by Jim Bucher

The Bucher household always had dogs. Of course, I don’t remember our first pet because I was sort of little, but I do have pictures to back it up.

There was Tuffy, and later Tuffy II, both Boston Terriers.

Chevy and Chase, a couple of mutts, showed up at our door one day and immediately adopted us.

Then, Tinkerbelle the Boxer lived almost 16 years. If you’re a canine lover, you know not long enough.

Cut now to 2016, and my French bulldog, Ella, is my current best friend.

She’s all white, 16 pounds of non-stop energy, always greeting me at the door or near my feet at all times.

I’ve written in these very same pages before about her, and the unconditional love we receive from our four-legged friends.

Oh yes, my daughters have cats, though you know a cat isn’t anything like a dog – meaning cats are on their own terms. You want to hold one, but they’re not in the mood. If you get comfy on a couch, that’s when the friendly feline uses your body as a bed. It’s when they say so.

I would never play favorites with my kids, but cats and dogs…different story.

Going on the record to say Ella is the
chosen one.

Googling life spans of Frenchies was pretty dismaying. They’re somewhere between 10 and 12 years—that’s in human years. Wish I wouldn’t have looked.

Ella is now 8 going on 9, and in the back of my mind, I dread the day “it” happens: the final trip to the vet.

This conjures up vivid memories of the last go-around with our Boxer. She was suffering a myriad of health issues which made it palatable to “do the right thing,” even though my selfishness to keep her around by “all means necessary,” almost got the best
of me.

I can imagine you folks out there, who’ve been through it, know it is not fun to see your companion, take his, or her, last breath. It’s something burned into the human hard drive of memories you want to forget, then can’t.

It’s a damned-if-you-do or damned-if-you-don’t scenario. Should I leave the room or stay? Do I witness the procedure of humanely putting her down or wonder the rest of my life how it went?

I’m telling you, it’s the most difficult decision ever.

Now, some out there would call me crazy, but you dog lovers know exactly what I’m talking about. The bonds, the loyalty and love are equaled by none. NONE!

So now, as Ella approaches her senior years, thought I’d take this time in Dayton City Paper’s Pet Edition to pen a love letter to my beloved.

Many times we don’t share how or what we really think of someone until it’s too late:

Ella,

It’s your human daddy here. Want to thank you for all the great years we’ve shared. Don’t know how I would have made it through without you. It’s been a challenge sometimes, though, with what seemed like a losing battle—potty training.

And as a puppy getting into everything, you shouldn’t have included yummy cat treats from the litter box.

There was the time of a communication breakdown, when we ended up injecting you twice with a vaccination that swelled you up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon.

There were great walks we’d take and your fearlessness toward any dog no matter what size, all to protect your master.

Every 20 feet marking your territory with a little spritz and scratching the earth beneath to show others who’s boss.

The crazy thing you’d do at the top of the basement stairs. Dropping your ball, so I’d pick it up and play.

All you did your entire life was to please me.

When I was lying in bed ill, you were there by my feet, or just plopped your butt next to my legs, as if to say, “Life is gonna be fine.”

The burger we’d share coming from the vet or groomers, for being a “good girl.”

The time you took on three dogs in the front of the house, their owner flailing and tangled in a twisted mess of leashes.

There’s more, but you get it. You are the greatest friend ever. Even when your owner comes home in a bad mood, you’re ready to please.

“Thanks” is not enough.

Know this: I will be the best daddy the rest of your days.

Here’s to many more hamburgers, walks, and territory marking.

Love you, my friend.

Cheers!

Buch

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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