Buddy – A Journey in Sprit

The pages of this blog are full of travel tales from the lives we’ve lived on the road, at sea and abroad, but there are other kinds of journeys and adventures in life that don’t involve an RV, a sailboat or an airplane. This story is more profound than any we’ve shared with you in the past, and it has impacted our lives in the deepest ways imaginable.

Buddy - A Journey in Spirit

Our neighborhood has been inundated with mice and pack rats, and every neighbor keeps the hoods of their vehicles wide open in hopes of deterring these rodents from setting up housekeeping in the engine compartment. Not one neighbor has been spared from repairing the wiring in their car, truck or RV engine. And now, neither have we.

Rumor has it that the wire shielding is made with peanut oil which rodents love. Whether or not that’s true, in the space of a month, part of our truck engine’s main wiring harness was gnawed right through on two separate occasions. Of course, they chewed the wire to the nub, so it was nearly impossible to make the repaired connections hold. To make matters worse, the damaged part of the wiring harness was located beneath the fuse box in a spot that is extremely difficult to reach. Installing a new wiring harness would cost somewhere around $2,000, but by sheer determination and tenacity, Mark was able to make a successful repair.

Puppy at Glen Canyon

After all this, Mark was beside himself with frustration because the source of the problem was still out there. Over the course of a year he had purchased every rat deterrent and trap he could find, and in the process he’d disproven most of the old wives tales about the effectiveness of things like dryer sheets, Ivory soap and strobe lights that blink all night long. Each morning, many of his 20 or so peanut butter baited traps around the truck and the house would be tripped—and empty, licked clean and surrounded by fresh rodent droppings.

In a fit of pique, he bought some rat poison and put it under the truck. That would stop them, for sure!

The next day we took the truck to town and when we returned we parked it in different spot, our minds elsewhere. About 20 minutes later I noticed a green block on Buddy’s mat on the patio that looked like a dog treat. “What’s this?” I asked, holding it up for Mark to see. His eyes were saucers and his jaw dropped. “That’s the rat poison! What’s it doing there?!”

Buddy was bouncing around chasing lizards nearby.

Pup bouncing around

The poison stick appeared uneaten and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then I caught sight of a second one. A quarter of it had been chewed. My heart stopped.

The chew marks looked rodent-like, but how had these things gotten on the back patio? Mark had put them under the truck on the other side of the house!

As we scrambled to try and piece together what might have happened in the last 30 minutes, Buddy continued trotting around, tail high and spirits higher.

I immediately called Tomcat, the manufacturer of the poison. Their poison hotline told me that if a 25 lb. dog ate just 1/4 of a brick of the poison — bromethalin — it wouldn’t be a lethal dose. Phew!!

At that moment Mark came barreling into the house, his eyes wild. “The kit came with 8 bricks and I can find only 7, including the one that was chewed. I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find that 8th brick”

As he ran outside again to continue searching for the missing brick, I called Tomcat back. The formerly calm and friendly gentleman at their poison info line had a sudden seriousness and urgency in his voice as he told me that a full brick and a quarter was a lethal dose and Buddy needed to go to the hospital immediately. He needed to be given activated charcoal to absorb as much of the poison as possible ASAP. He gave me a case number for the veterinarian to reference.

My world keeled over and crashed as I heard these words.

Buddy walked in and looked at me with a puzzled expression as if to say, “Why all the intense emotions around here all of a sudden?”

I called our veterinarian and his assistant urgently told us to get to the emergency animal hospital that’s nearly an hour away as fast as possible. “You need to go right now!” his assistant said, “but first induce vomiting by spraying hydrogen peroxide in his mouth.”

Mark did that and Buddy promptly threw up some very pale green phlegm. Our hearts sank. There was no doubt now that he had ingested the poison.

Puppy at sunset

We grabbed Buddy and drove like wildfire to the emergency animal hospital.

Murphy, of Murphy’s Law, was working overtime, though, and we arrived at the hospital right in the middle of a huge rush. One dog had heart failure on both sides of his heart, and another dog had swallowed something he shouldn’t have, and other crisis cases kept pouring in. We got in line.

I was less than patient waiting there, and I complained bitterly to anyone who would listen. The wonderful receptionist, Anne, and the lead veterinary technician, Angela, kindly listened to my complaints and apologized for the delay.

After an hour or more, Buddy was finally taken into the triage room.

He was bright eyed and bushy tailed and looked at us pleadingly as the vet techs took him away. Unfortunately, the team of doctors and nurses on duty was so busy it took another hour or so before they could administer the activated charcoal. Another hour after that he was finally brought out to us.

We learned that he’d thrown most of the charcoal back up. He had charcoal on his paws and his hips even though he’d been cleaned up.

Worse, he was totally panic stricken and his eyes were wild.

We looked at each other in shock. This was not the same dog we had handed over to them two hours before.

Beautiful patriotic dog

We whisked him away from the stress and trauma of the animal hospital towards home, and then decided to stop at a park near the hospital so he could stretch his legs and relax and start to regain his good spirits.

I put him down on the ground next to the car and he promptly laid down and wouldn’t get up.

Hmmm. I carried him to a quieter shady spot under a tree nearby and set him down again. He collapsed and wouldn’t budge.

Something was very wrong. Was it the trauma in the hospital or the charcoal and its after effects? Or was the poison beginning to take effect?

The veterinarian had told us that this particular poison causes brain swelling and seizures and if a dog has a seizure there’s no hope. He’s done. She had seen dogs die on the operating table.

There’s no antidote for bromethalin.

Puppy by the shore

I called the hospital, my voice shaking, and they said to return immediately.

As we drove, Buddy suddenly became a whole different animal in my arms. He was terrified. Not scared like I’ve seen him scared of things. He was constantly squirming in my arms now. His breath was shallow, his mouth agape, teeth showing, and his eyes were wide with terror.

He pinned his ears back and he strained to get out of my arms. His expression was like nothing I’ve ever seen. He wanted out of my arms and out of his body. Now!

His whole muzzle began shaking uncontrollably while I hugged him and consoled him and Mark drove 90 mph back to the hospital.

Puppy in a police car

The vet techs ran to us as we walked in the door and they whisked Buddy away into the triage room.

For the next hour Mark and I alternated clinging to each other and pacing the floor. At one point we heard barks, howls and wails coming from the emergency room that sounded like Buddy’s voice.

We were both beside ourselves. Mark was in tears and I couldn’t stop pacing and incessantly drinking water from the waiting room fridge as I tried to get rid of my dry mouth and panic.

Just a few hours earlier we had gone for a short hike with Buddy on one of his favorite trails. He’d been as charming as ever, trotting along ahead of us with his dear puppy prance, his whole sweet little body overflowing with joy at being alive.

Leaping for joy

The lead daytime veterinarian, Dr. Frost, finally came out of the emergency room and took us into a quiet room for a consultation. Her face was ashen as she leaned towards us to speak. “Buddy just had a grand mal seizure.”

I gasped and couldn’t breathe.

“I hate to be blunt, but I have to be honest with you.” She went on. “His situation is very grave. And you are going to have to make some very difficult decisions. If you want to continue, he needs the highest level of care that we offer. It costs about $5,000 a day.”

Mark broke down and put his head in his hands. “I can’t live without Buddy. If something happens to him, I don’t want to live.”

Dr. Frost rushed over to him and put her hands on his shoulders and looked him deep in the eyes. “Don’t say that!”

Puppy helps out with a photo shoot

We were all quiet for a moment and then someone appeared at my side while Dr. Frost slipped back into the triage room. The person was holding a formal quote for ICU care for the next 12 to 48 hours. The range was $6,000 to $18,000.

I glanced at the quote and the numbers didn’t even register in my mind. They didn’t matter. All that mattered right now was getting Buddy and our happy lives back to how they had been five hours before.

Beloved pink rope

Images of Buddy flitted through my mind: our happy-go-lucky little friend trotting around with his tail held high, and our dear cuddly pup playing under the blankets in bed.

Puppy on the rocks at dawn

Big puppy stretch

He was our sweet kindred spirit who loved adventure as much as we did. He would come alive when we were out exploring new trails.

Puppy on the hiking trail

Puppy dog running in the snow

I closed my eyes and vowed, “Buddy is fine. He’s fine.” He had to be. Come hell or high water, he had to make it. There was no other possible outcome, no other option. There was no other future for us except with Buddy living out his full life in our little family.

Mark sat on a bench with his head in his hands for a long time. The receptionist, Anne, came over to him and said quietly, “We can bring in a grief counselor for you…” He looked up, his face in agony, and said no, that wasn’t necessary.

Puppy love

I couldn’t stop pacing up and down the waiting room halls and drinking water.

Time stopped.

People were waiting patiently on the benches around the room, dogs and cats in their laps or at their feet, but I barely saw them.

Someone suddenly appeared asking for a credit card so we could make a preliminary payment of $7,800. That would cover Buddy’s care until 6 pm the next day. We gave him the card without a moment’s hesitation. We could sell things once we got home, if it came to that.

I went outside and paced all over the parking lot, out across a grassy field and around a distant building. I was half out of my mind, like a maniac, but I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t sit still.

Puppy plays with a slipper

With all my heart, I wanted to beg God for a miracle right now. With every fiber of my soul I wanted to plead with God to save our beloved little friend.

But I knew deep inside that that wasn’t the right approach.

I’ve done a lot of reading about divine healing over the past few years, and we experienced a miracle healing ourselves a while back.

I’d learned that healers who seek divine intervention don’t beg for assistance. They command that the healing take place and they believe deep in their hearts that the healing has been completed successfully already. They even speak of it that way, as a done deal.

I kept repeating to myself — silently and then out loud once I was out of earshot — that Buddy was healed, as if it had already happened. I thanked God profusely for Buddy’s full recovery and for gifting the doctors and nurses with healing hands.

I visualized the whole hospital staff being astonished and overjoyed by Buddy’s recovery.

I imagined the scene of the veterinarian and vet techs glowing with wonder and happiness that Buddy was fully healed.

In the doghouse outhouse

As soon as I’d finish saying and visualizing those things, I’d do it again.

Sometimes I’d phrase it a different way, but each time was like a vivid, forceful statement that had the full impact of all my ragged, intense and frazzled emotions behind it.

I went back in the waiting room and Dr. Frost came out to speak to us again. “I know how much you love your dog,” she said. “I want to make sure that if Buddy needs CPR you want us to do it.”

Of course!!

Modeling in the director's chair

She went on to explain that right now Buddy needed medication to reduce the brain swelling caused by the poison, but they couldn’t administer those meds until the seizures stopped.

So, they were putting him in a medically induced coma to force the seizures to stop.

Once the seizures ceased, they were planning to give him the anti-brain swelling medication. Eventually, if he survived, they could bring him out of the coma. It might take a few days or a week.

The big hope was that if he made it to the point of regaining consciousness, the seizures wouldn’t resume.

Pup in the wildflowers

Dr. Frost sighed and looked me intently. “There’s not much you can do right now.” She said. “But you can pray.”

“Oh, we have been!” I said. “Nonstop!”

