There he was cute as can be sitting in the middle of the double yellow line. His eyes were as big and spherical as those of a cow and his lips fell down so far below his mouth that it seemed they were defeated by gravity more than the average lips. His expression was so sad that everyone wanted to forgive his bad manners and the light from his eyes seemed to tell a story that you hadn’t heard before or at least not in that way. “Get out and get him!” My aunt Didi started screaming. “No!” Responded my husband Hal and I in unison. “It’s a pit bull!”. But after my uncle Pete added that he was just a puppy we decided to stop and scoop up that poor gentle creature from the road. His name was Buddy Rouge we decided after examining him for a few days and skipping the name Rainbow as his gay tendencies seemed to call for. We took him to the not so Humane Society before naming him as he might have belonged to someone else but they sent us away with “our” dog saying that they would put him down because he was too aggressive. The fact that he wasn’t our dog and that our kind ass souls had found this red nose Pitt bull puppy on the side of the road, and that we probably were not fit to care for him did not seem to matter. We found him, he was aggressive, they would kill him otherwise, so we kept him to give him a chance. Good or bad decision? I’d say both. In his three years with us Buddy taught us to throw a ball so he could retrieve it, to give him a treat when he raised his paw as well as to thank him for pooping on the ground outside and have us pick it up after he was all done. But the most important lesson of all was the unconditional love he gave us on days we walked him very late morning and he had to hold his pee till we had gotten coffee and checked e-mails. He still loved us when we didn’t feel like going to the park and only walked him around the block or fed him way after we fed the cat. But unfortunately we had underestimated what falling in love with an abused dog might be like. Some call it unpredictable, some call it hardwired for fighting. Whatever it was called it meant that my new friend was a challenge that we had not anticipated and after three years of love, fight and a few bites taken out of random cats, sheep or other dogs it was the end of the road for Buddy rouge. He was still a loving creature but his stress levels were still high for such a well taken care of dog. The word unpredictable came floating in our conversations more and more and the unthinkable became an option that we put on the table. Killing my dog? But he did not bite a kid’s face off, yet. I don’t believe he would have although there was a doubt in the back of my mind. I knew his reactions were sketchy around food and other animals sometimes. And there it was staring us in the not yet bitten face, the solution, I’d dare call it the final solution if the word had not been used before for much darker purposes. We would have to put our dog down for fear that he might kill something or hurt someone. How did we get here? “He is so cute though.” as many of the people that I talked to about him have said meeting him for the first time. Yes he is, the cutest in my humble, objective opinion, but should I wait until the irreparable happens? Probably not. So this is how it went, Buddy’s last day because there had to be a day like this and I knew it since I first saw him sitting in the middle of that park road. It was a nice, evenly tempered Oregonian morning and the blackberries were ready to pick. Buddy was a big fan of finding berries in the bushes and so we went for a walk along Bear creek road to find some. He got a lot of them, climbing through the prickly bushes to get to the juicy berries. I had made the dreaded phone call and the appointment was set for 4h30. But before that we decided to go for a nice long play time in the park and we threw the ball many times and he tirelessly and happily brought it back every time. It was a good day and the sun was just warm enough to warm us up but also to remind us that the day was getting to an end. When we got to the vet’s office everyone was nice and Buddy had no idea what was happening until he fell asleep with the taste of cheese whiz treats on his lips. He became very still and just laid there with his tongue sticking out of his mouth like he didn’t have enough. I hugged him for a long time after his heart stopped beating and felt like I hadn’t have enough myself but it was time to go. It seemed unbearable to leave his little body behind with some strangers but it would be returned to us in a few days in a canister apparently. As I left the small vet’s office I felt empty but there was nothing to compare it to or to fill my empty heart with. Nothing will ever replace him or the way he was, or the way we were together but I’ve been told I made the right choice even if it doesn’t feel that way. I wish him peace and happiness on the way to the sky where I can only hope we’ll meet again someday and I can throw the ball for him like he taught me to so patiently.