A Buddy To Everyone

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Before making his way to HHDR last year, Buddy (formerly Roman) lived with a foster family in Texas for a couple of months. While there, he got a taste of fame when he found himself on a reality TV show! When Buddy’s foster family went away on vacation, he stayed with a family friend who was filming the show “Married at First Sight.” Buddy appeared on 4 episodes (season 7 with the Dodds).

In June 2018, Buddy was adopted by his forever family, including Mom, Dad, two human brothers, and canine sister. Coaly!vvWe are happy to share a pupdate about this amazing dog, who is truly making a difference in the world. After spending time bonding with his new family, Buddy went to boarding school for a month at Certified K9 to learn how to be a therapy dog. He then started“working” in September 2018 with his Mom at South Jefferson Middle and High School.

Buddy was named in loving memory of one of his Mom’s former students, Parker Leikam, an amazing young man who was beloved by his family, friends, and community. He spread joy at South Jefferson every holiday season by dressing up as Buddy the Elf from the movie “Elf”, passing out candy canes and reading to the children at the elementary school. Sadly, Parker was tragically killed in a car accident in 2016. When Buddy’s soon-to-be mom read his profile on the HHDR website describing him as a giant goofball who loves everyone he meets, she immediately thought of Parker and wanted to honor his memory by naming the dog Buddy. Below is Buddy with Parker’s mother, Kristin, on the “Buddy Bench”dedicated in Parker’s honor at South Jefferson. Buddy and his Mom hang out on the bench regularly to visit with students.

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Buddy takes his job as a therapy dog seriously. He starts with bus duty every morning, greeting the students as they arrive at school. Buddy helps his Mom in her own classroom every day,and her students spoil him with toys, treats, and lots of love. When the bell rings he happily visits with students in the hallways. Buddy knows instinctively when it is the lunch ladies’ break and heads down to the cafeteria to join them daily fora special lunch treat they make just for him. Buddy also works with a special education class helping the students learn about dogs and how to interact with them. Mom says that Buddy has improved the atmosphere at the school by providing comfort and spreading joy to the students, staff, and community.

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Besides his work at the schools,Buddy also enjoys visiting an assisted living facility. Since he is so big,it is easy for those in wheelchairs to pet him.Many of the residents look forward to seeing him, as they had to leave their beloved pets behind when they moved into the facility.

When Buddy is done working for the day, he enjoys relaxing at home with his family. He loves to eat and has grown from 40 pounds at adoption to 125 pounds today! His favorite activity is digging, and he has dug bunkers all over his yard. He loves to be outside, no matter the weather. He refuses to come inside even when covered in snow in the bitter cold–he is kept warm by a double coat courtesy of being part Great Pyrenees. Buddy also enjoys bird watching and mud wrestling with his best dog friend, Novie. He has inspired his older canine sister Coaly to get off her recliner and play again. And of course, Buddy dearly loves his human brothers and follows them around the house and yard while they do typical boy things.

We are so proud of Buddy for doing such important work and spreading love and joy to everyone he meets. We are grateful to Buddy’s mom for all the time and effort she dedicates to his service dog mission at the schools and assisted living facility. We appreciate your support in helping dogs like Buddy find a “new leash on life!