My name is now Buddy.  It used to be Elvis.  That’s not because I was Elvis, you know, the singer but because it has been noted that I may be part hound.  Get the joke?  But they didn’t really know what I was.  I was wondering if I should write this in the first person or the first dog, so to speak, because I’d like to tell you my version of the events leading up to my adoption with my new family.  I was standing outside the Arf Dog Refugee Camp with a young handler when the most beautiful girl that I’d ever seen took notice of me and smiled the biggest, most gigantic, friendly smile at me as the wind caught her hair and blew her through the glass doors of the animal rescue center where I was biding my time.  With her she had, how can I say it, a big friendly teddy bear of a person also with a warm smile and deep raisin eyes.  I wondered if I would ever see them again.  Other families had come to look at me and I was just hoping for some kindness and love.  I had been shipped around quite a bit from kill shelter to kill shelter in North Carolina and had seen some things.  Some dogs get lucky. Some just get dealt a bad hand.  At six months I was almost too tall to be cute, but not to them.  When I got called into the office I was pleasantly surprised to see them waiting for me.  I felt an instant connection but then after fifteen minutes they left.  I felt despair and a deep sense of loss.  The next day came with regularity and a tinge of sadness.  I had dreamt of them and was still thinking of what life could be like with them, when a family of five, three children two boys and a girl, all about four feet tall and their parents, corralled me for a walk.  We walked and they touched me and the littlest boy hugged me as their mother told them in a militant voice how they would have to clean up after me.  All of a sudden a dog handler approached the father and whispered something to him and then went inside to the office.  The father seemed serious and annoyed.  After ten minutes I was also brought in where I found the pretty girl and the man from the day before.  The girl’s face was red and distressed as she held me and rubbed my neck with her gentle hands.  It happened that the girl’s name is May.  She had signed an application to adopt me the day before but the co-workers at the rescue center had misplaced her application.  The father of the children came in to state the case, that he didn’t really care, but his children were in love with me and how could he break the news to them that they had to select another dog.  Even though they had found the papers and May was in the right she was torn, thinking that if they didn’t get me two dogs would end up losing a home.  I have never seen such a sad face on a human before.  The father of the family of five insisted that it would crush his children.  I thought all was lost and May was going to give in to her gentleness when all of a sudden the man with the raisin eyes blurted out, “What about my child?” pointing at May.  In that moment the sadness got lost in the confusion of that bold statement.  That said everything.  Discussion closed.  The man with the raisin eyes was not May’s father but he became mine, and May is my mom.  But what they don’t know is that before I was Buddy the dog I was Johnny Carson, and being Buddy the dog is not so bad.

May Andersen and Julian Schnabel

Photo by KT Auleta

May, 8 1/2 months pregnant, Julian and Buddy