I had asked our friends to pray for Buddy, and Mark’s daughter put out a request for prayers on Facebook. The response was overwhelming. Many shed tears when they heard what was going on and ardently prayed with us for a miracle.

Best Friends Forever

Puppy makes friends big and small

Best friends forever

We realized that this was all going to take a while, so we decided to go home and get our truck camper and stay in the hospital parking lot overnight.

We were silent on the drive home.

Mark wanted to apologize and felt the deepest guilt, but I wouldn’t hear it for a second. Our only way was forward.

Any second guessing, guilty feelings, or wishing we’d done things differently were useless at this point. Every ounce of our energy had to go towards manifesting a 100% recovery, with vehemence. With exuberance!

Family portrait with the truck camper

I don’t even remember the drive back to the hospital with the camper. By then it was dark. We parked right around the corner from the front door of the hospital and quickly went inside. For a split second I worried we’d be greeted with bad news, but I banished that thought as soon as it came.

As I fought all negativity out of my mind and opened the door, the evening receptionist looked up with a big smile and said, “He’s doing well!”

Owners aren’t usually allowed into the triage room, but she said we might be able to go in late at night if things got quiet. So, we went out to the camper to wait. A few hours later it was quiet again and we were allowed to see him.

I have never been in an ICU before. The scene was straight out of a TV show or movie.

Puppy portrait black and white

Buddy was lying on his stomach, his front paws on either side of his head. He was intubated with a tube that went all the way down to his lungs. His long tongue was hanging out of his mouth on the table, totally limp.

He had a catheter for urine, an IV inserted into one leg, an automated blood pressure cuff on one paw and something inserted into his abdomen, and his fur had been shaved to accommodate all these things. Wires and tubes went from his tiny little body to display monitors next to the operating table, to an IV bag on a hook and to a urine bag on the floor.

His eyes were covered with a blindfold and ear buds had been placed deep in his ears to block out all the lights and noise of this busy room.

Puppy covers his eyes

But his sweet little ears were still recognizable amid all that technology. I leaned over the back of his neck, nuzzled my face into his familiar warm fur and talked to him.

I told him how much we loved him and how God was bringing him a miracle. How he was going to be cured and made healthy again.

I couldn’t stop talking to him. It was a stream of consciousness of constant encouragement.

Two of the graphs on the monitors were going haywire the whole time. His heart rate and blood pressure were steady (and not far different than ours would have been), but his breathing and some other waveform were totally erratic. They spiked all over the place and then would stop.

“Is he flatlining?” I asked at one point in a panic. Then the graph started spiking again.

As I spoke to him, he suddenly made a gagging noise on the tube in his throat. It seemed that he was responding to what I was saying to him.

Then he let out a very familiar big sigh that always signals his total contentment. I think he was grateful we were with him.

Puppy sleeping

Dr. Frost came around to talk to us. I straightened up from having my head buried in Buddy’s neck and without even thinking about what I was saying, I blurted out, “We’re expecting a miracle. We’ve seen miracles happen. And we’re going to witness a miracle here.”

She nodded and looked at me with the saddest expression in her eyes. Her heart was breaking for us.

“I think everything in life happens for a reason,” I went on. “And I think there’s a silver lining in every cloud. Sometimes it takes many years to see it, but when something terrible happens, it’s making way for something new and wonderful to happen later. Even a tragedy like this happens for a reason.”

I petted Buddy’s soft fur as I marveled at what I’d just said and wondered where it had come from.

“Not many people would feel that way, especially at a time like this,” she said quietly.

“I think talking to him helps,” I went on. “People have come out of surgery and they remember what the surgeons were saying.”

She nodded but looked so sad.

I finally stepped back and let Mark have a turn whispering in Buddy’s ear.

Mark talked to him about hiking and going on RZR rides and chomping on his bully stick, and suddenly his breathing increased and he gagged on the tube again.

Buddy with the RZR

Oh my! He was definitely responding and knew we were there.

In the ICU there was a vet tech stationed by his head every minute of every hour. They worked in shifts, and the first was Emma, a young woman with a warm smile.

She had a clipboard in her lap and was taking notes as she monitored the machines.

Occasionally, she swabbed his closed eyes with artificial tears and moistened his dry tongue.

He was on a dozen different medications, so she was continually swapping out the IV bag with different meds on a strict schedule. Electrolytes and fluids were added into the mix to keep him going.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. We each took turns talking to him some more, but we didn’t want to excite him or disturb him too much, so we gave him some gentle hugs and made our way out.

Chatting with a puppy dog on a hike

We went back to the truck camper and for two hours we lay side by side, wide awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling. Then we couldn’t wait any longer. We went back into the hospital to see if we could visit him again — and they let us right in. It was now after midnight.

This time we were prepared for seeing him wired up.

He was on his side now with a blanket over him. He looked much more comfortable.

Sleeping puppy

All of his graphs had stabilized. The crazy spikes and flatlines were gone now, replaced by steady patterns up and down. Most important, he’d finally become stable enough to receive the anti-brain swelling medication too.

We were overcome with relief. We hugged him tight, closed our eyes and whispered thank you a dozen times into his thick, warm fur.

After straightening up and wiping our eyes, the overnight veterinarian came over to us and took us aside.

“This all looks good, but I have to be frank with you. His situation is very grave. I don’t mean to be harsh, but we don’t know what will happen when we bring him out of the coma. The seizures might resume. He might not be able to lift his head. He might not be able to stand up. He might be deaf, or he might be blind. We just don’t know. He may require intensive care for another few days or for a week or more.”

Buddy bundled up on a recliner

I heard her words but couldn’t let them sink in. For a few seconds I pondered how I would help him learn to walk again if need be, but I rejected that thought too before it could take root. I was certain we were going to see a 100% recovery and nothing less.

Yet deep inside I knew exactly what the veterinarian was saying.

Years ago, a special friend had developed a malignant brain tumor, and its rapid development and treatment left her changed forever. Her once beautifully athletic body couldn’t move fluidly any more and her once robust and expansive personality became more withdrawn, quirky and detached.

For all of us, good health is not only precious but it is often fleeting as well.

Buddy watches the sunset

We returned to the camper and lay wide awake staring at the ceiling for a few more hours.

When we spoke, it was only to talk about how much we loved Buddy, reminding each other of his many special little traits that we cherish.

He is a unique dog, incredibly smart and surprisingly fastidious, and he has a gentle, respectful temperament.

We nodded off for a short spell to internal lullabies of nonstop prayers.

Around 5 a.m. we ventured back into the hospital and were invited into the triage room again.

This time Buddy was lying under a thick pile of blankets. The vet tech at his bedside explained that his temperature had dropped to 98 (normal is 101 to 102.5) and that they had heated up the table he was on and added blankets to keep him warm.

Pup Bundled up on a blanket

We each talked to him again, and as we nuzzled him we thanked God over and over for giving Buddy a total 100% recovery, cementing our own certainty that he would indeed recover as we gave thanks.

We were calmer now and the air in the room was calmer too, although his temperature drop was unnerving.

He was now the only urgent care animal lying on an operating table in the center of the room.

The walls of the room were lined with kennels that were full of dogs and cats resting, and they each had a front row seat to all the action. Some were snoozing, but some were awake and taking it all in. One puppy kept crying.

By the time we came out of the hospital, morning was dawning.

Pause in the Buddy trail for Sunrise-4

The evening before we had rushed home and grabbed the camper in a hurry, thinking no further than sleeping in it for the night. We had no food or anything else with us!

So, we drove back home to get some food, fill the camper with water for showers, and get set up to stay next to the hospital for as long as necessary.

When we got home, a flood of emotions hit us.

The footprints of Buddy’s spirit were all over the house and in every corner of the yard.

He is as important in our little family of three as the two of us are, and the thought that we might lose him forever suddenly hit us full force.

I thought about the sad couple we had seen leaving the animal hospital the previous morning when we’d first pulled up. They were carrying a collar and a leash but no dog, and they were crying.

I kept trying to push those kinds of thoughts out of my mind as best I could so I could keep functioning and gather what we needed from the fridge and pantry, but Mark was overcome.

Puppy in the water

Buddy has a favorite place to rest in each room and all the blankets and cuddly spots were still just as he’d left them.

His favorite toys were in the living room, and his water bowl was on the floor where it had been since before this nightmare struck.

His favorite kibble was in the pantry, his jackets and dog brush were in their drawer, and his favorite homemade chicken soup that I’d just cooked the day before disaster struck was still in the fridge, untouched.

There was no way we could come home from the hospital after this with just his leash and harness.

We finally got back to the hospital with the fully stocked camper, including the fresh chicken soup, around 9 in the morning and when we went in the hospital door we were greeted with wonderful smiles.

“He’s doing well!”

We breathed a massive sigh of relief.

We went in to see him and were astonished that his eyes were open.

Puppy relaxing

The team had begun reducing the coma-inducing meds (a 12 hour process), and he was out of the deepest stages of unconsciousness, although he was not fully conscious yet.

To everyone’s astonishment, the seizures hadn’t resumed.

We hugged him and felt a huge wave of happiness wash the stress away as we excitedly talked to him and fought back tears.

Puppy portrait, resting

Thankfully, the tube going to his lungs had been removed, so his tongue was now back in his mouth.

But a tiny pair of oxygen tubes now went around his head to his nostrils and he was still wired up with the automated blood pressure cuff, the IV, the urine catheter and other plugins.

The lead vet tech, Angela, was at his side now, and it turned out she was the mother of the young vet tech Emma who’d cared for him the previous afternoon.

Angela was overjoyed to see Buddy’s incredible recovery so far, but I noticed her eyes were red-rimmed and she looked tired. She said she hadn’t slept much the night before because she had been worrying about Buddy. She’d stayed on duty at the hospital for 4 extra hours the previous evening to make sure Buddy was receiving the best care possible before she went home.

She had just lost her own beloved, healthy six year old dog a month earlier to an unexpected and sudden 48 hour battle with meningitis. She knew our pain and fear too well.

She said when she woke up this morning, the first thing she did was get online to check on Buddy’s condition. She was so relieved that he was still alive.

Fast puppy in the snow

As we chatted, things began to get busy in the ER again. More sick and injured animals began to arrive.

When two vet techs ran past us pushing a gurney at full speed into the waiting room discussing lacerations and leg injuries as they ran, we knew it was time for us to go back to the camper.

We’d only been in the camper for an hour or so when we heard a knock on the door. It was the early shift veterinarian, Dr. Jackson, and she had the biggest grin on her face. “He’s fully awake!”

We lept out of the camper and ran into the triage room, and there was Buddy relaxing on the operating table looking at us.

His eyes were fully open, his head was erect, and his ears were as perky and as expressive as ever.

We melted on the spot and wrapped our arms around him in huge hugs and kisses.

Dog in the grass

“It’s so wonderful to have you back,” we kept saying into his fur as we hugged him. “Thank you, God!”

His eyes moved slowly around the room as he watched the action going on and we realized he hadn’t lost his vision.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang at the other end of the room and he turned his head to look in that direction. Oh my, he could hear!

