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Cheryl Wicks: A whole lot of love

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Kaleb and Buddy the dog.

Christmas is all about love, the best gift we can give anybody. We gather together (although this year on a much more limited basis) with family and friends. We eat great food, sing Christmas carols, give each other presents, all in the name of love, to let others know we care. I usually write a column with information that will help you keep your pet safe or help them with a behavioral problem. This time my gift to you is an uplifting “love story.“ This is a love story of a man, Kaleb, and his dog, Buddy.

Buddy is a pitbull Kaleb adopted from Sammie’s Friends in May of 2017. He came to the shelter to meet another dog, but when he saw Buddy he wanted to meet Buddy. Kaleb spent time playing with Buddy and saw his goofy fun personality. Buddy went home with Kaleb. Kaleb has never regretted his choice of Buddy as the dog he would adopt. He calls himself Buddy’s Dad. He is Buddy’s everything.

It is however, a reciprocal relationship, they love each other and get and give a lot of joy to each other.



On Nov. 25, Buddy was attacked by a 350 pound bear. The bear was about to kill Buddy when Kaleb spotted what was going on. Kaleb headed for the bear and repeatedly punched him until he let go of Buddy. Kaleb says, “Well, what would you do if that was your kid?”

Kaleb says, “Buddy is my kid. I had to save him. He is everything to me.”



I asked him what trait he has that allowed him to fearlessly take on a bear. He says “What else could I do?” Well, this is almost unbelievable, but Kaleb won and got Buddy out of the bear’s mouth and out of harm’s way. In spite of Buddy’s multiple lacerations, he recovered. He looked pretty bad but his injuries were not life threatening. Kaleb took Buddy to Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital where Dr. Emily Campbell, DVM, provided the Mother Lode magic and put Buddy back together again. Mother Lode reports that Buddy was a very good patient with a great PaPa.

I asked Kaleb if he was a really buff, gym jock. I also asked if he was a really big man. Kaleb is an average size man of 5’11” and a normal weight of 205. He’s not a really “big tough dude.“ He says he has done construction and works on cars so in the course of his normal activities he has a reasonable amount of strength but isn’t “superman.” He just loves his dog and some inner force took over.

Kaleb grew up with a family dog, a Boxer, but Buddy is the first dog that is his dog. They are bonded and locked together in some amazing way.

I’m sure many of you reading this will relate as you may have had that special bond with a cat, dog, horse, that is pure love. Buddy has a total understanding of what Kaleb is about and vice-versa. Buddy and Kaleb live out in the country and they do see deer, fox and bears and Buddy just watches them and there has never been a problem. Buddy loves everybody (all critters).

Here’s another interesting part of this story. When Kaleb adopted Buddy, he was part of Sammie’s Friends Lonely Hearts Club. Any animal that is with us longer than 60 days automatically becomes a member of this club. Buddy had been at the shelter for four months. He had been passed over all that time, as is often the case with the pitbulls. We have noticed over time that many of the cats and dogs that get passed over just seem to be waiting for someone special, as they often end up in the best homes ever. Buddy was waiting for Kaleb and Kaleb was waiting to find the perfect dog for his first dog.

“Buddy is perfect in his own way. He is one of a kind. He loves like no other. He totally understands me,” said Kaleb.

I wish you all a lot of love during this very special season of the year. I hope you find this story inspiring as a difficult year is coming to a close.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Cheryl Wicks is the President and Co-Founder of Sammie’s Friends.


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