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About Buddy Bones Norman Nelson

Passed on February 17, 2024

10.29.2010 – 2.17.2024


Buddy’s story starts in the fall of 2010. While we don’t know much about his beginnings, we do know he was loved by a family who called him Norman.


Somehow, he ended up at a local impound. At risk of euthanasia, Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue stepped in and welcomed him to rescue. They called him “Bones.”


I first saw my handsome guy on CHDR’s Facebook page the fall of my senior year in high school. It was around that time that I had finally convinced my mom to try out fostering a “big” dog, after previously being under the constraints of small non-shedding dogs. I’m sure there was a PowerPoint, or a speech, or some presentation to showcase the value that would come from an experience fostering a dog like Buddy. Though the persuasion worked, none of us knew the magnitude to which Buddy would impact our lives.


It was the evening of November 6th, 2013, when a CHDR volunteer dropped “Bones” off at our door. She handed us the lead and said, “We’ve been calling him ‘Buddy.’” So, Buddy it was.


It didn’t take long for the entire Nelson family to fall in love. Though some were initially weary of his size and others not thrilled about the trails of hair, it was hard to resist the love that Buddy shared.


Before we knew it, Wally and Karen had agreed to make our home a 2-dog household again, and Buddy became the Nelson’s second foster failure. Though, we had some competition, Karen went to bat and made sure Buddy was home with the Nelson’s for good.


As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, we learned oh-so-much about our Buddy dog.

We quickly learned that Buddy was not a kennel dog. We learned that his favorite thing was to be where the people are, which caused us to often sing the Little Mermaid’s “I wanna be where the people are..” lyrics back to him. We realized he was likely a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, a lion hunter if you will. We discovered that his greatest fear was grates on the road and vents in homes. We learned that he thought he was a lap dog and had no problem helping himself to an open lap. We learned, along with his love for humans, he loved other animals too – befriending cats, rabbits, horses, and many doggos. We learned his go-to play move was a paw to the face – Boxer in the mix was no surprise! We learned that to get him riled up, all it took was a light blow of air to his nose. We found out he loved to swim, though he sometimes forgot he knew how to on first fetch of the day. Eventually, we discovered that if kayakers came too close to the shore, Buddy would follow after them, simply wanting to be where the people are. We discovered his love for tunneling, and eventually got him a man cave of his own.


Buddy was the kind of dog who could do anything. He was gentle with kids. Behaved at the dog park. Patient with the many dogs who he shared his home and humans with.


Though he had his ‘opportunities’ – looking back, they were all small details that today make us laugh.


He was the first to express disinterest in moving from our home in Lake Elmo. This is where he showed us he knew how to dig in the trash. While we thought he’d be okay once he found out we were moving to the lake, he proceeded to show us he could help himself to the meat in the freezer if he so desired. And while he eventually came around to being a Carnelian doggo, he did not care to be left behind if his humans were going for a boat ride. Without hesitation, he showed us he could open the sliding glass door and run out to the dock to catch the boat, in the case that we left him behind. To manage all his tricks, we thought we’d try kenneling again. To which he reminded us, he’s not a kennel dog, and has no issues escaping should he be left in one. His selective hearing is one for the books. If he was planning on going on a lake walk, well there’s really nothing that was going to stop him from doing just that. Luckily, our neighbors (well most of them) enjoyed his visits. Buddy also took it upon himself to train in my sweet sweet boyfriend. As any protective son might do, Buddy tested him on many occasions to ensure he was fit to love me. Some of our favorite “training sessions” include Buddy demanding to be on the bed, several accidents in the house, and of course, some eating of the trash.


Buddy was a dear friend to many. To strangers, who called him by name when passing him on the street with a “Hey Buddy” he was ever eager. He was a loving brother to his two dear sisters, Tiffany Ann and Belly June. A charming boyfriend to his many girlfriends, most notably Miss Mads and Lexi girl. He was known as fun Uncle Buddy to many foster pups. And to his humans, he was known not only as Buddy, but also as: Budweiser, Bud, Buddy Boy, Booty, Booty Butt, Mr. Crinkle Face, Woofie, Sniffy, Snoofaladoof, Lumpy, Niffy, and Gniffy.


And to me, he was my shadow. There wasn’t much of anything I did without him by my side. Buddy finished high school with me. He took a road trip to K-State to visit me in college. He was a frequent visitor at Roblyn during my years at St. Thomas. He worked at Dog Days with me. He started my first business with me and modeled for Project HAL. He moved in to my first home with me, and supervised our fence build for him. He kept me company as I embarked on remodeling houses. And on the daily, he loyally followed me from room to room. Eagerly jumped in the car, if invited to come along. Listened to my daily stories, worries, and wonders. And slept by my side every night.


In May of 2023, Buddy was diagnosed with oral melanoma by the diligent and dedicated team at Vet Partners. He underwent surgery to remove his mass and was referred to an oncologist for further treatment options. Unfortunately, his cancer was aggressive and had already spread by early June. We chose to provide comfort-care to Buddy in his remaining months of life.


And boy-oh-boy, was he a fighter! On October 29th, 2023, Buddy celebrated his 13th birthday with a backyard party in his fence surrounded by loving family and friends. He spent Christmas opening everyone’s gifts from under the tree. And he spent the last few weeks of his life surrounded by many of his dear family members.


We feel grateful to have loved Buddy as long as we did and find comfort in knowing he was ready and now is at peace. We believe he is flying high with his beloved sisters and friends: Tiffy girl, Juney, and Miss Mads.

He will live on in our hearts each and every day.

Until we see you again, sweet boy, we love you.