Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Goodbye Little Buddy

Posted August 25, 2008

My heart is heavy today. The Leslie nest seems painfully empty. My son Will recently returned to Boone for his sophomore year at Appalachian State. Over the summer our daughter Lauren, who spent her first year as a first grade teacher at home with Cindy and me, spread her wings and moved into her own apartment. Over the weekend Sparky moved out to canine heaven.

I called him “Little Buddy” and we had him for 15 wonderful years. He was smart, feisty and persistent.  He taught us well. We knew he deserved a dog biscuit everytime he successfully did his business outside and every time some visitor would come calling. He earned additional treats by performing tricks. He could do the usual - sit, lie down and roll over and jump high over a yard stick. He had two specialty tricks - taking coins out of my hand and sneezing on command. Sparky learned tricks even faster than his uncle Barney, made famous by radio host Bob Inskeep in the 1980's.

Speaking of Barney, I dreamed last night of a place that seemed a lot like heaven. It was a very happy place. My childhood dog Sputnik was there running around playfully with Barney, Sparky and Inky who was Cindy's favorite pup growing up in Cary. I can't help but believe heaven is a lot like what I dreamed.

Saturday afternoon I cradled Sparky in my arms one last time and assured him for the 1,000th time how much I loved him and how much everyone in our family loved him. Yesterday morning Cindy awoke at 5:45A.M. That had been Sparky's wake-up time in recent months due to a growing kidney problem. Cindy missed his bark, his persistence and his wagging tail.

I wanted to share with you one of the last photographs of Sparky. It was taken on our porch in the mountains a few weeks ago. We'll miss you Little Buddy. You brought us all a great deal of joy.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • rachelstar Sep 1, 2008

    Bill, Just heard about Sparky, and like many others cried when I read your story. I am sure Gilbert was there with Barney to welcome him to heaven. (The 16th will mark six years since we lost our precious Gil....I still miss him & cry when I think about that day) My thoughts and prayers are with you & Cindy, Lauren & Will...Chopper sends his love too...j

  • ladybug23 Aug 28, 2008


    sorry for the lost of your beloved pet. It always hurts when we lose the furry members of our families. We just lost one of our kitties this spring. I think about her every day!! The empty nest thing...been there too. But now, we have the grandbabies and oh do they make my heart sing!!

    LOve your music!!

  • kleddins Aug 26, 2008

    There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors.Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge,there is a land of meadows,hills and valleys with lush green grass.When a beloved pet dies,the pet goes to this place.There is always food and water,and warm Spring weather.Those old and frail animals are young again.Those who have been maimed are made whole again.They play all day with each other.But there is only one thing missing.They are not with their special person who loved them on earth. So,each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up.The nose twitches,the ears are up,the eyes are staring,and this one suddenly runs from the group.You have been seen,and when you and your special friend meet,you take him/her in your arms and embrace.Your face is kissed again and again and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together,never again to be separated

  • sweetestrn3 Aug 26, 2008

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have a Spikey that looks just like your Sparky and with the Lord's will he will be 18 in December. I can remember 7 years ago when we were planning our wedding I would pray every day for him to live long enough to be our ring bearer and now this many years later I am so thankful to still have him. I will keep you in my prayers. I know how animals become a big part of the family because mine is the child I never had.

  • suit27511 Aug 26, 2008

    Bill, our family lost our 16 1/2 year old chihuahua, Mickey, this summer. The void is intense. I am glad you found comfort in your dream of Sparky in heaven. I believe our animal family members WILL be there when we finally arrive. I am so glad for the joy Sparky brought your family. May you all be comforted.

  • SLAYER Aug 26, 2008

    I understand the feeling of emptiness all to well. It's been two years since we lost "Lady" and she was a member of the family as well. My daughter will be leaving for college in two years and the wife and I are already getting the empty nest syndrome.

  • pingmanreturns Aug 25, 2008

    We lost our "Snowball" a couple months ago after thirteen years. As you, we have lost a member of our family.

  • Ninnyboo Aug 25, 2008

    Lifting prayers for you and your family. Fur babies are a special part of the family that continually remind us about unconditional love. My first "baby" crossed over Rainbow Bridge at the age of 15 1/2 years almost 8 years ago, and I still miss her.

  • bluewind Aug 25, 2008

    I had a 16 1/2 year old lab who died almost 6 years ago. I still miss her!!! I'm so sorry for your loss...

  • gatkmartin Aug 25, 2008

    Bill, I've cried over your dear Little Buddy until my head is all stopped up. I'm so sorry for your loss. Our "critter kids" are special to us, and it's hard to lose them.




Meet the Author
Bill Leslie