The good dog

Here’s your daily dose of sweetness. Well, bittersweetness anyway.

The Boston Globe lovingly tells the story of Jeff Schwartz, 61, who went out for a walk in Boston with his 9-year-old dog, Buddy. He had the “walk” signal at an intersection, but a bus load of kids is no match for a “walk” signal.

It hit him. It hit his dog. Buddy was dead. Jeff was badly hurt. But nobody knew who he was. He had no identification. Eventually he was ID’d by the tag on his dog. One last save for Buddy.

His leg was amputated and his wife was afraid to give him the worst of the news: Buddy was dead.

Over months of rehabilitation, his caregivers braced for the wave of sorrow that would come over his missing leg. It never came.

Still, he felt an emptiness in his heart. He embraced the feeling of living “a second life,” treasuring the sort of notes from friends usually saved for funerals, cherishing a rejuvenated relationship with his 27-year-old son. But something was missing.

“I was dog-starved,” he would later say. “Buddy-starved.”

Given a choice, he told his wife, he would have picked Buddy over his own leg every time.

He had a seizure. He fell. He broke his hip.

Still, he vowed two things: he’d return to work, and he’d rescue a dog.

They brought her out; his heart fluttered — that speckled white coat, those black-lined eyes like a silent-film star. Mandy was shy around new people, afraid of most men, but she warmed to him immediately. He tried walking her and she followed his lead, not pulling even once. He scratched her head and ears and massaged her gums; she calmly let him do as he pleased.

“She knew I was different,” he said. “She had a sixth sense.”

He and Moss were in tears — “blubbering idiots,” he recalled — and took Mandy home that day. Then Schwartz brought her over to his neighborhood vet, where they knew how he adored Buddy; the doctor and tech crouched down on the floor for the exam, putting Mandy at ease. When Schwartz pulled out his wallet afterward, they told him it was free.

He’s still trying to recover. He wishes nothing but peace for the bus driver who faces criminal charges.

He’s got a dog.

He described the last weekend in September, when they took Mandy to their cottage in Maine. Together they walked down to the tide pools where Buddy loved to splash and play, carrying the box with his remains; they kissed it, and Mandy was silent and still. When Buddy’s ashes hit the water, Schwartz saw Mandy’s tail start to wag.

Read the full story in the Globe. If you’ve had a dog in your past, have a tissue ready.