I closed my eyes and kept repeating, “thank you thank you thank you” deep in my heart.

Dr. Frost was on duty again and she came over with a radiant smile on her face. Then I realized that everyone in the ER was grinning from ear to ear and was over-the-top happy for us.

Jumping and running puppy

After this first rush of joy I looked down on the ground and noticed that Buddy’s urine bag was a dark shade of brown, almost black.

I didn’t want to think about what that might mean, but Angela explained it was probably due to dead muscle cells being flushed out of his body. Apparently, when you have violent seizures it is extremely hard on the body and your muscle tissue breaks down rapidly.

Not only had he had the grand mal seizure — where his entire body was convulsing — but the seizures had gone on for a long time. They had started when we were in the car at the park and his muzzle had started shaking uncontrollably.

Angela also explained that Buddy had developed pneumonia in his lungs and they were monitoring that.

We went back to the camper for another hour or so and then returned for another visit. Activity in the triage room had surged again, so we couldn’t see Buddy that time, but a few hours later we were allowed in.

He looked up at us from the operating table with the sweetest expression on his face.

Adorable puppy

We brought him a small bowl of my fresh chicken soup, and once we got the okay, we held it out and he lapped it up with gusto. He was hungry!

Please, sir, may I have some more?

We were thrilled to see that he could now push himself up on his front legs but we noticed that his back legs weren’t working at all.

We were also disturbed that his urine bag was still the color of espresso, so we refocused our prayers on restoring all the strength and agility he’d always had in his hind legs and healing all of his organs inside.

Leaping in the grass

A few hours later we went in for another visit and before we entered the triage room, the receptionist, Anne, greeted us saying, “Did you know that an anonymous person paid $100 towards your bill?”

We were shocked.

It turned out that a woman had seen us at our lowest moments the day before, and she’d asked if she could contribute towards our vet bill anonymously. We were blown away by her unexpected kindness.

Puppy dog checks out a trailer in Utah

Then she told us that Buddy had graduated from being on the operating table to resting in a kennel on the floor.

When he saw us come around the corner to his kennel, he gave the tiniest thump of the tip of his tail on the floor.

He still couldn’t get up on his hind legs, but we hung onto the hope that his mini tail wag meant his hind end was healing and he would soon be able to stand up on all fours once again.

After nuzzling and talking to him for a while and giving him a few more slurps of chicken soup, we each stripped off a piece of clothing that had our scent on it and left it in his kennel with him and then we ran out to the camper and got a squeaky toy he’d had since he was a puppy.

He snuggled up in the shirts and put a paw over his lamb chop toy and closed his eyes as we tip-toed out of the room to let him sleep.

With his favorite toy lambchop

Out in the parking lot we noticed a mobile food van had parked next to our camper.

The owners of the hospital had hired the food truck to provide a free lunch and dinner to the hospital staff in appreciation of all their hard work over the last few months.

People in scrubs lined up at the food truck window all afternoon.

Puppy dog at the drive-through window

During a lull at the window, we started chatting with the husband and wife team that run the truck. Their little dog was lying patiently under a tree nearby.

In a back corner of the truck we’d noticed the words “We believe” painted next to a small cross.

We told them Buddy’s story, of the prayers, the visualizations and the stunningly deep conviction we’d both had that he would recover.

After exchanging some emotional hugs, they told us how their little pup had barely survived a pit bull attack a few months earlier. The good hospital staff at this very same hospital had patched him back together again.

They insisted on giving us a free meal, and we felt truly jubilant as we sat down to eat. It was as if the world around us were glowing.

Buddy at sunset

Late that afternoon we came in to find Buddy happily sitting up and looking around the room from inside his kennel.

After another small serving of my chicken soup, we picked him up and cuddled him for a while and then set him down on the floor to see if he could stand.

He stood stock still on all four paws, without collapsing, and a collective sigh of relief and excitement swept the room. He took a few steps and cautiously wagged his tail. Hallelujah!

Several people stopped what they were doing to come over and talk to him, scratch his ears and kiss his forehead and congratulate him.

Puppy in Wyoming

After holding him and talking to him for a while, we put him back in the kennel and closed the wire door.

He put his paw up on the grate in the door and looked at us pleadingly as we left the room. Our hearts melted as we promised him we’d be back soon.

After the evening shift change of doctors and nurses was completed, we went into the hospital again and asked if we could take Buddy for a short walk. It felt so good to put his little harness on him and get him set for a brief outing.

We walked with him into the waiting room and then he led us outside.

He made his way behind a small bush to do his business. This was the first time he’d gone in two days. His poop was rock sold black charcoal. Literally, it was rock.

He sniffed around for a few minutes but then turned around and headed right back to the hospital door and waited for us to open it.

Then he led us over to the door of the triage room, and once inside the room, he led us over to his kennel.

He was ready for a nap, and this was where he planned to take it.

Beautiful pup

If that isn’t a testament to he quality of care he was receiving, I don’t know what could be. I’ve never known an animal that wanted to go into the vet’s office and that tugged on his leash to pull you in that direction!

But he was happy in his kennel and it was home to him for now and we knew he was in great hands.

We took off his harness and watched him get wired back up to the IV and catheters for another dose of meds.

Only days later did we realize that by visiting him and feeding him our own homemade soup, we were throwing their carefully timed medication and feeding schedule for a loop!

Dog in the snow

As we settled into bed in the camper that night, we felt awestruck and overwhelmed by the day’s events.

Without a doubt, we had just witnessed a miracle.

I had prayed that God’s hand would reach down and cradle Buddy to give him strength and help him recover, and it had happened.

However, there was still a long way to go.

The veterinary staff was worried about the condition of his liver and the coffee color of his urine, not to mention the pneumonia that still infected his lungs.

But he had come out of the coma without any visible brain damage and he was still the same sweet little personality he had always been.

Puppy under a rainbow

We visited again briefly around around midnight. We had to ring the doorbell to get in, but patients are admitted all night long and the nighttime staff was wide awake and ready for action. At the moment, though, things were quiet, and we had a chance to talk to the crew a little. What a dedicated group they are!

We also noticed the sign on Buddy’s kennel: “Severe toxicity (bromethalin).”

Next to that, the pre-printed letters CPR were circled and the letters DNR were crossed out.

A shudder went down my spine as I thought, “DNR – Do Not Resuscitate.” I remembered answering Dr. Frost’s question about whether they should administer CPR if Buddy needed it. It hadn’t dawned on me, though, that it was an either/or question and that the alternative to CPR was DNR.

Puppy on a bridge

We managed to sleep deeply for a few hours for the first time in two days, and at the crack of dawn we lept out of bed to see Buddy. He was in fine spirits.

“We’ve all been taking turns cuddling him,” one of the nurses told me. It showed.

He was as happy and well adjusted as is possible for being sick in a kennel in the middle of an emergency room, attached to a urine bag and an IV bag, and surrounded by antiseptic smells and a menagerie of dogs and cats in various stages of recovery.

Dog on the beach at Lake Powell Arizona

A few hours later we took Buddy outside for a longer walk.

We meandered down sidewalks and he sniffed the bushes and left messages for other dogs.

We realized it was such a privilege to be able to do this simple activity with our beloved pup.

He acted as though nothing had ever happened, yet we’d just had our lives turned upside down!

He was tired after about 20 minutes of walking and was happy to get back to his kennel for some rest.

Puppy at an RV window

By noontime, his urine bag began to be more yellow and less brown. Dr. Jackson was on duty, and she suddenly announced that he could be released from the hospital later that afternoon. We wanted to leap for joy!

But we weren’t about to rush home. We planned to stay in the parking lot for an extra 24 hours so we could monitor him and be right at the hospital if he suddenly took a turn for the worse.

Later that morning we took him into the truck camper for an hour of quiet togetherness.

He was excited to be in the camper and he made himself at home on the bed as he always does, master and commander of our tiny rolling home from his perch among the pillows in the middle of the bed.

Puppy resting in a truck camper

We all took a nap together, utterly elated to be able to do that as a little family once again.

At long last the hour came that Buddy’s catheter and other plugins were removed and he was completely disconnected from everything. He was a free dog now and was ready to go home.

Out in the waiting room I held him in my lap as a vet tech reviewed the four pages of single spaced typed documents that outlined the various treatments he had received.

He’d been administered well over a dozen different medications in varying doses throughout the day and night for three days.

I gulped when I realized he was being discharged into our care while still on 10 different medications!

Puppy dog on the trail by a lake

The vet tech explained each medication, what it was for, how much to give, the frequency, the duration, and whether it went with food or not.

I was dizzy listening and had her repeat several things that mystified me the first time around.

“And make sure he gets lots of rest,” she said. “He needs to be a Couch Potato,” she said firmly.

His total bill came to $12,643.

On a hike in Utah

Mark’s very kind and loving sister who couldn’t afford to do so had secretly called the hospital and paid $1,000 of our bill.

We hadn’t even talked to her or cried with her, but she had been riding the terrifying roller coaster ride with us in spirit throughout the ordeal as Mark’s daughter shared Buddy’s updates on Facebook.

The kindness from everyone was overwhelming, and we pondered it all as we quietly took walks together, read and rested together in and out of the truck camper next to the hospital over the next 24 hours.

At last, we felt confident that Buddy was going to be okay and we went into the hospital one final time to say goodbye.

We were astonished when we went inside to see the whole staff casually chatting with each other. For the first time in three days there were no crisis cases on the operating table or lines of animals and people out in the waiting room.

Every member of the staff took a moment to say goodbye to Buddy and to reiterate to us how surprised and happy they were that he’d survived.

Puppy at Bryce

The only person busy with a patient was Dr. Frost, so we wandered outside to wait until she was free.

Suddenly she came running out of the hospital, arms flung wide for hugs, a huge smile on her face.

“In 31 years of practice, I never thought I would learn anything new,” she said to us. “But I learned a few things from Buddy. His case was the most rewarding case of my career.”

We were speechless. We had all learned a few things!

Puppy dog in the wildflowers

When we first met Dr. Frost at the beginning, she’d told us she’d just finished a segment of Continuing Education on toxicology, “So I’m up to date on all the latest toxins.”

Throughout the ordeal she’d been consulting with toxicology experts that were advising her on strategies and treatments. I had assumed the experts were located downtown, but as we stood outside under the trees she told us she’d been speaking with the nation’s top toxicologists in two distant states!

She bent down to talk to Buddy and he looked up at her intently. “Now, I want you live to be 20, Buddy, and I don’t I want to see you in the ER again!”

She wiped away tears as she hugged him and said goodbye.

Elegant dog

When we got home we felt like we were floating on clouds.

Everything was exactly as we’d left it, but we’d made a huge turn in our lives.

“Now, where was I?” I joked when I finally sat down. Who knows what we had been doing or what had been the pressing issues of the day before all this. Our lives had been transformed.

As we lay in bed in the dark that first night home, we talked about the inner changes we had both decided to make. Neither of us had known that the other had made new plans with new intentions, but as we lay cloaked in darkness, we poured our hearts out to each other.

