15 Mar

bud on wall

I was with a girl, this was maybe 2007. We went to the county shelter in Burbank to get a cat. A young male because my last cat was cool. The cat room there is a long row of tanks with plexiglass in front, air holes. 30 cats but no young guys until the very last cat in the very last row. Black and fluffy with a white star on his chest. Who’s this handsome fellow. He’s one of the bucket cats, the woman said. Two kittens found in a sealed paint bucket. The sister adopted already. This guy was aging out of “cute kitten,” maybe headed for the firing squad.

I put my finger on the glass and said: hey, bud. He put his paw on my finger. On the way out the clerk with the paperwork said do you know his name, and I said: Bud.

I got a call at work. Someone at the neighbor’s left the gate open; the pit bull got out. Neighbor took him to the vet. They thought he might make it. He didn’t.

Nine years it was you and me. Now you’re gone and without you I’m gone too. I can’t move your food bowl. I hear you outside wanting to come in, get brushed, sit next to me on the piano bench while I look at stupid shit on the internet, you groom yourself. That was what we did most nights. You just sitting with me. Just being with each other.

We’d go out in the park in the morning. I’d sit and write and you’d rub against my legs and stalk things in the grass. Puff up when a dog was coming but stand your ground. You knew I’d protect you. I’d walk back toward home and you’d wait for me to get twenty feet and then run after me, try to catch my legs.

My cars came and went; you knew them all by sound. Come running up the street when I’d come home from work. Run along the high cinder block fence at eye level with me. I’d go in the door and you’d run up the stairs outside. I’d go to the base of the stairs and you’d run down them and run into the door. You loved that game.

bud on couch 2

Cars broke, girls left me. Hard jobs, hard days, and I’d put my face in your fur and you’d purr and it would be OK.

When I first got you home I let you out of the box in a dark quiet room. So you wouldn’t be scared. First day or so I’d just sit there and talk to you. When you trusted me enough I put out my hand. I don’t think you’d been petted before. You walked around me in a circle with your tail up, beside yourself with pleasure. Six weeks ago I started brushing you at night to entice you in earlier. You’d act just the same.

When you were little and I fed you, petted you, I’d make that ch-ch-ch sound so you’d know it meant good things, and I called you in with that every night. I want to make that sound now. Have you come in. Where are you, I can’t sleep if you’re out. Coyote might get you. I’ll go out in the dark and walk around. Call for as long as it takes for you to come. You’d come running up, follow me inside. Get in bed, knead the blanket with your claws and lay with me in the cold. Bud you can’t be gone. I come home and it’s not home now. Just stuff. Coming up the driveway without you running in the corner of my eye, scared of running you over. You weaving yourself into my legs while I was on the toilet. You crunching Meow Mix next to me while I was in the bath. Rustling the blinds perched in the bedroom window sill, always next to me. You stayed with me.

I moved your food bowl and I want to collapse. Leaving the door open waiting for you to come bounding in. You can’t be gone. Don’t be gone. They let me say goodbye but you’d already left. Brain swollen up from being shaken, on a respirator with a clip holding out your tongue. They let me touch you but you weren’t there. They’ll give me your ashes in a clay pot. It will have a nice paw print, the vet said. An expert at watching people cry. But I don’t think she’d seen anything like it.

God, I wish it was me. But then how would your life be after. I was the only one you trusted. It was a joke with the girls: the cat hates you. The man across the street came with a card. He said Bud was in my yard for years but never let me pet him. When you got fleas I gave you a bath myself because you’d have hated the groomer. I didn’t want you to be scared.

I’m sorry you were hurt and scared when you died, Bud.

I moved your food bowl and I want to put it back. Closed the door and now you can’t come in. I’m not ready for you to go. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you. I love you forever and I can’t let you go, I can’t.

You were a sweetheart. You were a tough bastard. You were a lap dog. You were a wild murderous savage; you’d uproot the gophers with their earth mover claws, laugh off the mockingbirds dive bombing you. You gave the dogs hell until they moved in with that killing machine. I think about killing him but he’s just an animal too.

You had a good life and a good home. You loved me and I loved you. I’ll let your ashes go in the park. When night comes and the wind blows in over the grass you’ll come home.



You can look into adopting a cat here.

You can support the Burbank Animal Shelter here.

61 Responses to “Bud”

  1. arsene wenger March 15, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

    Sorry man.

  2. pdwalker March 16, 2016 at 12:16 am #

    Ah shit.

    How did it happen?

    • anonymous March 16, 2016 at 1:37 am #

      It was a pitbull. Someone left the gate open.

      • pdwalker March 16, 2016 at 2:13 am #

        Missed that. Comprehension failure.

        I’d go biblical on the damned dog. It wouldn’t bring the fella back, but it’d make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

  3. JustSayNoToPitBulls March 16, 2016 at 12:39 am #

    The solution for pit bulls? Kill the dog, then kill the owner.

