It’s a sad fact of life that our dogs don’t live as long as we do, but they definitely make a big impression on our lives while they’re here on Earth with us.
Like one dog named “Buddie,” whose sweet gravestone in a public park serves as a reminder that he was more than just a pet to those who knew and loved him.
The grave can be found at Kiroli Park in West Monroe, Louisiana. It reads: BUDDIE 1928 – 1941 — Born a dog / Died a gentleman.
It’s a moving sentiment for anyone who has ever owned and loved a pet dog, even those who never knew Buddie and were born long after he died.
Zach Medlin stumbled upon the gravesite last year while walking his own dog through the park, and got emotional after reading the epitaph.
“It warms my heart to know that Buddie carried his owners through the Great Depression,” Zach told The Dodo. “All dogs deserve a grave marker.”
The grave is alone in the park, and Zach says he had to remove some twigs to be able to read it. But Buddie is well-known enough to have his own local legend.
According to a post from the Kiroli Park Facebook page, legend says that when the area was a Boy Scout camp called Camp Kiroli, a scout went swimming on the lake and started drowning. Buddie saved the day by barking for help, leading to the boy being saved, but sadly Buddie himself drowned.
“Buddie’s story cannot be officially documented, although area residents active in the Boy Scouts organization through the years remember the tale and it is considered a true story,” Kiroli Park writes.
While that would explain why Buddie earned his own gravesite and honorific when most dogs don’t, there’s another, simpler story behind the grave. An Ouachita Parish historical website did some research into the legend, and found no news items to support the Boy Scout story.
However, the researcher did find newspaper clippings at the local library from 1993, saying that Buddie beloved to Mr. And Mrs. Albert H. Jones of Monroe, Louisiana, citing Mrs. Dee Strickland, who lived with the family in 1942. “Not a boy scout dog,” the notation reads.
But Buddie, described as a “beautiful Irish Setter,” was clearly a beloved pet of the couple, who reportedly took him for walks in Kiroli Park all the time, so they decided to bury him there.
In this case, he “died a gentleman” not because he was a life-saving hero, but simply because he was a very good dog. As Zach observed, Buddie spent most of his life through the Great Depression, and could’ve been a great comfort to his family during that dark time.
It’s reminiscent of the gravesite of Dewey, a cat who was described as “human enough to be a great comfort in hours of loneliness and pain,” despite being “only a cat.”
What a sweet tribute to a beloved dog. Over 80 years after his death, this “gentleman” dog is still moving and inspiring people.
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