Puppy in glowing light

At the height of the drama, when I was praying for, commanding and visualizing Buddy’s miraculous recovery, I realized that I knew almost nothing about the Bible…or Jesus, for that matter.

I didn’t know Moses from Abraham or Isaiah, and the closest I’d gotten to the New Testament was, well, maybe, some music group called Peter, Paul and Mary.

However, as Buddy lay comatose in the ICU and I rode those powerful surges of emotion, I realized it was high time for me to find out what lay in the pages of that book.

It was also time for me to accept Jesus, something I’d never been interested in before.

Since those dark days last October, my thirst for knowledge and understanding of the Bible and divine healing has been unstoppable, and I keep coming back for more and more and more.

Buddy on a rock

We knew that Buddy’s sight and hearing had escaped unscathed, but it was our nightly game of hide-and-seek that confirmed his sense of smell was still 100% too.

Every night after dinner I grab a handful of treats, let Buddy sniff them, and then ask him to stay in the kitchen while I hide them all around the house.

Once they’re all hidden I tell him to Come, and he starts sniffing high and low to find each treat.

He absolutely loves this game, and if I forget it’s time to play it, he’ll start sniffing along the baseboards and in the corners as a pantomime to show me that it’s time for our game.

Our first night home we started playing and I was really relieved that he remembered how to Stay and how to Come (as well as to Shake, do Other Paw, go Down and Crawl). Better still, even with the lights off, he found every treat in every room, his little nose twitching excitedly the whole time.

Puppy dog playing

As I mentioned, Buddy was on 10 different medications when he got home, each with its own schedule and dosing, some requiring an empty stomach and some taken only with food.

It took me almost an hour to sort them all out and come up with a schedule that would work for us all. From 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. he got either a drug or a meal every hour for the first week.

The hospital sent us home with two cans of wet dog food that was ideal for hiding pills. Buddy loved that food, and Mark was very good at getting the pills-wrapped-in-food to the back of his throat so they’d go down.

Playing puppy tug

One of the meds was administered by spraying something in his throat that made Buddy sneeze, and the liver support pill was huge and required an empty stomach — no food for an hour before or after.

Mark had to shove that thing way way back behind Buddy’s teeth to get it to go down.

Buddy became adept at making it look like he’d swallowed the pill and then quietly spitting it out.

Soon, Liver Pill Time became a game between Buddy and Mark as the pill invariably wound up in his fur or on the floor.

But all the pills eventually went down and Mark got some belly laughs in the process and I suspect Buddy got some sly chuckles out of it too.

Fast puppy

About 10 days after he came home, we took Buddy to his regular veterinarian as requested by the hospital.

The kindly country doctor walked into the exam room holding a thick stack of doctor-to-doctor documents he’d received from the hospital about Buddy’s case. It looked like a book.

“This is incredible!” he said, waving the papers.

“We witnessed a true miracle from God,” I smiled.

“Yes, you did!”

He checked Buddy’s vitals and everything looked good. Most important, his lungs sounded clear. They hadn’t been clear when he left the hospital, but by now he’d finished the course of antibiotics for pneumonia and his lungs were well on the way back to full health.

Big puppy stretch

The veterinarian told us that his liver recovery was the final hurdle.

His liver had processed not only a lethal dose of poison but a boatload of medications round the clock for 10 days.

He held up the papers from the hospital and showed us that when he was discharged, the key indicator for his liver health was a number that should be under 100. It had been 1,500 at the hospital.

After drawing some blood, he called us the next day to let us know that the number was now down to 350. Phew!

He felt Buddy’s liver would be 100% healthy within a few months.

Taking a portrait shot of a puppy

Four months have now passed since all that drama, and we have cherished every minute we have with Buddy.

He was a well cared for dog before, but now we value his presence in our lives infinitely more.

It took him a while to get his stamina back. Even though he was perky and ready to run and chase right away, he would tire quickly and slink off to take a nap.

The first time we walked one of his favorite 1.5 mile loops, he faded in the last half mile, tongue lolling and head and tail down, so we carried him the rest of the way.

Two weeks later we did the same trail and he leaped and sprinted right to the end.

Dog running down a dirt road in the Utah red rocks

A few weeks after that he was able to trot a more challenging 4 mile hike, and a month later, after finishing that 4 mile hike, he wanted to do a little bit more before going home.

Looking at him now, you’d never guess what he went through.

I used to say thank you every night for Buddy coming into our lives. Now I give additional thanks for our lives being transformed and for us each being given a second chance and a new beginning.

Baby pic of a puppy


We learned some scary things about common rat poisons in all this that might be helpful to you if you own a pet or live with toddlers.

In the old days, rodent control manufacturers used a poison that had an antidote. It was an anticoagulant that made the rodent bleed to death. So, if a dog or cat ate the poison, a simple injection of high dose Vitamin K would thicken their blood and they would recover.

The poison used nowadays, bromethalin, has no antidote. It causes a horrifying death by brain swelling and seizure that occurs anywhere from 4 and 48 hours after ingestion. All the veterinary staff at the hospital and at our local veterinary office agreed that it should never have been allowed to be on the market.

But it’s there on store shelves everywhere.

Tomcat Rat and Mouse Poison

The insidious thing about rat poison is that it is designed to smell delicious and taste truly yummy.

It is bait, after all.

I’d always naively assumed that “poison” is something distasteful with a nasty chemical odor that you would recognize as poisonous and not want to eat. But it sure smelled good to me when I sniffed the piece Buddy had left intact on the patio.

After we got home from the hospital, Buddy went out to the patio and began sniffing around where he’d left the poison bricks. You could almost see him thinking, “Where did my tasty dog treats go?”

The packaging touts that the product is “kid resistant” and says to use it only indoors.

Ironically, we saw identical rat poison boxes in the bushes next to several buildings in the huge medical complex around the animal hospital.

In addition to being aromatic and flavorful, the poison bricks aren’t biodegradable. Once the poison is out there on the ground somewhere, it will be just as lethal 10 years from now as it is today.

I shudder to think how many toddlers, pets and wild animals have died from this stuff.

Even worse, the veterinarian said sometimes angry people put it out deliberately to kill their neighbor’s annoying animals.

Dog playing in the snow in utah


As we chatted with the hospital staff about all the different ways dogs can be poisoned, they told us one shocking story after another of unexpected poisonings they have treated.

They’ve seen dogs die of poisoning from grapes, from chocolate, from the fake sweetener Xylitol (some people cook with it and then share the dessert with their pup) and from lapping up antifreeze that dripped on the ground (it tastes sweet).

The heartbreak these hardworking doctors and nurses have seen in their careers is mind-boggling. I don’t know how they keep going, but they said a case like Buddy’s will keep them floating on Cloud 9 for a long time.

As for unusual pet poisons, there are plenty of lists available of things that are poisonous to our pets that are not poisonous to us, and some things, like those above, are very surprising.

Best buds on recliners in the fifth wheel


In my mind, this whole event unfolded in a very unusual way, as if the stage were being set deliberately.

  • I am still astonished that I saw the uneaten brick on Buddy’s mat. I have no idea why I went out on the patio at that moment. I wouldn’t have normally been out there at that time of day and I had no reason that I can remember for going out there just then. If I hadn’t realized that Buddy had eaten the poison when I did, we never would have made it to the hospital in time.
  • Equally surprising is that the poison had been placed 20 yards away on the other side of the house, yet for some reason, Buddy decided to carry three bricks around to the back patio rather than eating them where he found them. After moving them, he ate one in its entirety, ate a quarter of another and left the third one fully intact. He couldn’t have carried all three of them in his mouth at once, however. He must have gone back for each one individually which is highly unusual behavior and shows just how enticing he found them to be.
  • If we had driven all the way home instead of taking a 15 minute break at the park near the hospital where we were able to observe his increasingly weird behavior up close, we wouldn’t have noticed the beginning of his seizures until we got home and, when every second counted, we would have had a full hour’s drive to get back to the hospital.
  • By calling our local veterinarian first rather than doing as the Tomcat poison center had recommended and taking him straight to the animal hospital, and by having a very knowledgeable person answer the phone there, we were given important instructions for how to induce vomiting as well as getting another round of urgent advice to go to the animal hospital ASAP so he would be in the care of the right people with all the necessary equipment.
  • I had no idea that spraying hydrogen peroxide in the mouth would induce vomiting. How fortunate that we had some on hand! Even though only some phlegm came up, it was better than nothing, and the green tinge to it told us he’d definitely ingested the missing green poison block, something we weren’t 100% sure of until we saw the phlegm.
  • If we hadn’t recently bought a truck camper, we couldn’t have stayed right around the corner from the hospital door for easy midnight visits for three nights. Sure, there are motels in the area, but it was so convenient to be able to walk in at any time of day or night without driving anywhere. The fifth wheel might have worked, but we would have had to park in a distant parking lot where it would fit, and we might not have gotten permission to do so.
  • Likewise, what a blessing it was that the hospital staff allowed us to stay in the parking lot and also allowed us into the emergency room to see and encourage Buddy (and even feed him our chicken soup) so many times.
  • I bake a chicken about once a week and make broth from the bones. Buddy gets most of it throughout the week with chicken meat scraps thrown in. Ironically, I had just made a fresh batch the night before all this happened. The hospital has top quality commercial pet foods, of course, and they give recovering animals real meats too, but how wonderful it was to be able to feed him something we knew he loved to eat, that was nutritious, and that was a reminder of our simple home life. It was as therapeutic for us to feed him as it was for him to eat.
  • We pay off our credit card each month and the payment had just cleared the day we went to the hospital. What good fortune that we could put such an enormous bill on the card in one fell swoop without exceeding our credit limit and scrambling for another solution. Dr. Frost told us that nine out of ten pet owners would have put their pet down — an expensive procedure in itself — because they couldn’t justify or afford the cost given a zero percent chance of recovery.

In many ways, as tragic as this event could have been, the way it unfolded included many extraoridinary blessings that nudged us towards a most beautiful outcome.

A friend of mine suggested these not-so-coincidental coincidences were the “synchronicity of divine intervention” and I added that they constituted “guided movement towards a more fulfilling end.” Whatever name we give it, there’s no doubt in my mind that we were the recipients of divine intervention.

If you have a loved one who is in need of healing, wether a pet or a person, I hope that you carry our miracle with you and feel encouraged to pray for them, not by begging or pleading or bargaining with God, but by commanding it is done, visualizing the recovery with conviction and believing in your soul that it is being accomplished as a demonstration of a deeper truth.

Puppy dog on a dirt road at dawn

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80 thoughts on “Buddy – A Journey in Sprit

  1. Emily, Mark and Buddy . . . My heart aches for the suffering the three of you endured and rejoices at the miraculous outcome you celebrated together. Buddy has always held a special place in my heart; I read your post through tears, afraid that it was a memorial to one of God’s most precious creatures. Thank you for sharing such a difficult and personal story. By doing so, you may save the life of a child or a pet. Even in his darkest days, Buddy continued to be the ambassador of joy and kindness he had been prior to his medical emergency. I have no doubt that he will flourish in that role in the days ahead. Wishing God’s warmest blessings for all three of you. May you share your love and your lives together for many, many more years.