    • K-hole March 16, 2016 at 7:51 am #

      I was going to say kill all pitbulls and sterilize the owners but this is the Internet so the genocydal desires are already turned up to 11. What useless monsters they are. Their dyke owners think they’re misunderstood. They’re wrong, the spics know they’re violent beasts. That’s why they have them.

      I’m terribly sorry, DT. This is really heartbreaking.

  4. seriouslypleasedropit March 16, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    No one’s going to say anything that will really matter. A year from now, a month, a week, maybe even a day, only person in the world who will remember/care about the cat is DT.

    But it’s enough.

  5. Steve March 16, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    That is some of the most amazing writing I have ever read – every word captured the relationship you had with Bud.

    Sorry for your senseless loss.

  6. Borja @ thesinglerebel.com March 16, 2016 at 6:32 am #

    Fuck man, you almost put a grown man to tears at work.

    Sorry for your loss – I recently lost the family cat to cancer but Bud’s was just a bad way to go out.

  7. pdwalker March 16, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    Heart rending.

  8. Matty March 16, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Beautiful, I’m thinking of my loved cats too. Hopefully you can remember soon the joy of being loved by something without conditions.

    RIP, Bud

  9. G VIC March 16, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    What a post. Phenomenal

  10. Small March 16, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    Someone commented about killing your cat on the last post. I’m pretty freaked out, DT – are you playing games?

    • Small March 16, 2016 at 11:17 am #

      You know, after posting I realized that was probably you. Words are a waste of time here, I know, but I’m so fucking sorry. I wish there were more.

      • delicioustacos March 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

        @ Small– It was not me. I’m sure it wasn’t serious (and if it was–who cares now). But the reason the commenter said that was because part of the post was about how Bud was the only thing I was able to be grateful for in my life. He was what I loved the most.

      • Small March 16, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

        What absolutely fucked up timing, then. I was so impressed with your foreshadowing. I absolutely get *why* they said it – it’s just one of those things, I guess. Dickens said that real life was a long way stranger and more full of coincidence than he could ever write about.

        Meeting your cat turned out to be part of a fantasy I didn’t even know that I had about visiting you.

  11. Hosswire March 16, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    Sorry, brother.

  12. Atlanta Man March 16, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Tough year. Don’t you dare fucking drink. In a few weeks, go get a cat so you have something to be responsible for and love.

    Do.Not.Drink. Everything will get worse if you drink. With all the bullshit going on in your life if you stay sober through this you will be stronger. Stay up DT.

  13. killtoparty March 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    I’m really sorry about your cat. I read this before work and it made me cry.

    That cut into my masturbation time, you asshole.

  14. Anonymous March 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    I’m really really sorry man.
    It’s been super tough going latley huh?
    I’ll say a prayer for you and your Bud.

  15. JG March 17, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    Go read the rainbow bridge. Ah hell, here it is.


    Ma just lost an outdoor cat to a couple of pits (here in wonderful SE Michigan). We have older cats that are indoor/outdoor, but our younger cats and from here on out are going to be strictly indoors. Just too dangerous out there.

    As for the pit, follow your heart.

    • Anonymous March 21, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

      Jesus, don’t have him fuckin read that, he’ll want to kill himself so he can be reunited with his cat.

  16. RunsWithScissors March 17, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    Don’t have words but want you to know I feel your pain.

  17. thrasymachus33308 March 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    I’m sorry, man. A big hug.

  18. FRV March 19, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    When I was 19 my girlfriend at the time had two cats. I liked the black one. He had this unique African-sounding name, I can’t remember it. I’ll call him Shamu. One of his back legs was fucked so he’d move around with this funny cripple walk. I liked having him around. When her parents weren’t home and we’d be done with three hours of fucking we’d sit downstairs on the big leather couches under the blanket and the little guy would come chill next to me, lying on his side with his body pressed against my leg.

    One night the neighbors came over, distraught. Shamu had climbed over the wall and one of the dogs got to him. I ran to the yard and there he was, lying on the grass. His body moved up down with tiny, rapid breaths. His jaw was bent and broken and fucked up. I told my girlfriend not to come in the yard.

    Her mother came home and I tried wrapping him in a towel so we could drive to the vet. I sitting in the front passenger seat, holding him in my arms telling him to just stay with me. We got to the vet, it was closed. He had also stopped breathing.

    I got out of the car and bawled my fucking eyes out against a lamppost.

    Animals, man. They give you the kind of companionship that you can’t get anywhere else. Their every action is genuine; they don’t lack the human capacity for dishonesty. To receive affection from an animal is such a unique, heart-warming sensation on par with true love. And to know that an animal is suffering, that it is scared and in pain and about to leave this world…it’s fucked up.

