Who is Bubba?
Written by Doug Cook, Vice Chair of Bubba's Buddies
Bubba came into my life at just 5 weeks old (about 3 weeks earlier than you're supposed to get a new pup). The family who had a litter of boxer pups had a baby on the way, and the father got called to active military duty and they said the puppies just need homes, NOW. Needless to say getting a puppy so young (while frowned upon) created a bond unbreakable by no one or nothing. We formed a deeper bond than most dog owners and dogs maybe due to the young age of getting him, but maybe it is just Bubba.
From day one he was potty trained in a way where he knew what he needed to do, never needing my help or training, never having accidents like a typical puppy like he was an old soul in a young body, he just "knew". Honestly his whole life was like that, he just knew. He is a dog that doesn't need a leash to walk, a dog that never needed obedience training, a dog that cared and protected everyone around him.
Bubba spent nearly his whole life going on roadtrips and hanging out at work with me at my business, and that made him the ultimate people dog. He always greets you with a smile when you walk in the door, yes a smile (unless you are a delivery driver without a treat), if you know Bubba you know what I am talking about.
Over the years we brought many other dogs into Bubba's immediate life and space including his sister Teddie (boxer), and my business partner's two boxers (Lenox and Remi), and a whole mix of dogs our employees bring in with them to work. Every dog and person was "Bubba's Buddy". It was always amazing to watch him naturally take each new puppy under his wings as a mentor and their protector.
At age 5, Bubba was introduced to our Yellow Lab, Meatloaf. Meatloaf was a rescue dog that spent his first two years in a shelter. As a result, Meatloaf had severe resource protection issues and past trauma. So much so that he lashed out to Bubba and Teddie OFTEN as they were in his space and near his food. Over the years Bubba was on the receiving end of Meatloaf's aggression so many times, and each time he turned the other cheek and approached the next interaction with a smile.
About a year into these confrontations we were on a walk and a stray dog came up and attacked Meatloaf with a cheap shot from behind and continued to pin him to the ground and bite him. Completely shocked, both his mom Molli and I were unsure what to do to breakup this fight. When out of nowhere came Bubba who knocked this dog off of Meatloaf, chased him off, and he came back to check on Meatloaf. Mind you this is all the while Bubba is being on the receiving end of Meatloaf's regular aggression.
You see, Bubba is the type of dog that wants to smile, be happy, and see everyone around him safe and happy. Unfortunately his next challenge would be his toughest attack yet, this time it wasn't by Meatloaf or any other dog, but his personality was just what was needed to put up the fight.
In 2020, just 6 months before Bub's 10th birthday, he was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. As we learned, this disease attacks and kills the nerves of many breeds of dogs. From the onset of symptoms they say dogs have 6-9 months typically before they lose function of their rear legs completely and it begins shutting down important organs and other functions needed for day to day.
It was clear from day one of this disease that he just simply was going to keep going and not let this disease run his life. Everyday he works and keeps his eyes on the prize of moving forward and living with the disease so that he can keep up with his sister Teddie and brother Meatloaf. We spend much of our free time putting Bub through water therapy, chiropractic, and just care around the house. Everytime we think he is going downhill he works harder and does what it takes to get through and get back on the horse. Which is what inspired us to Bubba's Buddies.
Bubba's caring, nurturing, and never quit attitude made us think, if we take the same approach towards finding a cure for DM and helping other families we can overcome this and work through it. In many ways we think Bubba was put on this planet to inspire us and to help others, his story will live on, and with enough luck and determination we can conquer this mountain in his honor.
On November 2, 2022, Bubba left us and crossed the rainbow bridge. He spent two years fighting a disease that is not curable to spend more time with his family and also to inspire us.
Bubba's Buddies is here to help, to find a cure, and to win this fight to carry on in his legacy!