Although I didn’t have the opportunity to raise a 2-legged son, I did raise a delightful 4-legged son named, Buckaroo. He has grown up to be such a respectful and well-behaved young man.
Buckaroo is 14 years old, and we received the dreaded news yesterday that his little kidneys are only functioning at about 25%. We know what we’re headed for, and we’re just crushed. He is our baby boy. We're going to cherish each day we have with him.
My Mother-in-law always refers to Buckaroo as a “gentleman”, and I like to think that if I had raised a human son, he too would have grown up to be as much a gentleman as my baby Buck.
Buckaroo was an only child, raised by a single mother until he was 6 years old. At 8 years old he became big brother to 2 kittens, and a few more years later 4 more kitties and 2 dogs. He’s the best big brother anyone could have, always protecting his siblings, letting them always eat first, and even allowing them to go through the doggie door first, just stepping aside until they all have exited and when the last one is out, he adoringly follows wagging his tail the entire time.
When Jack and I first met it was love at first sight for me, but for Jack it was a bit delayed until he met Buckaroo. Meeting Buck just sealed the deal for Jack.
I’ll never forget walking down the aisle on my wedding day and there at the altar stood Jack with Buckaroo! Buckie just stood next to Jack, so proud and smiling. During the ceremony he got a bit tired of standing and spotted his Aunt Lisa on the 2nd row and went and jumped on her lap to watch the rest of the ceremony. But when the nuptials ended and Jack and I walked back up the aisle, Buckaroo promptly jumped off Lisa’s lap and in perfect timing, followed us up the aisle just wagging his tail, as if he was saying: “I now have a Daddy!”
Buckaroo is our child. I know for some people that aren’t dog people this is difficult to understand. But at the same time it is difficult for me to understand how people can’t love dogs. I truly believe God made me a dog person because He knew I wouldn’t be able to have children of my own, so He gave me the love in my heart for animals which would suffice any feeling of loss for not having the 2-legged type.
Before Jack entered our lives, Buckaroo and I traveled many, many miles and lived in various places across the country. However, being the protective Mother I am, I never let Buck fly on a plane. He would be far too nervous, or maybe I would be far too nervous for him to be left alone in a cage, treated like nothing but cargo.
When I had to move from Little Rock to Los Angeles I found myself in a real dilemma. My company was managing all the packing and moving of my belongings, so I just needed to get myself to L.A., and get there QUICKLY I might add, to start my new position. I had no choice but to call the airlines and check the protocol for flying with dogs. Because Buck was too large for a kennel that would fit under the seat, I was told I had no choice but to ‘check him in’ with my luggage.
I pleaded and explained that he was perfectly behaved and would quietly sit in my lap not bothering a single person if they would let him fly with me in the cabin. They said, “No”. I even asked if I could travel with Buckaroo in the belly of the plane. I said I had absolutely NO PROBLEM just checking in with all the other dogs. In fact, I preferred to just travel down below with the dogs rather than the humans. I would even pay full fare; they could just slap a cargo sticker on my forehead and I wouldn’t say a word. They still said, “NO”.
So, like all good grandmothers, my Mom came to the rescue. Bless her heart. She offered to drive Buck from Texas to Los Angeles! All I had to do was drive 13 hours from Little Rock to Texas to drop off Buck, and then catch a plane from Texas for L.A. No problem. Mom then drove the even longer two day drive from Texas to L.A, by herself, with Buck sitting next to her in the front seat the whole way.
It took such a load off my shoulders! I was completely in distress over the thought of Buckaroo having to fly. No, Mom didn’t offer to do this because she, too, was so worried about Buck, but because she loves me and that’s just what Mom’s do.
To this day, if Jack and I have to be out of town for any length of time, Mom will travel 6 hours and take off work to come baby sit so we can enjoy our trip. Like parents of the 2-legged type away on a trip, we would fret and worry and not enjoy ourselves one bit if we didn’t think the babies at home were being loved and having all their little needs met.
My Mother-in-Law has even flown all the way from Florida to obligingly pay her Grandmotherly dues and keep the children while Jack and I are away.
Both of our Mothers just get it. They understand that we’re animal people, and that these are our children.
Happy Mother’s Day to both of my Mothers! Thanks for understanding how much Jack and I love our animals and for always going above and beyond to help out. And thanks for raising us to respect and love all creatures great and small. You made us what we are.