    My sympathies man. You gave that cat a great life. It could’ve gone to some asshole who treated it like shit but instead it got to live with you.

  19. Ronnie Schreiber March 19, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    I think one reason we have pets, which we almost invariably survive, is to learn how to deal with loss and grief.

  20. Grand Maester Hymen March 19, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    Sorry to hear about your cat.

    You should beat the shit out of the owner of that pitbull.

    Put your muscles to good use.

  21. The Other DT March 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Long time listener, first time caller, love the show, hate the topic …

    Truly sorry about Bud.

  22. Crashlander March 20, 2016 at 4:33 am #

    First time long time here, DT. Truly sorry for your loss. And not to be able to say goodbye – unfair.

    Never had pets growing up but adopted an older cat with my ex many years ago.

    Only 3 times she saw me cry – day of our wedding, day the cat died, and the day she left me.

    This too shall pass.

  23. Ivan March 21, 2016 at 3:39 am #

    That ending was amazing. My condolences.

  24. Charles Bukowski March 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    The History Of One Tough Motherfucker

    he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
    a white cross-eyed tailless cat
    I took him in and fed him and he stayed
    grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
    and ran him over
    I took what was left to a vet who said,”not much
    chance…give him these pills…his backbone
    is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
    mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
    these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
    are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
    cut it off…”
    I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
    hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
    floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
    wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
    and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
    where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
    him and gently touched him and he looked back at
    me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
    by he made his first move
    dragging himself forward by his front legs
    (the rear ones wouldn’t work)
    he made it to the litter box
    crawled over and in,
    it was like the trumpet of possible victory
    blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
    related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
    bad but bad enough
    one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
    just looked at me.
    “you can make it,” I said to him.
    he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
    he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
    rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
    then got up.
    you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
    almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
    his eyes never left…
    and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
    life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
    shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look
    at this!”
    but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you
    say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
    “no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by
    things like this, by this, by this!”
    I shake the cat, hold him up in
    the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
    it’s then that the interviews end
    although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
    later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
    graphed together.
    he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

  25. Rachel March 25, 2016 at 1:17 am #

    I just lost it reading this. My cat climbed up next to me — they know when you’re upset — which made me cry harder. Brought back when I lost my old cat last summer and felt this same way. Never seen anyone describe it so well though.

    That feeling when everywhere you turn he should be there but isn’t is the most instantly crushing thing in the world. You didn’t even know how many sounds he made and habits he had until they’re suddenly missing.

    So, so sorry. RIP, handsome little guy.

    I second the commenter who said get another one; you’ll be ready sooner than you think.

  26. grande fappachino March 26, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    sorry for your loss

    time to get new pussy I suppose.

  27. Mark Boris March 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    It’s interesting how animal suffering can be even more senseless than human suffering. From human suffering we can grow stronger and learn from it. We can become better and wiser after enduring adversity.

    Not so with Animals. They don’t know why they suffer and it only leads to a diminishing. They aren’t better for it afterward.

    I hope at the End of Time, God will redeem all of nature, including the Animals, not just us Humans.

    Happy Easter.

  28. Matthew Walker April 17, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Oh, Jesus.

    I’m so sorry.

  29. Anonymous April 14, 2018 at 9:49 pm #

    Can’t stop crying.

  30. Anonymous October 30, 2018 at 7:10 am #

    Fuck. This made me cry, man

  31. Gsy faggo6 April 8, 2019 at 9:05 pm #

    Everytime I read this you make me get a tear in my eye. Love you dt

  32. deb June 9, 2019 at 7:40 am #

    Please keep your beloved kitties indoors. Too many dangers in the world out there. my two sweeties never been outside, and they are happy & healthy. S

    • Abracaxandra August 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

      Not all cats are happy trapped indoors. I was “lucky”- Mine had been so abused before she found me that she was terrified to cross the threshold to the outdoors. I understand what you’re saying but life’s gotta be lived by the soul occupying any given body. Bud was so much like a cat I used to live with, who wouldn’t be the cat he was in a limited world. There are people who try to protect their children similarly on the same premise and it’s never healthy.

      Don’t shame an amazing pet owner because they don’t do as you do.

  33. Bermuda Sullivan June 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for writing this. Do it all again, please. There are hundreds of thousands of Buds, even though at the same time there was only one Bud. Mine was Elmo.

    • Anonymous January 6, 2020 at 8:18 am #

      So sorry for your loss. Bud looked and sounded a lot like my old Tom, who eventually lost his long fight with cancer.

      Your neighbors should pay a heavy price for their irresponsibility…

  34. Abracaxandra August 25, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

    I love this. So personal and real. I completely lost it on the last line and now I’m looking through all my old photos of four leggeds. This kind of love is different. I wish I could feel this way about people or at least one person …

  35. commanderchadguevara October 31, 2020 at 4:59 pm #

    Loved it, man, thanks


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