Ode to Buddy
Teacher: Chris Maurus
From the Desk of Chris Maurus
It was a sunny summer afternoon more than 12 years ago when my wife and my three boys came home from a shopping errand. I was on the back deck relaxing after working in the yard all day. I heard the van pull into the driveway and the doors close and was expecting a call to come help put groceries away, but instead, I saw all four heading through the yard up to the back deck where I was sitting. As they got closer I could see this dark shadow trailing behind them and one of the boys excitedly exclaimed, “Dad, Dad, look what we have!” In tow, was this beautiful sleek and trim Black Labrador Retriever, about a year old, who seemed to be very happy to be on a leash tagging behind his newly found pack.
Before I could ask a question, my wife said, “We drove by to the zoo today—they were hosting a pet adoption day and the boys wanted to go and look at the dogs there.” “Ian, picked him out.” When he first set eyes on him, he told the family, “This is the one—this is our dog.” After a few minutes of petting and feeding him treats, we all came up with the name, “Buddy,” A fitting name for such a friendly dog who just loves to be around the family. Buddy has been a really good and faithful friend all these years and the only pet my boys have really known as an intimate part of the family.
Today is another sunny spring day, and sadly, is most likely the last day we will be with our beloved faithful friend, Buddy. He’s old, frail, and very sick now—having great difficulty standing and walking—the result from a slow wasting disease he developed a couple years ago. Our whole family is anticipating the grieving of not having his presence with us on the morrow and that tearful drive to the veterinarian to mercifully set his spirit free from suffering. Many of you have experienced this sad precession.
I remember my children asking me if dogs have a soul and whether or not they go to “doggy heaven.” I explained that I truly did not know the fate of an animal’s spirit energy, but because they cannot know God, and do not have the intelligence or will to make moral choices that they probably did not have a soul. At this point, I had to explain in simple terms what a soul was—that it is was a container for all the experiences of your life that make you, you, and only those things that survive death and have meaning and value to God—love and the life lessons where you became greater and more perfect than you were the day before—the very best part of you that continues on learning and experiencing new adventures and returns to God the treasure of who you are.
I went on to explain that Buddy’s spirit energy is a part of God’s Spirit as is all the creatures of this world, and it is most likely that Buddy’s spirit will be recycled and appear again as a puppy on some other world where he will be loved by another family and will be happy again. They all seemed to understand and accept my theory and with it some comfort knowing he will live again and be happy.
With a teary eye, I say, “Bon voyage my faithful friend and I hope you soon wake in the arms of some loving child on some other beautiful garden planet in God’s creation.” “You will be dearly missed, and surely you have left your loving mark on all our souls.”
Peace and love,