Tino and Buddy
I’ve been asked to write more Tino stories, so here’s another favorite.
Our Tino was a sensitive and perceptive dog. Even though he kept to himself and was very independent, he was also very affectionate and sensitive to family dynamics. Whenever one of us was sick he stuck a little closer, checking in with us periodically. If one of us was out of town for a few days, he also became a little more attached. While he and Sally didn’t interact a lot, he kept guard and protected her all the time.
The first time I really sensed Tino’s sensitive nature was one Sunday when his friend across the street, Buddy, a Golden Retriever, became ill. Tino and Buddy had a bit of a love-hate relationship. Whenever Buddy was being walked down the street Tino would bark like crazy, but if Buddy came to the fence they would bounce and play around. Buddy was old, so he didn’t pay much attention to the young, strapping Tino, but Tino always kept an eye out for Buddy.
One Sunday, Tino didn’t come back in the house after breakfast as he normally did. I looked out the window and saw him perched in the corner of the yard focused on Buddy’s front porch. I didn’t think much of it until I realized he was still there 15 minutes later. I went out to see what he was focused on and found our neighbor on the front lawn with Buddy. Buddy was lying down.
We knew Buddy had been very sick and he’d taken a turn for the worst. Our neighbor was just waiting for the vet to open so they could take him in. He probably wasn’t coming back.
Tino sat in that corner focused on Buddy. He didn’t move. He sat there for several hours as our neighbor waited. Tino waited too.
Eventually I dragged him away to go for our morning run. When we came back, he once again took up his vigil in the corner. Eventually, they carried Buddy to the car and drove to the vet. Tino still sat there in the corner watching Buddy’s front yard.
Our neighbor came back from the vet, without Buddy, but Tino continued to watch for his Buddy.
Eventually, he came inside, but I wonder to this day what was going on in his head. He knew something was wrong with Buddy and he stood watch over him. It reminded me of when we took his brother Bernie to the vet when his distemper lead to seizures. We were taking him to be put down and Steve picked him up to carry him to the car. I was worried Tino would freak out a bit since he was the ‘big brother’ and protector, but he just came up to Steve, sniffed at Bernie in his arms and gave him a little nose bump to say goodbye. I think he knew Bernie was so sick and wasn’t coming back, just as he knew Buddy wasn’t.
At least that’s what I want to think.