Early this New Year's morning, our beloved dog Buddy passed away. About six months ago he started showing signs of pain while eating. By three months ago, he was having a hard time keeping anything down. By last month, he couldn't keep anything down, even water, and was wasting away. He was finally diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia. Such a hernia is only correctible by surgery, but given the 50% survival rate and Buddy's age, the vet said it wouldn't be a good idea. Two days ago, Buddy's strength had waned to the point he couldn't move any more. Last night, on our back porch-that place he always tried to get to because it is closer to us-he gave up the struggle at last.
Missionaries brought Buddy, a brown mixed terrier, to Karamoja ten years ago, when he was a young dog. Since then, Buddy has been the loyal companion and vigilant watchdog for four different families. Buddy was there for all of us when we were discouraged; he would happily and noisily welcome us home and patiently listen if we bore our hearts to him. With the first clink of the gate's padlock, a chorus of barking would come from Buddy. At night, he would listen intently and bark at any strange noise, whether it was the toilet flushing or a warrior treading softly by outside the fence.
No one can tell how many times Buddy saved us and this property from robbery. On May 27th, 2008, Buddy certainly saved us from armed robbery. It was our third night alone in Karamoja. Three goats in the neighbor's yard attracted the attention of armed livestock thieves. They cut the fence, shot at our night guard twice, and stole the goats, all the time yelling drunken threats at us. Before they broke in, Buddy had been barking for two or three hours. The thieves gained access to all main areas of the larger compound, except for our inner yard where Buddy was patrolling.
Thank you, Buddy, for being such a wonderful dog. We, and all your previous masters, will miss you dearly. You have been a living symbol of the security and continuity offered by the Red Roof Inn (Baptist Mission) to wandering souls like ourselves. Rest in peace.
Buddy in the background, with Fujo, our strong young dog who will try to follow in Buddy's footsteps.
For a touching testimony about the kind of dog Buddy was, click here.