9 August

Bud On The Mend: Am I Looking For Another Gus?

by Jon Katz
Bud On The Mend: Photo By Carol Johnson

Carol Johnson of FOHA/RI sent me this photo of Gus this afternoon, he is resting from his heartworm treatment and staying out of the torrential rains hitting Arkansas where he is. I was happy to hear he is no angel, he managed to steal a bag of cookies and reluctantly surrendered them to Carol.

(They had chocolate chips in them, a no-no for dogs, although every one of my dogs has eaten some chocolate one way or another with no trouble. I never give it to them).

Gus let the cookies go without a fight, but Carol said he gave her the stinkeye. Good for him. If he’ s going to be Fate’s little brother, he needs to learn how to hang onto what is his.

Several times in recent weeks I’ve inadvertently replaced the named Bud with “Gus,” this prompted a bunch of mail, nothing makes some social media people happier than spotting mistakes and correcting them.

With me, I never know if this name substituting  is a symptom of my Dyslexia or habitually scrambled brain. I can’t say I care all that much, anyone who can’t figure out which dog I’m talking about is in more trouble than I am.

And most of the time, I get the names right.

My guess is that both names have only three letters and I’m much more used to writing “Gus” than Bud. This will sort itself out, I suspect, without much trouble or drama. In a month, I will be writing “Bud” much more than Gus.

It is not a big deal to me, but it is to others.

Some people have attributed the name substitutions to me deep grieving for Gus. “Obviously, you miss him deeply,” wrote Jane, “you clearly want another Gus and you might consider changing Bud’s name to “Gus,” that will comfort you and be simpler.”

I am not, as some people know, a fan of projecting our emotions onto our animals, or onto our people either. Jane is projecting for sure..

I can’t really analyze every mistake I make in very blog, but I can say with ease that I am not mourning Gus, or even missing him much. And I loved him a lot. Once a week or so, either me or Maria will mention him fondly, and talk about what a loving character he was.

But the idea that I want another Gus strikes me as bizarre. And quite wrong. I am not into looking back or mourning what is gone or lost. I do not want another Gus, you might recall he had a slow and hard death from megaesophagus. And he is gone.

I never make assumptions about what other people are thinking, it is a recipe for disaster.

I think I’d be dead if I spent a lot time looking back. What for?

The last thing I want is for  Bud to be is Gus.

Gus has his time, and Bud will get his.

I don’t think there’s anyone on the earth that wants another Jon Katz to appear after I am gone.

My hope for him is that he will be Bud, period. What is exciting about Bud will be getting to know him, figure out what he is like, how to train him in a gentle and positive way.

I’ve loved a lot of my dogs – Pearl, Lenore, izzy, Rose, Orson, Frieda. I don’t want any of them back, I am not in mourning for any of them, although I think of them from time to time. I am grateful for what I have, I am hanging onto what I lost.

I grieve for my dogs when they die, but I also see extreme animal grieving as a symptom, not a trait. The miracle of dogs is that when one dies, we get to have another one. Why would I be sad about that?

Let’s let Bud be Bud.

I can’t wait to figure out what he is like. Gus has already faded into memory, and when Bud gets her, he will fade even more. I respect life, I don’t deny the reality of it.

I sure like what I hear about Bud. Looks like the beginning of October for Bud to get here.

(I saw this puppy on the FOHA/RI site,  it is not one of their dogs but a courtesy posting, the face got to me. Check her out.)


  1. I had to laugh when I read this post. Through the years not only did I call a dog the name of a previous dog but I constantly would mess up the names of our daughters when I was referring to them. Still so. Sometimes I go through all of their names before I get to the right one. I had an Uncle who always named all of his dogs Boy, so fortunately he only had one at a time.

  2. I see a very different dog in Bud. He seems more of this earth! Gus always was a spirit animal! No two animals are alike! I hope he fits into his own place on the farm. I hope he holds his own with Fate. Patience and love is what we all need. Good luck Bud!

  3. This made me laugh. My husband gets our pets’s names right, but always refers to the males as “she” and females as “he.” Of course, since they are cats, they pay attention to neither.

  4. Years ago my mother-in-law was aghast when I called our son Brian by our dog’s name “Alex.”I just told her that both respond to either name, although I never called the dog “Brian” by mistake.
    Last winter our dog “Bruin” died. When we decided this past spring to get 2 puppies (litter siblings) my husband decided to name the male puppy “Bruno.” We both usually shorten the name to “Bru” as he finds himself mixing up the 2 names, just as I often do-and I’m the dyslexic one.

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