Bud | A Vermont Dog
When Ruthie noticed that Bud was failing to the point that he could no longer maintain his customary lifestyle, she took him to a homeopathic veterinarian and left him there for several days of treatment. “We were just trying to help Bud feel more comfortable, but when we brought him home, he was so sick he couldn’t even walk. We knew we were going to have to put him to sleep. We decided we would give Bud a few final days so everyone could come and say good-bye.” Word spread quickly. Someone posted a notice: “Buddy is dying.”
Ruthie recalls that over the next few days there was a steady stream of Bud’s people. “There were so many people I didn’t even recognize, much less know. But Bud knew everyone.”
Some chose not to visit Bud’s deathbed. As one person put it, “I didn’t want to embarrass Bud. He had had such dignity in his life.
On February 24, 1996, Ruthie’s journal reads, “Buddy can’t even stand. His face is all swollen and he can’t stop shivering.” On February 28 she wrote, “Today is the day. My heart is aching. I found a little girl sitting and sobbing by Bud’s side. I had never seen her before.” That afternoon, the veterinarian was called, and Bud died in Louis’s kitchen surrounded by a small circle of family and friends.
They brought Bud’s body down into the village at nightfall on March 3. An icy wind blew fresh snow in swirling eddies. His body was shrouded in a blanket and laid across the back seat of an old red sedan. As the car slowly wound its way along the steep, twisting dirt road, a crowd of Bud’s friends, lining both sides of the road, was caught and held by its headlights. Next to a frozen pond and beaver dam was an open grave bordered by mounds of loose dirt. The body was lifted out of the car, gently lowered into the grave, and then covered with a brilliant red scarf. The villagers silently took turns shoveling dirt into the grave. Someone murmured, “We’re sure going to miss him.”
An adamant music school postcard with Bud’s picture on it is still sold in the general store today. And a granite gravestone, paid for by donations collected in the store, still marks Bud’s grave by the upper Adamant Pond dam.
An old dog named Eric now enjoys Bud’s spot in front of the woodstove. Some say that Eric is trying to take Bud’s place. But everyone agrees that no dog can really ever do that.
Excerpt from “Bud,” Yankee Magazine, December 1999.