    • Thank you for traveling this road with us in spirit, Mary. Even though the events are chronologically behind us, they live in us still and it means the world to share them with you. I started writing this story two months ago…not an easy one to tell! Thank you for sharing our love of Buddy too. He is very special, and although he may not have wings and a halo, we have always considered him and angel and a gift from God.

  2. That was the saddest and happiest story! I cried through the whole thing. I’m so happy for you and your dog. We do love our dogs, don’t we.

    • When Buddy first came into our lives, Peggy, a friend told me, “‘Dog’ is ‘God’ spelled backwards.” I’d never thought of that before but I have held that idea in my heart during these four very precious years with Buddy and it is absolutely true. Thank you for being here with us.

  3. Oh my goodness I was crying reading this & praying that he was ok! So glad you shared this information about this poison for other pet owners like us! We use the 5gal bucket with RV antifreeze & a ramp with a makeshift wheel that has peanut butter on it! Works great you can see how to make them on YouTube! And the RV antifreeze is nontoxic the mice drown. Anyway so glad you’re happy family is back together again!

    • Thank you for the tip, Patti, we’ll check it out. Peppermint is another excellent deterrent — at the bottom of the post I link to a mouse catching expert’s YouTube channel where he videos mice at various traps. When they smell the peppermint they all turn around and leave! Thank you for crying with us too. We’ve both shed tears this morning as we’ve felt all this love coming from our readers.

  4. I was so happy to see your post. Then I read on with eyes full of tears. Thank God for Buddy’s remarkable healing. Amen!
    Sassy, Sweetie, and our new family member Cayenne wish Buddy all the best. Cayenne joined our family shortly after Labor Day 2020, when her dad passed unexpectedly. She is 15 and bounces around teasing the youngsters and acting like she is a puppy. We have friends that own a kennel and when we have to travel without the pups, they will stay at the friend’s place. They are affectionately known by all at the kennel as “The Golden Girls”.
    Rhonda an I have both retired and life has dealt us some great cards. We sold our small farm and we are living full time at our lake property. Still many things changing for us but we are loving the ride!

    Great to hear from you guys! Prayers of thanksgiving for Buddy.

    Jeff, Rhonda, Sassy, Sweetie and Cayenne Jones

    • It is wonderful to hear from you, Jeff. Cayenne sounds like a wonderful pup and a true inspiration for all of us to nurture our inner puppy as we get older! Living by a lake must be beautiful — what a great change of pace for you and your Golden Girls. We hung the photo you like of the two saguaro cacti dancing by the light of the full moon on our wall recently and I think of you when I look at it. Hugs to all and keep loving life!

  5. Emily, I just read your heart wrenching blog about Buddy’s near fatality from bromethalin toxicity. As I read your emotional account of these events with tears filling my eyes, I was certain that it would end badly. I am so happy you will have Buddy in your family for a longer period of time-and that you will cherish the miracle of his presence as a newly reborn spirit. For someone “who has never been a dog person”, you have truly made the conversion.
    See also, separate message to your Gmail.

    • I didn’t used to be a Dog Person, Stewart, but I’ve grown quite a bit and am very definitely a Dog Person of the First Degree now! Buddy is the light of our lives, and he makes us smile every day. Even just now, the sun was lighting up some mountains nearby and I wanted to get a photo, and he knows that when either of us grabs a camera it means there’s something exciting going on outside. So down the hall he came, prancing the whole way, excited to see whatever it was I wanted to photograph! So dear!! Thank you for the email too…as a retired veterinarian I’m sure you have been through this horrifying story hundreds of times, much too often with a tragic ending. Thank you for the many lives you were able to save during your career. I am going to enjoy your blog link you sent as well as the testimonial to your beloved Loca.

  6. Emily – Your story really touched me. I’m so happy Buddy is well. I have to say, when you brought up getting to know God and accepting Jesus into your life – the hair stood up on my arms! I believe God works in mysterious ways. He used Buddy’s healing to bring His healing to you and Mark. I’ll be praying for your journey with God. I will suggest an app that I use every morning. It’s called “Through The Word”. It takes you through the Bible on your own timeframe with great explanation of what your reading/listening. Anyway – your writing is a gift. Thanks for sharing your personal story! PS. I hope the mice problem goes away!!!

    • Like you, I’ve gotten goose bumps many times this morning, Mike, as readers have responded to Buddy’s story. From what little I know about these things, I believe it is the presence of the Holy Spirit. I will definitely check out the app you suggest — thank you! Another fabulous way I have been becoming familiar with the Bible is by listening to lectures by biblical scholar Tim Mackie. They have been assembled and posted on YouTube by a friend or associate of his here. I do believe that God draws people close to Him through miracle healings. Our mouse problem has improved since the arrival of an orange feral cat. I hope he enjoys our banquet table and sticks around for many tasty meals!!

      • Love that cat! I will check out Tim Mackie. Also – this is a good one too. YouVersion,
        You can study God’s Word, read and watch daily devotionals. Always great to hear from you!

        • Thank you again! I’ll check it out. I’ve been listening to the Tim Mackie lectures in reverse order of how they were posted, so it begins with an overview of the Bible and then more or less goes from start to finish. He also founded the Bible Project which has many short videos for easy digestibility and has its own website and YT channel, but I prefer his lectures. That cat is wonderful and all the neighbors have noticed a huge reduction in rodent droppings. Yay!

  7. Emily, what a harrowing post to read, but what a wonderful outcome! Im sure you will never take life for granted again after your experience! It truly is miraculous that Buddy made a full recovery, and I can imagine how positively this affected the veterinary staff, knowing how many animals they can’t save, for various reasons, . Did you know that the veterinarian suicide rate is the highest suicide rate of all professions?! It wasn’t just Buddy’s life that was saved, back in October, I’m sure his recovery has had a positive ripple effect that you’ll never know about, across many people..
    You are so tight in saying that many pet owners are just not in a position to afford the cost of life saving treatment for their beloved pets, which has to be brutal. We have been lucky that our many pets have lived to ripe old ages, though that has never made it easier to cope with their crossing the Rainbow Bridge. My wish for you is that you will have many, many more happy years with your incredible little guy.

    • The crazy thing, Sally, is that you never think you are taking anything for granted until you discover that you have been! I think Buddy has had an uplifting effect on a lot of people throughout his life. We are always happily surprised when just about everyone who sees him suddenly starts to smile. They don’t see us, but they see him and they smile and want to talk to him. The entire veterinary staff was emotionally involved in his recovery almost from the start. I’m sure they are trained to remain detached to spare their own hearts, but that was impossible with Buddy’s case. We are all fortunate that he on this side of the Rainbow Bridge with us now and we hope he stays on this side for many years to come.

  8. What an emotional roller coaster ride you’ve been on! And I took the same ride while reading this post – although not as personally gut wrenching as it was for you, I’m sure. I almost didn’t read the story at all because I was afraid that it wouldn’t be a happy ending. But I’m so glad I did! Knowing that Buddy is doing well and getting stronger everyday is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your story and the info on that terrible poison. May you enjoy many more loving years together!

    • I’m so glad you read this post, Kimberly. Thank you! I think if it had had a sad ending I would have titled it differently as a warning for readers, but since it had a happy ending I thought a little suspense would be okay. Thankfully, we are off the roller coaster now and we are cozily wrapped up in the love that you and everyone are sharing with us this sunny morning.

  9. Oh my gosh!!!! I, as with other readers, read every word and was bawling throughout. Having recently lost, (well recently to us, as it was in 2019) our precious Annie, (who was an Australian Shepherd) and who went travelling with us all over the us) to heart failure….I found myself reading every word and PRAYING that it was going to end well. What an adorable dog!!!! So thankful you are able to have him in your life for many more years. And, like you, I would have paid anything to keep our Annie with us for even a few more months….but, she was 15 1/2….and it wasn’t to be. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Praise God!!!!

    • Oh wow, Char. Thank you for your tears. I got goose bumps when you said you were praying the story would have a happy ending. Thank you for taking this journey with us and for reliving your own loss of dear Annie through Buddy’s tale. We know the day will come when we have to say goodbye to Buddy until we find each other on the other side, and that makes us even more grateful that we got a wake-up call to appreciate every minute we have with him while he was still young. Annie must have been a wonderful travel companion and you must have beautiful memories of your time together, and I’m sure she felt your tears this morning.

  10. I’ve been reading your blog for years and was crying as I read this one. You witnessed a true miracle and I’m so happy for your family!

  11. Well as I look at our family member laying on the floor next to me I wiped away the tears of both happy and sad. To think that you almost lost your wonderful companion brought those tears to my eyes. I remember when you first got him and watched as he fit in to your life style in the 5th wheel. God does answer Prayers! So happy for you and Mark and of course Buddy.

    • I am so happy that you have your special family member on the floor by your side, Bob. So often we let the urgent things of the day keep us from recognizing those things that are truly important, and anything that brings tears to our eyes is truly important. Buddy is the light of our lives and has been since he first showed up — as you know. I never imagined that 25 lbs of fur and sweetness could wriggle his way so deeply into our hearts. We have been blessed beyond belief to continue to have Buddy with us, and as we head out for a hike in the woods in a few minutes, he is bouncing around with glee. What a beautiful little personality! Thank you for being with us in spirit all these years.

  12. Hi guys!
    Wow, reading your story of the events that brought Buddy to the ER, kept me on the edge of my seat! Thank heavens he is feeling better and we are sending our best wishes for his (and your) continued good health.

    It’s truly the hardest thing to have to go through these times with our beloved fur family. My first Golden Retriever Logan was around 8 when he found rabbit poison, which I didn’t know about until later, and I had to have him put down after spending the night outside with him in freezing temps…he would not stay in because he kept vomiting and it was demoralizing for him to do it inside…. So he begged to go out …. I was young and lived in a very small town where the vet closed after 4. I also couldn’t have paid the costs… so sadly I had to have him euthanized… but the vet did kindly come to us as the dog wasn’t able to walk and I couldn’t lift him. He was a 100 lb (but fit!) German Shepard sized Golden.
    It was a heartbreaking but meaningful night. The dog couldn’t breathe if he laid down, so he leaned against me the whole night as we both sat in a sleeping bag outside. It was the toughest night of my life. It was 30 years ago and I still have tears flowing freely at the memory.

    Thankfully we have two Goldens now. We got a female after getting back from our pacific crossing and have since had one litter of puppies. We kept a boy named Tucker and my heart has never been fuller! He is the love of my life. I am connected to this little guy more so than any other… and treasure him the way you do with Buddy.

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge you have both gained through this heart wrenching experience. It will no doubt save other people and their pets.

    Big hugs, from Gabriola Island, BC
    Hopefully we’ll cross paths again!

    Rose and Dave (Tua & Tucker)

    • Hi Rose & Dave — Gosh, my heart breaks for you with your beloved Golden, Logan. What a story. I’m not surprised the tears flow freely thinking about that night even now all these years later. That was an epic night that surely rivals anything the Pacific dished up when you crossed! And what a polite and considerate boy Logan was that he didn’t want to get sick inside the house. Buddy is like that too…so meticulous and fastidious.

