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Bubba's Memorial
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Bubba's memorial was created on 6/26/2012.
Bubba was the little dog I never intended to keep. Little did I know what a tremendous impact he would have on me and that he would be the one who intended to keep me.

“Jasper”, or as he would come to be known, Bubba, came into our lives not for us, but to be a companion for my husband’s 91 yr old dad. His dad lived with us for 3 months while we remodeled a house for him and during that time he thought it would be nice to get a dog. I asked our local shelter to look for an older, low maintenance dog that would be a good companion to a 91 yr old. Two days later I went to see “Jasper” and he seemed the calm, sweet, nice, low energy dog we were looking for. In the two months Bubba lived with us, I was the one to feed him, walk him, and generally take care of him. We tried to get old man and old dog to bond, but it never took. When they moved into their house together it lasted exactly one day and the man decided the dog was too much trouble. So Bubba came back to live with us while I decided what to do with him. During that time he growled a lot and bit me twice. I was just about ready to send him back to the shelter when one of those stupid Humane Society ads came on tv. The one where you just hear the music and start to cry if you don’t change the channel or mute the volume right away. I realized I couldn’t send this aging little dog back to the shelter. So we kept him. In general he was a nice little dog, but he always had a sad, grumpy personality. We learned never to grab him by the collar. Something must have happened to him because if you pulled on his collar at all he would growl, turn, and snap at you (that’s how I got bitten). Slowly over the months he became more and more attached to me. He chose me to be his human and he would follow me everywhere around the house. I was nice to him, took care of him, walked him, but never really felt a strong connection to him. Then a little over a year after we got him everything would change and the true influence of that little dog would become apparent.

I had lost my beloved golden retriever, Tlingit, to cancer two years before Bubba was diagnosed with cancer. Tlingit had surgery and chemo and was given 12 months to live and lived for 3 yrs., but I was devastated when he died. I thought I would never be able to open up my heart to another dog. Sure I still had my other two dogs, Kootenai and Shilo, who I continued to love with all my heart, but I couldn’t imagine ever allowing a new dog into my heart. Bubba changed all that.

Bubba had stopped eating and seemed sadder than usual, so he went to the vet for tests and ended up having exploratory surgery. I was home waiting for company to arrive when the vet called with the news, inoperable liver cancer, it was so large and in a location where he wouldn’t survive any sort of aggressive treatment. Do you want to just not wake him up from the surgery? the vet asked. With company knocking on the door, I couldn’t make the decision right then. Just close him up and I’ll bring him home for as long as he has, I replied. Well that turned into over 10 months. No one expected him to live that long. From the moment I picked Bubba up after the surgery, he was firmly embedded in my heart. Before his diagnosis he was already my shadow, but afterwards he never, ever left my side when I was home. He lay in front of the shower protecting me, by my bed watching over me, near the couch comforting me. If I got up and took 5 steps to turn on a light, he got up. I often felt sorry for him because it seemed he could never rest, he constantly had to be on the alert for me to move so he could move with me.

I once thought loving a new dog would be a betrayal to Tlingit’s memory, but I realized not loving Bubba (and later other dogs) would be the betrayal to Tlingit. Tlingit was a kind and gentle soul, but it took grouchy Bubba to make me realize that Tlingit wouldn’t want me to be sad forever. I truly believe Bubba was sent from doggy heaven to teach me that it’s ok to allow other dogs into my heart again.

Bubba usually had a somber demeanor. The happiest I ever saw him was when he had been outside all day and you came home and let him in the house. He would run to the door and jump up as best he could to say hello. The other time he got truly excited was when I was outside with him and he’d go potty. He’d run back to me, practically knocking me over. It’s like he was so proud of himself.

Because of Bubba I have been trying to let my husband’s dog into my heart. Abbie and I butted heads from the day she came into this house (about a month after losing Tlingit, which was too soon for me). Bubba has also allowed me to get another dog, Blaze. Although Blaze and Bubba loathed each other the time they were together, I know it will be ok to love Blaze. Even though Bubba and Tlingit never met, their boundless love and devotion will forever be intertwined in my heart. Thank-you Bubba, I will be forever grateful to you. I miss you every day my little Bubba-nator.

Shawn S.

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