and how much I missed having a dog. He picked up the phone and called on an ad for a six month old bichon frise that was housebroken. The lady on the phone said she didn't want to sell to a family that had small children. My son told her we had no little kids and that he was 13 and would take good care of a dog. He explained that the dog was for his Mom who was broken hearted over the loss of her dog. The lady agreed to let us come see the little bichon for sale.
It was dark as we drove along the road. I was afraid we'd get lost but somehow we managed to find the house. When the lady opened the door she was holding the little white fluffy dog in her arms. She was beautiful. When we entered the house I exclaimed, "Oh what a cute puppy". The little dog just jumped right into my arms. The lady said that was very unusual for her to do as she wasn't really good with strangers. My heart was set on getting this little dog. Money was tight at the time, but my son insisted he was to pay for her out of his paper route money. It was his Christmas present to me. He counted out the money and after some instructions on the puppy's care we left. The puppy sat in David's lap on the way home and didn't seem in the least bit stressed about leaving with us.
When we got home I set the dog's crate down in the livingroom. It was late. After letting the little dog out to relieve itself, we headed for bed. David was so proud of his wonderful Christmas gift to me. I think he could tell I wasn't so sad any more and how much I loved this little white ball of fluff. We decided on the name, Buffy. She wiggled next to me in the bed and licked my face. It felt so good to have this puppy to snuggle with. When my husband came home, he spotted the cage. He opened the bedroom door and up popped Buffy barking at him. He was so thrilled with Buffy. We only had one problem. She would not let him get in bed with me. For months Vern would have to stand at the foot of the bed and beg and ask permission to get in. I'd hold Buffy while he crawled in and once he was situated, Buffy would curl right up around his head and we'd all go to sleep.
Years went by. Our son grew up, graduated high school and eventually moved out into his own home. Having Buffy with us somehow made that transition easier. Even though David was gone I still had my baby Buffy. She was plagued with many health problems. She had glaucoma that took her vision and even one of her eyes . She suffered with pancreatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and seizures. I didn't know how much more my little Buffy could take. She was such a champ. Through all the illnesses and surgeries, she never gave up loving life and being with us. She adjusted to everything and was so brave to endure all she did. She brought so much pleasure to others. She was quite popular at the nursing home and was the star of the garden party I had for the elderly residents. Even though she was blind, you would never know it. She could manuever the house and the yard perfectly. She didn't let anything get her down.
With all the medical problems Buffy had, I spent a lot of time taking care of her. She had a special diet and many medications along with two insulin shots daily. Taking care of her took up a lot of my time but I didn't mind. She was so grateful and so special. There wasn't anything I wouldn't do for her. I knew though that her days were numbered and that her little body couldn't endure much more. She made it to her 14th birthday. The years had flown by.
Buffy especially loved wandering around the old farm we had just bought. She was free. Even though she was blind, she would wander all over the fields. She never grew tired of it. We didn't rush her. We let her wander to her heart's content and then it was time to pick her up and put her in the van and go back home. Sometimes she would steal a bite of my ice cream cone when I wasn't looking. I thought she was so smart to do that. She made us laugh at some of the things she could accomplish. I swear she could smell a piece of Kleenex a mile away and figure out how to get it and drag it under the diningroom table to shred it into a million pieces.
On that last night, I held my Buffy for hours in the emergency room. I knew there was no hope that she'd be going home with me. I closed my eyes and let my mind wander back over the years. Oh, how wonderful it felt to hold her and stroke her back and reflect on all the precious moments I shared with Buffy. She was the greatest Christmas gift ever. She was tiny but she was able to mend my broken heart. How will I ever live without her?
"Mom. Mom, she's gone." I opened my eyes and looked down at the tiny body on the table in front of me. The doctor put her stethescope up to her heart. It was no longer beating. She was gone. My son was crying and had his arm around me. My son...........no longer a little boy... but now a grown man. He was by my side to comfort me. I couldn't breathe. I wanted so much to swallow that huge lump in my throat. I put my hand on Buffy's head and kissed her goodbye. I turned to walk out of the room and I looked back one more time. How could I leave her? How will I go on without her? My Buffy was gone.
Just as Buffy had come into my life to help heal the hurt of losing my other pets, I knew that somehow she would send me another to love. It didn't take long before Juliet came into our lives and into our hearts. She is a treasure and I know from somewhere beyond the Rainbow Bridge my Buffy is rejoycing along with my dear Misty and Mandy. Buffy will always be my greatest Christmas present from my wonderful little boy who loved his Mom so much that he gave all he had to make me happy again.
Buffy will be home for Christmas..............if only in my dreams.
Memories of an Abundant Life * Family Ties * Flowers & Friends
Grandpas' Picture * In Rememberance * Letter to My Father
The Time of My Life * My Father * To My Husband
Sweetheart Overseas * My Dove * My Favorite Places
My Garden in Bloom * My Animal Children * No More
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Christmas Gift * Pumpkin * Empty Nest * Beyond Tears * The Red Rose * Annie's Story of Great Depression *
Garden Pictures * Coming Into Manhood * I Love How You Love Me *
Time To Give Thanks * Autumn Memories * Sunset *My First Mothers' Day *
The Gift * Neighbors * Seasons of Life
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