      You are fortunate to have Tucker to fill your heart now. What a blessing for you both. Thank you for appreciating our very long story and big hugs to all three of you!

  13. OK, I couldn’t read this all at one time because of the tears in my eyes. It was too blurry. I had to keep coming back to it because I absolutely couldn’t stop reading until I found out what the outcome was for Buddy. When I could read it I had to initially just go on past the pics because I couldn’t take the time to look at them – I had to know!! Even though you haven’t blogged recently Buddy is ingrained in all of our hearts because of the stories of him and y’all in the beginning. I often go back and read some of your old blogs just so I can see pics of Buddy. I recently told Steve that if we get another dog I would like to have one like Buddy. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with a Buddy of our own some day.

    As a couple who has poisoned our beloved dog accidentally in the past, I know exactly the pain and guilty feelings that were being felt. Our little Jack Russell, Mac, had allergies where he would scratch nonstop if he didn’t have an antihistamine. Our vet had told us we could give him Benadryl. What he failed to tell us was that we couldn’t give him just any antihistamine – Like Tylenol Severe Allergy! So, at 1 am when Mac was scratching non stop I went to our medicine cabinet and searched for something to give him. I read that Tylenol Severe Allergy had an antihistamine and said Bingo and gave him one. He eventually settled down and we all slept the rest of the night. The next morning I left for a hair appointment and Mac started scratching again so Steve gave him another Tylenol Severe Allergy. By the time I came home from my hair cut Mac had started whining but was otherwise alert and walking around normally. He would come up to us but wouldn’t let us touch him. If was as if he was trying to tell us something. We took him for a ride, which he normally loved to do. He was happy to jump in the car but then whined the whole time. We had different things going on in the house but Mac kept acting strange. Finally I called our Vet’s office. It was a Saturday afternoon by now and they were closed but their recording listed a number for poison control. Since the only thing we had done different was give Mac the Tylenol I decided to ask if maybe that was it. To start with I didn’t have to pay but then the tech said I would need to speak to an actual Vet there and that would cost $39, which seemed a little high at the time (this was probably 2002) but I was willing to pay it. She said that they would give me a case # that I could take to an emergency vet hospital if it came to that and they could help them determine the course of treatment. I got on the phone with the vet and told her what we gave him and she said “You need to get him to an emergency vet immediately”. I asked her if he was in pain with the whining and she said he was likely very confused. I took him to the ER immediately. Luckily we had one just 20 minutes from our house. Steve had to stay behind because a plumber was repairing a burst outside pipe. And just like you said it was just like a TV show. I checked in and told them what happened and about the poison control center and they came and whisked him away, immediately putting an IV in his little arm. A doctor came out and asked me for that case # for the Poison Control center. Right away that $39 was a great investment. They were able to call that #, give them Mac’s case # and got the info about the course of treatment. That part didn’t cost me anything more. A little while later I was taken to a private room where I was presented with a potential bill of $768 (again – a huge amount in 2002. They asked – “Are you willing to sign this and give us a charge card for this amount?” Like you I didn’t hesitate. I gave them my charge card and told them. “Of course I will because he didn’t do anything wrong, we did”. I called Steve after giving them my charge card. He was like “What??!!” He was in sticker shock but he too agreed that it was the right thing to do. The course of treatment for Mac included the charcoal drip, drops in his eyes every hour because the ingredients in the Tylenol could dry up his eye sockets, meds for his liver and other things that I can’t remember. They had to keep him for 3 nights. We wanted so bad to go by and see him every day but they suggested we wait because he would be really disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to go with us. That part was excruciating for all of us. (Our son was just 12 years old at the time). We called every day and checked on him and they told us he was doing good. He ended up being able to come home a day earlier than was originally planned but when we picked him up we had to pay an additional $200. It was well worth it, our boy was gonna be ok! He was SOOOOOOO happy to see us and it just so happened it was the night of Parent-Teacher conferences and we had to leave him after just a little time with him. But we called our neighbors, who loved him as much as we did, and they kept him until we rushed home from the school. It was such a happy night having him home again. Mac was about 2 when this happened and we always knew he might have liver issues and he had the same Vet his entire life so he always did tests on his liver and he also made sure any meds he gave him did not damage the liver further. He ended up having to take Prednisone and then another med called Termeril P for his allergies. We eventually had to take him to a Veterinary Dermatologist after trying several bouts of the special food route. Turned out he was allergic to house dust mites. No matter how hard you try you cannot get rid of house dust mites, so he had to take allergy meds the rest of his life. But he lived a long life of 16 years so I’m hoping Buddy will too. We still miss Mac. Just like Buddy, he turned out to be the BEST travel companion and just overall “buddy” we could have ever hoped for.

    I can’t tell you how much your story touched both Steve and I as we read it. The ending is the best. If we had known we would have certainly prayed along with everyone else. Now we’ll just pray that Buddy is able to continue to live the best life for a long, long time!

    • Wow, what a tale, Janet. That is incredible — and with a happy ending too. Like you, I read your story nonstop just waiting for the outcome. What a relief that little Mac was okay and that he lived to be 16 too. Our sweet loved ones mean so much to us, and there is nothing like the guilt of accidentally doing them harm. My friend who prayed intensively for Buddy said the word “Innocent” was foremost in her mind as she prayed for him.

      I hope you do find another dog like Mac and like Buddy. Like all the best things in life, though, I think they have to find us, in their own way. I’m sure that for the rest of Mac’s life you gave him extra special care and attention after almost losing him. There’s a bond after something like this that is very strong. We noticed that Buddy is much closer to us just as we are closer to him…he wants more cuddles, protects the house with more care and pays closer attention when we ask him to Come and to Stay (except when there’s rabbits involved, of course). Hugs to you and Steve and thank you very much for sharing your story.

  14. I am somewhat speechless….we had to put our 13 1/2 year old Golden down last fall. It was hard but she had a great life, fortunately we had a Griffon pup to be with us after. We are so thankful that your story had a happy ending.

    • That’s a dreaded event, Dick, and I’m sorry you went through it. Mark had to put down his beloved Afghan Hound way back when, and he was not keen on falling in love with another dog simply because of that. It was agony. At least your Golden had a long life and a good one and your Griffon pup could take her place. Give him extra treats for Buddy today!

  15. I read with tears and trepidation, thinking I was going to be commiserating rather than rejoicing. In 2017 we let our beloved Aussie…a joyful and wonderful dog…off her lead to play in a friends park like property. We had to be careful with her because she was a herder and a bit reckless. She was happily playing in our friends water features, joyful as always. Suddenly she spotted a squirrel and chased it directly into the path of a very random car. She was gone almost immediately. No time to pray. No time for miracles. I ended up in the hospital with broken heart syndrome. Four months later I was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment. It would have been difficult to keep Taz with us as we lived in our Casita and had to spend time two days a week in Phoenix and then move in with family for a while. Since then I have had a reoccurrence and as much as I miss Taz 4-1/2 years later I believe her death had led me to finally be diagnosed and treated and to know her life with us would have never been the same.
    Your story reminds me to pray for and believe in my healing, to expect healing. It is hard in the face of a dire prognosis…but you believed in the face of Buddy’s dire prognosis.
    I’m so happy for you, for your beautiful revelations, and for the life of Buddy. Thank you for sharing.

    • Oh, how agonizing, Martha! I can’t imagine the shock and sadness you felt at that moment with no hope for a different outcome to hang onto. One minute your beloved pup is happy and bouncing around and curious and free and the next minute she’s gone forever. I think any loving owner would have broken heart syndrome after that. But like you say, your own journey was unfolding and her departure helped you travel down your path.

      In the little reference section above the comments here I list some of the books and videos that have opened my eyes. The book Divine Healing Made Simple has helped me the most — I’ve read it twice. The author has a website and social media channels that are very helpful too. He recently posted a guided prayer specifically for cancer here. He is a former medic (and former atheist) who was called by God in a dream to pray for people in his ambulance as he transported them. After failing 500 times he studied Jesus’ many healings in depth and soon had an 80% success rate. Very interesting and inspiring stuff. I wish you well on your healing journey and thank you for sharing your story.

  16. OMG! What a tear jerking story! What an outcome! Our two closest friends and neighbors all lost their dogs last year (Aug 23, 24, Nov 14). They somehow just seem to come in three’s. So happy that Buddy is on his way to a full recovery. And that you found Jesus! Yes, He is a miracle working savior. I have lost two beloved pet beagles in my lifetime and it isn’t easy, but I truly believe I’ll be united with them again in heaven one day along with my born again family who’s gone on before me. God bless you both for a very inspiring story!

    • Gosh, so many things come in threes, Darin, but at least you’re done for a while with friends losing their beloved dogs! The hardest part about all pets is that the sheer joy they bring gets cut short way too soon because we usually outlive them, but I do believe we’ll be reunited and the timing of our paths crossing in this life fits into a larger overall plan.

      My very special friend who bred and raised parrots lay deathly ill in her bed next to her husband — everyone expected her to die shortly. Suddenly she saw all the birds she had lost appearing on the walls and ceiling of her room. Her husband knew the birds but couldn’t see them. She would point to one part of the ceiling and say, “Can’t you see him right there?” and her husband would say, “No!” Most people would write off her experience as hallucinations because she was very sick, but she and her husband were conversing normally and the birds were all there — and they were only the ones that had died. I think there was a lot more going on than mere hallucinations…her birds were there for her on a very fundamental level.

      Thank you for finding inspiration in our story and God bless you too.

  17. Thank you for sharing your story – I’m sure it was very difficult to relive it in your memory. I went through 4 kleenex – thinking it would end differently. But God works in mysterious ways to guide us to Him. I love your little Buddy and never even met him! I wish you could get your story published in a popular magazine (Reader’s Digest??) – it was very emotional and draws attention to things our furry little babies shouldn’t eat – grapes? I need to look up an entire list – we always hear to not give chocolate. Sharing your experience will surely help others, you just will never know about it. Miracles – oh what a happy, glorious day!! I believe…..

    • The hardest part of telling this story was figuring out how to include all the details I felt were important without losing our readers to boredom as well as explaining the powerful effect the experience had on both of us without losing the interest of those folks who aren’t believers. But everyone has a loved one of some kind in their life or in their past, whether or not it’s a dog, and the agonizing pain of losing our most beloved friends and family is a universal heartache that is shared by everyone around the world.

      I wrote a 100 word version of this story for the Reader’s Digest mini miracles series but would love to see them publish the whole story. I wanted to test it here first to see what people thought of it…whether we were laughed out of town for being so mushy or if the story really struck a chord with caring people who read it, as it seems to have done. Thank you for seeing the glory Buddy’s tale!

