The Same, Only Different

   On the same day I took Buddy to the ophthalmologist, perhaps while we were at the ophthalmologist, Buster ate something inadvisable. He spent the night in and out of the backyard, every three hours, until around 5:00am.

Buster has what one would delicately describe as a thick form. Such indiscretions are not unusual for him, and we figured he would be fine after a day of rest.

Not so!

He was up all night Friday, but not on Saturday. We had him skip dinner that night, and he seemed better after his fast. After resuming meals again on Sunday, he was up all night, again until 5:00am. That seems to be the time even his bowels get tired. I made an appointment for him first thing Monday morning.

  When I took Buddy to the vet on Thursday, he sat quietly by my side. When the vet stuck little paper things under his eyelids, he didn’t move. When they flashed lights in his eyes and approached him with headgear, he moved, but only to purse his lips like an anxious child. He sat there, a little zen master, waiting patiently while the humans performed their tricks. The only indication he gave that he might be nervous was the occasional tremble in his thighs and the way he would curl up next to me and put his head on my shoulder.

Then, there is Buster.

I’m not even finished opening the car door before his corpulent body is out inspecting the vet parking lot for a morsel of food. (You never know, a 12 year old raisin may have fallen from a Mom Car.) He rushes towards the door like I’m mushing him towards an endless row of toddlers in highchairs with poor pincer grasps. He is the eternal optimist.

Buddy approaches the vet with resignation. Buster approaches the vet with blind hope.

Ten minutes later he is shaking and looking at me wild-eyed as if to say, “I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it!”

Then he’ll catch the scent of another dog in the waiting room, and the memory of the rectal exam is pushed aside in favor of what lies behind the hollow-core luan door. A Pomeranian, it turns out.

If Buddy is the zen Buddhist on a spiritual pilgrimage, Buster is the greaser in a hot rod on his way to meet a girl under the high school bleachers. They are the same, only different, and we love them both to pieces as we help them navigate these new, somewhat more challenging senior years together.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    I can totally see it! :) Poor little fellows . . . laughing at their expense. And yet, we must.

    If it’s any consolation, I hope they are both doing {and staying} well. Also, they’re so handsome. So there’s that.

  2. Susan G says

    What a gift you have – I feel like I know them! We have Lucy and Ricky the Airedales. Ricky is Buster – I call him the Eternal Optimist. He’s sure that TODAY WILL BE THE DAY that Something Delicious will fall his way. (Something Delicious being pretty much anything except citrus.) A few weeks ago I was dishing out ice cream while he (all 95 pounds) lay at/on my feet. The ice cream was hard and as I struggled with the scoop it slipped and a whole scoop of vanilla ice cream landed right in front his nose. :)

    Once every 3 years or so is apparently enough to confirm the Eternal Optimism. We could all use a little Buster/Ricky in us – and a little Buddy too for that matter.

    • says

      And I bet Ricky had that ball of ice cream swallowed in less than 5 seconds, all the while thinking, “I knew! I knew this spot would pay off.”

    • Susan G says

      I had to add this. Yesterday I saw an Essie nail polish you had pinned and it made me want a new color, so I went to the drugstore last night. The color you pinned was really pretty but not good for me, so I picked a pinker tone. After I bought it I looked at the name – Eternal Optimist! That is so NOT me I had to laugh. Life has been pretty sucky lately at work – it’s always been such a great place but we have new administration and one in particular is really unpleasant and has made me very unhappy. Last night I turned on junky TV , opened a bottle of wine, and painted my nails Eternal Optimist. So thanks for the nail polish impetus – I think picking that color was a message to me from the universe.

  3. says

    Love this post. It makes me whimper for the love of a dog. I yearn for a dog, alas, no one else in my family feels the same way (and I am the only one with allergies – what is up with that? What child doesn’t want a dog??? Oh what a very, very tough life it is ;)).

  4. Chloe's Nonni says

    “He rushes towards the door like I’m mushing him towards an endless row of toddlers in highchairs with poor pincer grasps”

    Brilliant – My dog too – but I didn’t have a way to express it until now.

  5. Lisa in Seattle says

    Oh my gosh, I was worried that this post was going to have an entirely different ending. So relieved to hear your (other) boys are doing well, fsvo well. We took one of our ferrets (Hurricane Gabriel, and a more appropriately named animal you never saw) to the vet yesterday for a booster shot. They’re pretty philosophical at our vet and recognize that it’s easier to just let him get into (and atop and beneath) everything on the counters than to try to corral him. I empathize with that mom at the grocery store, you know, the one with the wailing toddler rolling around on the floor surrounded by heaps of Spaghetti-Os cans. She should probably do something about the situation but she’s just worn out. I’d take “resignation” or “blind hope” in a heartbeat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>