This photo means so much to me. It was taken this afternoon, just before Buckeye passed away...
To say that I am writing this entry with dry eyes would be a big lie. Today is a very sad day for me because I am losing one of the biggest friends I have ever had.
You likely know Buckeye. He has been part of my life the last seven years, but he had seven years before that... I have a lot of photos through this entry, and I promise that I only picked out my favorites and have a story behind each photo. My story may be a little tear-logged, but it's a memory I want to document to remember this amazing dog.
This is one of the earliest photos I have of Buckeye. I was working in Lima and Dawn came to live with me and said that Buckeye was coming with her. It was her family's dog and he didn't like me the first time we met. When I walked into her parents house he barked and barked when we first met and I honestly was a little scared. But that was Buckeye. He was looking to protect those around him. So when Dawn said she was coming to Lima with him... I was a little on my guard.
There is a great story about how Dawn's parents came to be the parents of Buckeye. Dawn's mom was working at the local mall and passed the pet store daily and saw Buckeye. Around Thanksgiving she saw him. No one wanted him. She swore that if he was still there come Christmas, then she would get him. He had cataracts as puppy. So basically we told people he was blind because he couldn't see you... just the rough shape of you. So it was just before Christmas and Buckeye was free of the mall pet store and went home to the Ivancics. He lived with them seven years and then Dawn brought him to Lima, but I never had an indoor pet and wasn't too keen on the idea... at first.
But I warmed up to him... and he to me. He only barked at new people then less the next time then didn't even waste his time on you when he met you a third time. And we grew very close during the Spring of 2009. My TV station was bought out by the TV station across town. So I was laid off because who needs 4 meteorologists in Lima, Ohio. So while job searching and while Dawn was at work, Buckeye and I became the best of friends. This photo, above, is one of my favorite photos. We were sitting on the steps of our apartment complex in the hot May heat.
He would lay on the couch, Reds on TV or the radio, and I would look for jobs. He was my buddy and I would talk to him and keep me sane while trying to further my career. Luckily a door opened up in Dayton, Ohio and I that is where the path led for Buckeye, Dawn, and me.
We spoiled him. Since he couldn't see presents we would have to hide treats inside that had a strong smell. He loved Beggin Strips.
He also loved soft plastics. Lint roller handles, pop bottles... anything he could sink his teeth into.
Like his "baby." It was a pink and green squirrel and it was disgusting. I am sure that thing was SOAKED in his saliva, but he would chew in it for days and he ripped it open and most of the stuffing fell out, but he still loved chewing on it and then resting his head on top when he was warn out.
His recent buddy was a duck, but he still loved getting the squirrel when we would take it off the shelf and give it to him.
Another thing he loved was being outside. This photo was from Sidney. (Where we lived when I got a job in Dayton and Dawn still worked in Lima)
And even more that his love of being outside... would be being outside and having the heat of the sun. He loved laying in the sun.
Always loved the heat.
It didn't mean he hated the winter.
But the warmer the better.
And snow wasn't a big concern for him... He learned to live with it. Even though when you took him outside the first snow and he couldn't see it... he knew what it was.
And we had some fun with him and his lack of vision. We tried to help him out.
But we figured the glasses made him look a little smarter.
But he tried to do that himself.
In his younger days he loved to stick his head out the window. Once you went over 35 mph he couldn't take much more and would pull back in his head.
But as he got older, and his back legs wouldn't work as well, he would look out the window and think about his younger days of the breeze through his beard.
He loved to sleep. So we have a lot of photos of him in the bed. We were a family full of love and life. We spent so much time together.
Sometimes taking care of one another. This is when Buckeye was dealing with a bad stomach bug when his stomach couldn't handle wet food any longer. He had been through a lot. We removed a tumor from his hind side and they did find a little bit of cancer and removed it. We got him back to full health and we continued with our lives... all three of us.
But we had quiet time.
And goofy time.
And more quiet time.
And bonding time.
During the last year or so we bought some steps for him to get into the bed. He used them at first with ease, but he continued to feel the affects of his arthritis and he would only force himself up the steps if we had a treat. We put him on medicine for the arthritis, but it had side effects and we had to stop.
So let's bounce back to some happy times. Buckeye was a GREAT garage dog. He loved it when all my friends brought over their mopeds and we would work on them and Buckeye could hang out with the guys!
He loved spending time in the garage with me.
He never really knew what was going on at our family farm. He could see the shape of a giant animal and jump back, but the farm wasn't for him.
He also loved hanging out by the fire. It was warm and there was laughter.
He also liked football. Especially rooting on Ohio State to the first college football playoff win.
Sometimes we got goofy during football time.
And sometimes he was sad... but that comes with the Browns.
This photo was from his 13th birthday. Man, I miss him.
But I remember his smile. He loved riding in the car.
Loved it all the time.
It was something about him being outside that helped him shine.
Things started to change around the house. We would babysit our nephew Anderson 3 days a week. Buckeye was great with him and loved following him around the house.
When it was time for Dawn and I to announce that we had a baby on the way... we used Uncle Buckeye to do that job.
We had a family photo within minutes of walking into the house.
And Buckeye knew his new role of guard dog for Summer.
He was by her side.
Inside and out.
They would do their morning stretches together.
And then hang out.
Summer knew he was soft and loved to feel his fur.
And we cherished every moment as an entire family.
Buckeye continued to watch over Summer.
As she grew.
And grew. Summer loved Buckeye, and seeing them to together hurts now... knowing that they will be apart and Summer won't remember him. We knew that with him being 14.5 years old that he wouldn't be with us much longer, especially with his declining health and his senses doing the same.
We did manage to try to take a photo one year later with Summer, Buckeye, and the orange tree in our neighbor's yard.
It took a lot of treats to get Buckeye to sit still.
And Dawn came in to help try to keep him around.
But Buckeye just wanted to wander around and be free. We did get a family photo though with the tree. I will cherish this photo forever.
This photo shows how Buckeye was for his final months. He couldn't see and his hearing was going as well. He relied on his hearing all his life, but when his hearing started to go he lost all sense of who was around him and where. Summer still wanted to play with him, but he was caught off guard when she tried to play with him.
But we still rolled on and gave Buckeye and Summer a great Christmas.
These two were our superheros.
And kept us smiling.
And Summer became more mobile and Buckeye tried to keep up.
But his old age caught up with him.
He was one of the best dogs in the world. His nickname was Flawless... despite his vision, hearing and arthritis.
This is one of our final family photos together. We had a mild day during the middle of winter and we all went for a walk. I had a feeling that that photo may be the last with all four of us and I still will remember how many photos it took to get us all into frame and smiling.
Some of our last photos were when we were doing Summer's 7 month photos. After our normal shoot Buckeye came in to see what was going on. He was always curious to know what was happening.
So, Summer, no matter where you are... We will be watching out for you and Buckeye will as well from Dog Heaven.
Going to miss you buddy... This is one of the hardest days I can remember.