  18. I read with the dread that this would end badly. I was surprised at the magnitude and intensity of the effects of the poison. I had a dog that ate rat poison 20 years ago, and as you said, a massive dose of K saved her. I had Tomcat blocks under a cabinet and in the back of the stove as I read this. Of course, I dropped everything and got rid of them asap. So first, thank you so much for that. I may have averted a tragedy and I am so grateful for that. Three years ago I had a Doberman and a Newfound Retriever mix. I loved Lucky, the NR, as I had rescued him and had him a couple of years and he was the sweetest dog ever. But Jake the Dobie was my support through some really bad years. I had an attachment to him similar to your bond with Buddy. He got a horrible neurological disorder similar to ALS in humans and I faced some of the same decisions you did. I am a 71-year-old divorced woman, disabled, with no children, and on SS and my income does support a lot of credit. Caring for the two huge dogs was difficult, but I would have done anything for Jake and was preparing to sell my house and use my equity for his hospital bills. But the disease was terminal and the result was going to be that he was going to suffocate, either in front of me, or I would come him and find him gone. The disease had affected every organ and muscle. Many years ago, I vowed that I would release a dog from a difficult and painful life on Earth when it came to the point they could get up. For several weeks I had used a sling, put my mattress on the floor, and helped him get on and off of it, but one day he simply could not get up. I had no choice but to let him go. He was born on Valentine’s Day and by some odd coincidence, that was also Valentine’s Day, apropos maybe, as it was an act of love. Lucky died a few weeks later. They left me 3 years ago and were both 16. I was clinically depressed for more than a year and could come up with no reason for living. I said I would never have another dog or go through that again. An acquaintance lives in the county near the river, and dogs are often dumped off there. He fosters them, feeds them, and spays and neuters them, but can’t give them all the love and attention they need. There was the cutest little dog he had pulled from the river. He kept saying I should take him and I kept saying “no.” But the adorable, sad, and lonely little guy lived outside and had no more than a dog house. Every time I went by, he would wag that tail furiously and give me the look that broke my heart. I had to avert my eyes when I passed him. Then we had a brutal winter and it was so cold my pipes froze for 11 days. Way below zero for several days. All I could think about was that little guy. I drove to the river, knocked on the door, and said was taking the dog and that I would call him when I get home. He jumped in the car and shook all the way home. He weighed17 pounds. I have never had a better-behaved dog. It was like he was born trained. Your pictures of Buddy and his antics remind me so much of him. He is a Jake Russel Terrier. This little guy weighs 30 lbs. now. When he goes outside in the cold, he rushes back in and runs to dive under his blankie. I swear he knows he will never be cold again. He goes in the car, sleeps with me and he has only been away from me for a few hours on two occasions. Otherwise, he is at my side 24/7. He saved me, literally, and as I read your story, I know as clear as a bell God sent him to heal me. He makes me laugh every day. I now want to live to a ripe old age. His name? Buddy!

    • WOW!! What a story, Carole!! That is the most heartwarming and inspiring story. Thank you very much for sharing it here. I totally understand everything you went through, from the grief and clinical depression to the sheer joy of God’s gift of Buddy to you. That is exactly how we feel, and even though our Buddy didn’t have nearly as difficult a situation as yours, the devotion — both ways — is palpable.

      One thing that seems to have changed in our Buddy since his recovery is that he is much more eager to be with us all the time now. He doesn’t want to be in a different room from us and he wants to interact with us as much as possible. He was a little bit more independent in spirit before, not in a cold way but just in that same “taking things for granted” way that we had developed ourselves. But now I think he knows how close he came to dying and he is profoundly grateful to still be with us.

      Thank you again for your incredible story. I am so glad your Buddy makes you laugh every day and that you want to live to a ripe old age. You couldn’t ask for anything more in life!

  19. thank god Buddy lived. thank the doctors and the love for animals they have and the love between you and your dog. It is everything. It is of God. Advice from a Catholic…forget the Bible…the words out of Christ’s own mouth are all that matter…love thy neighbor as thyself; as you sow, so shall you reap; what Jesus Christ had to say, says it all. Keeps you from going down any rabbit holes and on the right track. Love you guys..so happy Buddy is alive and your all together.

    • We were blessed and continue to be blessed and are forever grateful for it. The Bible is a fascinating book and I have been loving learning all I can about it and from it. Definitely the things Jesus Christ had to say are the words to live by.

  20. Mark and Emily,
    David and Sherry here (from Orderville Canyon camp near Jacob’s Lake).
    When I first got your email it put me in a good mood as we were just thinking about the three of you guys a couple of days ago. When I could read the full subject line I began feeling uneasy and feared the worst. It cheers our hearts that Buddy, and the two of you, are now doing okay. Praise the Lord indeed and congratulations on your new life.
    We hope to see you guys sometime in the woods,
    D & S

    • We were thinking of the two of you the other day too — what a great non-coincidental coincidence! Thank you for reading the whole post to get to the happy ending. We look forward to catching up with you in the woods someday. Our camping was sparse last summer and nil the summer before, so we are way overdue to get back out there in the forest!

  21. Dear Emily,
    To say this story was touching on so many levels is an understatement! I am not a “dog person” but ever since you introduced Buddy to us, he found a soft part in my heart. He is so beautiful and I see his love for exploring in his eyes in the gorgeous photographs that y’all capture! What a beautiful testimony you have of God’s healing power and saving grace. I’m so happy for you both to have your beloved Buddy back, healthy and strong. Your enthusiasm for the Bible and Jesus is inspiring. May you continue to grow in the Lord and enjoy life with Buddy to the fullest! God bless your precious family!

    • I am so delighted to know that Buddy has found a place in your heart and has opened your eyes to the heartwarming world of dogs. I had no idea how special a dog could be and never understood dog people before Buddy arrive, and I feel so fortunate that our little trail scout has led me into that unique world! Of course, he also led us into a very personal experience with God’s transformative healing power and saving grace. Who would imagine a little pound puppy could do that. Thank you for being on this journey with us!

  22. Your story is “traveling”. It’s now being read by a pastor of a local church who, we trust, will share it with his parishioners.who, in turn, will share it with those still on the fence about where miracles come from. God works in so many glorious ways.

    • Wow!! Ed, I’m speechless. Thank you for sharing our “traveling” story with the pastor, and thank you to the pastor for sharing it with his parishioners. I hope they all find inspiration in Buddy’s tale and that his story touches their hearts gives hope to those who need healing.

  23. Congratulations on the twin gifts of renewal of Spiritual and physical life, Buddy, Emily and Mark!!! Your inspirational story is a timely reminder of what matters and what works. Over a decade ago, I nearly lost my precious Cocker Spaniel after she ingested part of a brick of the anticoagulant type, which I’d received free from the local health department after phoning them for advice on a rat problem. We lived near a large port in a tropical environment at the time. She survived with Divine Intervention, Mom picking up the hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal and running it over and staying to help us, and our family vet remaining on the line until she was safe. That day, and plenty of other equally scary ones, reinforce my faith and remain sharp in my memory. The old adage “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” really is true, physically and spiritually. Bright blessings, all! <3 🙂

    • Your story is so much the same as ours, Belinda, with the terrible overarching outline but the smaller details as you went along that enabled a happy ending. How blessed you are that your mom and your family vet were able and willing to help and that the poison was the anticoagulant kind. I’m shaking my head in disbelief, though, that the Health Department offered it as a solution to the rat problem without giving you a heads up about pets and toddlers. I think you’re right that the bigger the challenge the more we can grow and learn from it, and we are definitely here to learn all we can. Thank you for telling your story and for finding inspiration in ours!

  24. This was a roller coaster ride for me this morning! I have been in a puddle ever since starting it. God definitely works in mysterious ways for those that love Him. He captured your hearts. Thank you for the many links and finally getting around to putting this to “pen & paper”.

    • Thank YOU, Annie, for riding the roller coaster ride with us this morning, even though it created a puddle of tears around you. There’s no doubt that God has many creative ways to capture our hearts and divine healing has to be foremost among them. Even though it took me a long time to complete the telling of this story, I feel like I told it as best I could. Just finding and placing the photos into the story took about 20 hours, but I smiled the whole time because we love our boy so.

  25. Almost couldn’t read this post, fearing Buddy was gone, but you drew me in. Even though the story was heart wrenching, I’m very glad I finished it. So happy to know he’s still with you! His absence would have left a very big hole in your life.

    I wonder if the neighborhood would benefit from supporting a feral cat colony to help reduce the rats & mice.

    Good luck!

    • Since you met Buddy the first week we had him, Tara, I’m sure you felt particularly close to him as you read the story. Thanks for hanging in there with it so you could see the good ending.

      I love your idea of the neighborhood supporting a feral cat colony. They’d have to be pretty savvy cats, though, because there are gangs of coyotes everywhere. The one feral cat that has been working the neighborhood beat for the last two months has been holding his own pretty well against the gangs, and he’s not a skinny guy at all so he’s feasting pretty well on those rats!

  26. Wow, your story was intense and very profound and i cried thoughout reading it. I’m so glad that you were able to spend the money and that Buddy survived. Glad that you include the money part of your article because it is a factor and becoming an even more of one both in Veterinary and human medicine. I was a Vet tech long ago so was well aware of Rat poisoning, but i didn’t know about this new kind, so will be doubly aware of it. I too almost lost a dog to rat poisoning put fortunately it was the old kind, like you i caught soon enough and got her to the Vets in time to give her a couple Vit K shots she is still alive and doing well. O
    On a note of poisons Ivermictin which is a horse wormer but people are using it for Covid is deadly to Collie dogs including dogs like Buddy. I had a Border Collie that scoped up some extra paste after worming my horses and he ended up at the Vets with some of the same symptoms that Buddy had. He didn’t have as intense experience as Buddy and he did live well into old age after that. Just another poison to look out for. It was nice to see your faith and positive energy working in Buddy’s favor. May Buddy have a long and adventurist life with you both…

    • I think I caused a lot of tears today, but Mark and I have had our hankies out too as we’ve read the many stories that people have shared about beloved pets in their lives. You were so fortunate that your dog ate the old poison that can be treated with vitamin K. This new stuff is really deadly. There was a lot of debate between the veterinarian and her toxicology experts at first about how lethal a brick and a quarter would be to a 25 lb. dog. At first they assured her that it would take 2 bricks to poison a dog of that size, but the poison control at Tomcat said 1.25 bricks was a lethal dose. Apparently the people at Tomcat know their product since the smaller dose caused seizures, but for a while there was a lot of discussion about whether Buddy would be in danger at all…until the seizures began.

      Thank you for the info about Ivermectin and collies. I had no idea. He’s had worms (he ate part of one of those darn rats!) but he was given something else. And thank you for the good wishes!


  28. So beautifully written!!! Early on in the story I thought it was just about your experience with the rodents then suddenly BAM, Buddy! As you describe the initial exam and overwhelming condition Buddy was in, tears streamed down my face!!! I’m a professed dog-lover with four of my own – a number down from the original six we had two years ago.

    I’m so grateful Buddy is now thriving alongside the both of you! What a roller coaster ride!!

    I was sn RVT, a Registered Veterinary Technician, so I understood every step of the way and the damage rodenticides can cause!! I also subscribe to your way of thinking! Grateful for everything in our lives and the “knowing” of Buddy’s recovery.

    Things do happen for a reason. As you mentioned we may not learn why for a very long time or at all but to believe is to live in love.

