Buddy's Welcome Home

A heavenly vision gave her the strength to say good-bye.

By Wanda Rosseland, Circle, Montana

As appeared in

Out West we’ve got a saying: The best hired man a rancher can have is a good cow dog. My husband and I definitely had that in Buddy.

One morning I looked out the window and scanned the pasture for his black and white fur. Our Border collie-shepherd mix was semi-retired these days, but whenever he could, he slipped out to stand guard over the cows.

As a young dog Buddy was ever present. When my husband, Milton, and I went out to move cows Buddy rode along in the pickup. He wove behind the drags to keep the cattle in line on our way to the gate. During calving season, he put the cows safe in the shed with a couple of sharp barks.

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Feeding time was easy, especially in winter, with Buddy planted by the feed troughs ready to spring into action if a cow got too close to the tractor.

“You know what, Bud?” I told him at least once a day. “You’re the best dog in the world.”

Maybe I should have been more strict about keeping him indoors. Buddy still wanted to do his job but arthritis had slowed him down, and the cows were dangerous.

But I knew how much he loved to work. So where was he now? Milton was out feeding the cows with his tractor. Cows crowded around him, ignoring all his efforts to move them away. Buddy obviously wasn’t with Milton.

I left the window and opened the door to call. “Buddy!” But I found him right there, stretched out on the step. When I bent down to touch him he flinched. Our Buddy was hurt! “Milton!” I cried. Just as I called out, he came running around the corner.

“What happened?” he said, dropping to one knee.

“I don’t know. I just found him.”

Milton gently felt around Buddy’s body. “I don’t feel anything broken,” he said. “It doesn’t look to me like he got kicked.”

I brought Buddy some beaten eggs and milk, but he turned his head away after a few laps. Milton and I dealt with hurt animals all the time. As ranchers we had a lot of experience identifying injuries and taking care of them.

So when Bud’s stomach started to swell, we knew all too well what had happened: Cows charge and butt with their heads to defend themselves if they feel cornered. Bud must have been mauled and tossed in the air. His internal organs would have gotten bruised when he slammed back down to the ground. Pressure from the swelling can be fatal.

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Years before, Milton had gotten hurt when four big, round hay bales fell off a semitruck and landed on top of him. The bales had not only broken several bones, but crushed his internal organs.

Milton’s stomach swelled up just like Buddy’s was now. We spent a long, awful week waiting and praying for the swelling to go down.

I knew that Buddy might not be so lucky. We carried him down to the basement and settled him on a soft, fluffy rug. The heat from the coal furnace warmed the room, and the exposed pine rafters smelled sweet and fresh.

Buddy lay stretched out on his side, lightly panting. Now we just had to wait. I sat beside him, petting his head.

God, please don’t let Buddy die. He’s the best dog in the world, as you know.

I was no stranger to grief. I’d lost two infant sons to a genetic disorder just hours after they were born. I tried to picture the boys together in heaven with the angels, but I couldn’t truly imagine it.

I’d never get over such loss, but I always thought that picture might be the one thing that would give me closure. I thought of all the fun my other children had with Buddy. He followed them everywhere, played fetch for hours, cuddled with them on cold nights.

He kept me company around the house, walked with me to the barn and down to the mailbox. He was made to run in the sagebrush and chase rabbits, to work and play with the people he loved. He loved everything about life. How could he be dying?

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Read 'Rainbow Bridge'

Loved this story and so heart warming..... Thank You!

This is my most favorite testimony in this issue of Angels on Earth- I had a dream of my stillborn sister, Sandy, who died a year before I was born. Yes, they do grow in Heaven when they die as babies. In my dream she was wearing a white robe and looked the same age she would be if she were on Earth. Without her saying a word, I instinctively knew it was her.

Such a beautiful testimony and encouragement for those who lose pets because now we know that the Lord will permit them to enter Heaven. Thank you, Wanda, for sharing this with us in Guideposts Angels on Earth.

We all have our personal views on how to die and not everyone believes in euthanasia. I personally believe that God gives life and only God can take life.
I am so glad that you were sent a beautiful vision of your son's waiting in Heaven, this just proves how much we are loved by our Father in and that beautiful things await all those who believe!
God's love and peace to you, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, Barb

Thank you for this story. She was listening to God. Death is part of life. She was allowing the dog to die with dignity, at home surrounded by loved ones. The dog was not whining, etc. God was telling her the right thing to do, and she was listening. Love, Alison

I'm glad she finally was able to picture her children in heaven, however, I'm very upset that they didn't take Buddy to the vet right away when they found him. Just because you are a farmer doesn't mean you should just "deal" with an injury like that. This is unacceptable!

I agree with the above comment. I do not find any comfort from this story, that an animal was allowed to lay for hours, if not days, to suffer and die. They have vets, even in Montana. You should not have printed this story as if it was some beautiful thing. It is just wrong to let your lifelong companion suffer like that. Shame on you and the lady who wrote the story.

I also agree with you. I've known ranchers and they would not let this dog suffer. Even the ones who rarely use a vet. They know how to put an animal "to sleep" swiftly and painless. And just because the dog was not whining did not mean he wasn't in pain. It's been bred into many dogs not to show pain. And this was not the same as an elderly pet dying at home in loving arms. Even then loving, caring, responsible owner take the animal to the vet or have the vet come to them. And since this was a farm/ranch the vet would most likely be accustomed to coming out for a call.

You are correct. And do they really think that God would want the dog to suffer.

This is a comforting story. Dogs are remarkable animals, and Buddy could have recovered. And no, the vet would not have known whether the dog would recover either. I live in a farming community too and most of the vets around here have two options for you, put the animal "down", or run tests or do surgery that quickly goes into the hundreds of dollars. I can no longer afford these tests and don't want to put down my animals that may recover.

This woman has been around animals all her life and has no doubt seen many such situations resolve themselves favorably. Think about it this way, if God had been unhappy with her treatment of Buddy, there would have been no vision of her lost sons.

I agree with Lateb12..

She and her husband and family have lived their entire lives on the farm. They have been around long enough to know their own animals. I am glad that Buddy was at home where he was loved the most! I feel certain that God knew exactly what was going on. They were all very deeply blessed with a great family, loving animals, and the grace of our dear Lord and His awesome gift to them and to us!

Thank you Wanda for sharing this magnificent and blessed vision...a vision of hope and peace!
Sincerely, Judy Harris