There I stood, next to Santa Claus, shouting “Merry Christmas” while waving to passing motorists along Route 15 in Wolcott. It was a perfect afternoon, sunny and hot. The annual “Christmas In July” sales extravaganza at Bucks Furniture was on, and this year Buddy was along for the live remote broadcast I was hosting on the radio. This was nothing new to Buddy. After all, he’d been at countless radio broadcasts over the last 13 years; grand-openings, home shows, farm shows, state fairs, parades, coffee shops, snowmobile races and hundreds more. He was accustomed to the attention, loved to mingle with the crowds, and made so many friends. Often Froggy listeners would come to a broadcast event just to see Buddy.
But on this “Christmas in July”, Buddy was too hot for petting and needed a break from the commotion. With the temperature approaching 90, Buddy was out of the van and resting in the shade under my table next to his bowl of water. It was then that I made a mistake I will never forget. While I stepped away for a quick bathroom break, Buddy decided to seek out a cooler place to pass the time. .
All dog owners have felt that flash of panic when they’ve realized their dogs were missing. Just about the moment I discovered Buddy was gone, I heard someone ask, “Aren’t you the one with the black dog?” “Yes” I said, “Have you seen him?” “He’s off looking for you” the man said. “He snuck in a few minutes ago while some folks had opened the door”. Most dogs are opportunists, but Buddy was a certified and skilled professional. Moving quickly under the radar he made him self hardly noticed when he joined others as they made their way into Bucks. And now, with 200 rooms and 3 floors of name brands you know and trust, Buddy was somewhere amongst it all. As the reality set in that Buddy would only travel further into the vast abyss of Bucks Furniture and maybe even never be found again, I hurried through my next live break before beginning the hunt for my dog. I must have looked a bit out of sorts when I hurriedly flew through the door, right into Sandy Howard, the owner of Bucks Furniture. “I hear Buddy is along with you again!”. “He is … He is” I said with a nervous smile. Sandy frowned, “He’s not in the van on a hot day like this, is he?” “No”, I replied, “He’s in the shade under the table”. “I’ll be sure to get out there in a bit to say hello to him”, Sandy said.
I had about 20 minutes before I was live on the air again. Twenty minutes to search out and locate a medium sized black dog, lost somewhere in a never ending maze of rooms inside rooms. Sweat beaded on my brow as I ran up staircase after staircase, living room after dining room. “Buddy!….Buddy!” I whispered as loud as I could. After what seemed like hours, frustration set in when I checked my watch and saw that I had less than 10 minutes until my next live on-air break. It was then that I realized I was lost myself. How would I ever make it back to my broadcast table in time? It seems like it was miles away from where I was, deep inside Bucks Furniture. “You must be looking for someone” a lady said as I flew by. Out of breath, I just closed my eyes and nodded. “You’ll find him at some point” she smiled, “he’s a very friendly dog”.
If there are 3 floors and 200 rooms at Bucks Furniture I bet I bolted through 192 of them maneuvering like the lead car in the Indianapolis 500. But still no Buddy. I made my way from the second floor to the third, skipping every other step on the way up. Just then, I slammed on the breaks. The search was over. There in front of me was my dog, laying on top of a premium king-sized $3,000 Posture Pedic mattress surrounded by a solid cherry 4 post bed. The silk canopy drapes waved gently in the cool breeze from the nearby air conditioner. Buddy laid motionless, eyes fixed on mine and the tip of his tail tapping the memory foam. Buddy’s days of living large at Bucks Furniture were over. But one thing is certain: Buddy knows Bucks Furniture; maybe even better than Buck himself.