    Thank you for this journey!!

    • Thank you for being a part of this journey, Lauri! It is great to hear from a registered veterinary technician who has “been there and done that.” Another vet tech and a veterinarian have also weighed in today, and hearing your voices of experience is really helpful.

      I’m glad we think alike — the wonderful thing about gratefulness is that once you start to list all the things you have to be grateful for, the negative things in life seem much less monumental. And hunting for that silver lining in a very black cloud is a wonderful way to refocus your thinking even if your search doesn’t reveal anything at first.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing your heart-touching story. One of my favourite scriptures that gives me hope during difficult times, and good times, is Psalm 37:4. God loves us, and his beautiful precious creations that are important parts of our families. It is my sincere hope and desire to spend now, and in the future, eternity with my fur-kids by my side. God has the power to make a wonderful future for us all. – Psalm 37:10, 11, 29. So happy the three of you are together! 🙂

    • We have been blessed and we are very grateful to be together, healthy and happy. It’s a quiet evening here now and we are reading and relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Thank you for suggesting that Psalm and those verses — very encouraging!

  30. Oh my goodness! I saw the title and the picture of Buddy and said “Oh no, not Buddy!”. I read the story to the end alternating between extreme sadness, hope, then fear, then hope. The pictures of Buddy were so wonderful. What a great companion he has been for you two (and for all of us that read your blog).

    I want to thank you for this story and for the reminder (and education) about rat poison. Living on a ranch in Gila County means lots of mice and packrats. That Tomkat package looks all too familiar. I will discuss this with Wally. We use rotary traps but I am not sure if we still have some TomKat poison left.

    By the way, all of us on the Nail Ranch use moth balls in our engine compartment.

    So glad he is ok. What wonderful and caring vet and techs.

    Liz and Wally
    PS, We were just telling someone about how you breezed by us on the ride to Gila Bend on your beautiful Seven Bikes. I think that was in the 80’s or early 90’s.

    • Hi Liz, How great to hear from you. The veterinarians and vet techs were incredible…totally dedicated and so loving towards their animal patients and their people owners!

      I’m so glad that my warning about the rat poison was meaningful to you. You must have a ton of mice and packrats around your home! I put a link above these comments to a YouTube channel where a guy tests various kinds of rodent repellents in his barn. He records the mice with a trail camera. He didn’t find that moth balls worked very well (his test is here). The mice seemed to ignore them and weren’t bothered by the smell.

      But he has found that peppermint is an excellent repellent. The mice all turn around and leave when they encounter the peppermint odor. We’ve got lots of peppermint essential oil and we’re also using balsam fir which is another odor they don’t like. Since doing that Mark hasn’t seen any mouse poops around the engine compartment. There’s also a feral cat in the neighborhood and he’s doing a great job culling the herd!

      We remember those cycling days so fondly. I got my Seven in January of 2000 and that thing rode like greased lightning! For a short while I was faster than Mark…and then he bought his Seven and my short reign of glory was over!

  31. Those sevens were impressive indeed! I was never faster than Wally on any bike so you had more glory than I did.

    I have some peppermint oil on hand and will remember to use that. By the way, our neighbors across the street had the ceiling in their house collapse under the weight of a huge flood of water. Turns out the roof rats had eaten their tasty pvc water pipes!

    Again, thanks again for the warning … we have grand dogs at the ranch all the time. And, so glad Buddy is ok. And… your photographs are beautiful!

    • Well, the first time I beat Mark to a landmark I caught him off guard and trounced him handily. After that he kept a much closer eye on me and I had to be work a lot hard to best him. Once he got his own Seven it was back to seeing his back side all the time!

      What a shocking story about the PVC pipes — those packrats are little monsters!

      Enjoy the grand dogs and thank you for the compliments and the good wishes for Buddy. He’d wag his tail for you but he’s fast asleep in his little bed right now.

  32. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing what must have been difficult to write. I follow your blog mostly because you both are adventurous and because you’re such a superb photographer. Our Wheaten Terrier, Murphy, turns 14 this month and is nearing the end. It’s going to be difficult, because, like Buddy, she makes us laugh every day. She’s our 3rd Wheaten, all rescues, but her personality and character are unique and have made her our favorite. We’ll be relying on our faith in God when the time comes. I’m glad Buddy’s ordeal gave an occasion for you to draw closer and open your heart. I don’t know how folks who have no faith weather times like these. Thanks again for sharing such a touching story.

    • Thank you for appreciating our story, Randy. It was difficult to write, but with no time pressure I was able to work on it whenever the spirit moved me. As the curtains begin to close for Murphy, you’ll have memories from many wonderful years together that you can look back on and celebrate. I’m always amazed at how full and complete an animal’s personality can be and how they leave their own unique imprint on the world that can’t be duplicated. I wish you well on that journey as it approaches and hope that your faith eases the pain and helps you find solace as you let her go. It makes me tear up knowing that we will face that experience someday too.

  33. Your story was touching and gave cause to reflect. As you grow spiritually, you will learn that everything that happened to you was planned before the Universe was created. And its re-telling has no doubt altered and enriched the thinking and destiny of many. As for the rodents, I have also suffered much electrical damage in my life, and have murdered countless numbers of them. In every way, you can imagine. As such and much to my great regret, I have killed many non-target animals. The solution is Havahart live traps baited with peanut butter. They make one just for mice-sized critters, and one just for rat-sized targets. All the birds, chipmunks, etc. are easily released unharmed. They work very well, and you choose what to do with the rodent. I know people with pet snakes. FYI, if your bait is gone and the trap is still set, either a small mouse or insects have taken the bait. Downsize the trap, lighten the trigger and you will catch every one of them. You only create a vacuum for a short period of time and must remain eternally vigilant, but is quite doable. I have greatly enjoyed your posts over the years, thank you.

    • Thank you for your insights and suggestions, Paul. I’ve used Havahart traps for larger animals and didn’t know they make small ones for mice and small rats and will look into this. It’s handy that you know someone with pet snakes…we saw a five foot diamondback rattler slithering across our patio once but I wouldn’t want to encourage him with free snacks! Thank you for reading our blog over the years. We’re excited to get out traveling again this summer and share more pics and stories!

  34. Just read your latest about Buddy’s near death experience…am so Baalbek for you three!! And I am most thankful that God loves you so much, that He would go to such great lengths to get your attention and let you experience His love for you first hand!! May you continue in your growth in Him and may He fill you with the knowledge of Hiis grace and mercy!

    • Thank you for your wonderful sentiments, Bob! I really appreciate that you took the time to read this long story and that our experience and enlightenment touched your heart. We are on quite a journey and we are cherishing every moment, even the most difficult ones.

  35. Emily, Mark & Buddy…my gosh, that was an incredibly emotional read and it must have been difficult to write, reliving all of emotions and worry that you faced! We are so relieved to learn that Buddy was given that miracle of such an amazing recovery. We know your feelings of love and adoration for your amazing pup. Jeanne and I share those same feelings for our Hershey Pup, a 3-year old Cavalier King Charles blenheim spaniel whom we have loved since he was 10-weeks old, and who is very similar in size and colorations to your Buddy. Hershey has “sniffed, pee’d and pooped” his way through 36 states and 22,000 miles on our own full-time travels since July, 2020. He is our amazing RV-travel dog and my incredible adventure pup, hiking and exploring miles and miles of our beautiful country with me. He also loves going mountain biking in his special doggie backpack. Jeanne and I will say to each other, during times of stress and low points, “It’s you, me and Hershey Pup against the world, Baby! Us three are a team!” It’s the three us, 24/7, in our 240 sq ft “rolling home” for two years now. We would be absolutely devastated to lose our Hershey Pup!
    Thank God for the wonderful outcome – miracle – that the three of you were blessed to experience.
    We also want you both to know that you were one of our earliest inspirations as we planned and prepared to transform our lives over a 4-year period, eventually launching into the full-time RV lifestyle. We feel blessed and extremely grateful for that. And we have zero regrets for our then scary decision to make our Big Leap.
    Thank you, Emily, for your beautiful writing as always, and for sharing such a personal and powerful story with us all.
    Many more happy travels and adventures to the three of you!
    Erik & Jeanne & Hershey Pup

    • Wow, Erik, what heartfelt words and what a beautiful note to wake up to this morning. Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts so eloquently. I am delighted to know that our blog helped inspire you to take the plunge and go traveling even though your launch was in the middle of the crazy pandemic. Kudos to you for forging ahead anyway! These are years that will change your lives forever. You will look back later and say, “Did we really do that?” and you will feel you have lived a full and rich life because you faced your fears and did something really unusual and thrilling.

      Our sweet furry companions mean the world to us, as you know, and they give our homes a warmth that spreads everywhere. Mark and I are so fortunate and so grateful that Buddy survived. The event changed us all and brought us closer. He is one happy dog and he can’t wait to get out on the trails again just like Hershey Pup is doing.

      I love the image of H.P. riding in a doggie backpack on your bike — I’ve thought about that but haven’t done it yet. Is he about 25 lbs like Buddy? How lucky he is that you jumped into an outdoor life that would give him the chance to hike and bike all over the country. 240 square feet of rolling coziness is wonderful for a team of 3. Enjoy every precious minute, even the tough ones, and make beautiful memories everyday together. Hugs to you and Jeanne and Hershey Pup!

  36. I just saw this incredibly terrifying yet joyous account of Buddy’s ordeal!! Oh my goodness, yes there are miracles and Buddy is one or the gift of one. God bless all of you and may you continue to bathe in God’s divine mercies.

    • Thank you very much, Renee. Buddy is definitely a gift, and we thank God every day for receiving such a beautiful gift. He was also given a gift life, and we thank God every day for receiving the gift of our sweet boy twice! It was a life changing and life giving experience for us. Buddy is as sweet as ever. He just turned five and we’ll be celebrating the one year anniversary of his recovery in a few days. We just came back from a RZR ride/run a few minutes ago where he leads the way ahead of us on four happy paws as we drive the RZR behind him on a quiet dirt road. What a joyful pup he is! I’m glad you found this article, and I’m especially glad that it touched your heart.

  37. OMG how horrible! I am glad Buddy is OK. I lost my cat of 21 years (Winnie) in March of 2022 and I am still hurting. She saved my life, and I saved hers. We were joined at the hip for those 21 years. On her last night I held her close to me while she had a bunch of seizures, and she would meow loud before each one. That was the worst life of my life, and I cannot even type it out without getting tears in my eyes. I cremated her and I have her with me every day and she still sleeps next to me. Boy.. Yah I got to stop.

    • I am so sorry you lost your beloved cat, Gary. It sounds like you had a very special relationship with Winnie. How lucky you were! And you were both incredibly fortunate that she lived such a very long life! In many ways, I think that both pets and music are among the very few things that reach deep into our souls and touch us in places that few other things can touch. A beloved piece of music and a beloved animal can both draw out of us the most raw, beautiful, anguished and impassioned emotions. I am glad that Winnie still sleeps next to you, and although she won’t be with you physically to enjoy your upcoming full-timing adventures, I know she will be with you in spirit.


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