Buddy Kungl, a Bichon Frisé, was born on May 28th, 2012. The runt of his litter, Buddy never weighed more than 12 pounds and was never longer than a foot. After months of intense convincing from four Kungl children, Bev and Dan Kungl said “fuck it” and caved in. On Labor Day weekend of 2012, he was welcomed home.
By societal standards, buddy was not a good boy. He was never properly potty trained and would poop and pee on very soft rugs. Somehow he knew which rugs were the hardest to get stains out of and made those his go to spots.
Buddy also bit many people in his day. For some reason, he specifically bit little girls. We don’t know much about Buddy’s short life before we got him, but we guess he had severe women issues. Then again, who amongst us can stand here and say they haven’t?
We also don’t know where buddy was on January sixth, 2020. I’m not saying he was at the capital, I’m just saying I know he wasn’t at our house that day.
With that said, buddy was humble. He never once brought up us chopping off his testicles, even when he was wronged. Buddy ate the same meal for breakfast and lunch for over ten years, and when I say he pissed himself with excitement over it everyday that is not hyperbole.
Buddy had several defining characteristics in his life. He would get the zoomies almost daily, sprinting under our kitchen table at incredible speeds with elite agility. We probably never walked him enough so he had to get his exercise in on his own time. Buddy would also infamously nudge your hand if he was sitting with you, almost to say “hey, I never said to stop petting me”. Every time buddy drank water, he would have to walk a few feet away and then wheeze like he was a stage 4 lung cancer patient. Buddy was also prone to a bad hair cut in his day, too short and he would look like a rat, too poofy and he would look like a French aristocrat.
When buddy was young he got on our kitchen table and ate a bowl of Hershey chocolates that were FOR EVERYONE. He didn’t understand that was the human equivalent of eating plutonium, but he was able to rebound from it. As buddy got older his age caught up with him. Buddy’s teeth had severe issues, and by the time he was eight and and a half he had only 8 left. It was a good eight though so he was still able to eat, but good god was his breath terrible. Shortly after that he tore both of his back ACL’s and became much less active. He had some heart issues towards the end as well. Never the less, buddy never complained, he manned up and stood by us.
The most special relationship buddy had was with my mother. She never wanted a dog, she probably had one too many kids to begin with and was already dealing with a full boat. Joke was on her as the kids convinced her to get a dog. What was originally a present for her children became the greatest decision she ever made. Buddy lived for about 3,650 days. Buddy slept with my mom about 3,600 nights. He bit any person that tried to say good night to her, which prevented me saying good night to her from 2012-2015. Eventually, Buddy learned we were all on the same team. Still, I admired the way he stood by her, and that made us all love him that much more.
Buddy also had a special relationship with my father. My dad was usually the last one home of our family, and buddy would build with anticipation as the day went on. When he got home, buddy would run right up to my dad and offer him his belly as tribute- a belly my dad would rub for minutes each day.
The first time I bonded with buddy, he and I were home alone on a Saturday together. I was probably in the sixth grade. I was watching college football and he wandered into the room like he owned the place. He hopped up on the couch with me and eventually fell asleep on my chest. I didn’t move for an hour cause I just wanted him to be happy. It was then that I realized how strong the bond between humans and dogs was.
What lessons can we learn from the life of Buddy? The first is that material goods don’t mean as much as we think. My mom must have bought buddy 100 toys in his life and that dog used like 5 of them until they were worn. The second is that being potty trained and loved by your family are not mutually exclusive things.
The most important lesson buddy taught us is that Joy is not bought, it is experienced. It costs a lot to take care of a dog, even more when you factor in the rising price of rugs and carpets in this economy. With that said, there is no amount of money, time or patience I wouldn’t give up to extend buddy’s reign. For all the annoying shit buddy did, he blindly and whole heartily pledged himself to my family. The value of joy he brought into our lives cannot be quantified, only expressed through gratitude. So here I am, trying to show how much my family and I loved that fucking dog.
And while this is one of the saddest times of my life, the happiness that dog brought me and my family outweighs the sadness a million times over. Buddy was the best dog any of us could have asked for. I’d do anything to see him one more time, to let him and let him know everything will be ok- but the big wheel keeps turning, and I know we will see him again one day.
In honor of Buddy, just pet your dog and tell them you love them.