My Buddy Passed Today

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 40 Comments

My Buddy passed today.  Bradley was eleven years old Chow-Akita mix I adopted from the post pound as a puppy.  A “Chakita”, if you will and it always caused me an internal chuckle when folks “recognized” the breed.  He was a ball of fur that plowed along despite any obstacle either bowling them over or bouncing off of them without a whimper and so I named him after the 30T Bradley Fighting Vehicle that carries our Infantry into the fight.  It was an apt name as Bradley came to embody many of the qualities of that vehicle that protected the Infantry and of the Infantry itself.  He matured into an 80+ lb legend.

Chows and Akita’s are a dog persons dog.  Bradley had the black tongue of the Chow among the oldest breeds as is the Akita which Bradley favored.   The Akita is a strong, hardy, independent and dominant breed aloof with strangers, affectionate with family (just like Infantrymen).  They are an intensely loyal dog as the story of Hachi  demonstrates.  Bradley looked a lot like the dog that played Hachi in the film. 

Bradley loved the outdoors but was an inside dog who slept on the floor at my side.  He was an excellent watchdog and I believe the primary reason I was never robbed when running a store in a high crime area of my town.  Bradley was distant to everyone except our pack and his deep bark, wolf like visage and golden eyes were simultaneously beautiful and intimidating.  His deep affection for stuffed animals that squeaked contrasted mightily against his fearsome image and regal stature.  He took it upon himself to always be on watch whether it was trespassing squirrels in the back yard surrounded by his stuffed animals or the knock at the door or suspicious noise at night.  His bark was always a justified call to check something out.  He was a talker, who chirped, mumbled and whined about all things real and imagined (again, like most Infantrymen).

Bradley’s greatest desire was to please me and after his strong willed moments would immediately seek me out for forgiveness.   His best times were pulling security when we walked, playing catch, being chased around the house with a toy in his mouth and a good backrub he would get when he’d stand between me and the TV.  Bradley was strong willed and used a growl both as a warning and a greeting.  You just had to know him to know which one he meant (like I said, just like Infantrymen).

Bradley was truly a gift from God.  He always raised my spirits.  His demeanor and appearance exuded pride.  His growl, raised hair on his back and bared teeth made me feel invincible against any threat and I was.  His deep penetrating stare, broad smile and slobbering tongue physically manifested love.  He taught me nothing was more important than loyalty and love infinite.  He was a legend.

Bradley passed quickly this morning after several days of mobility issues.  He has left a gaping chasm in my heart that will be filled with the many fond memories I have of him.  I can only pray to be worthy of the intense devotion and affection he gave me.  I’m sure he will be at the gates when it’s my time.  I hope the Lord supplies me a stuffed animal to give him. 

Bradley Rear View Cropped

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  • LauraKinCA

    Will, I’m so sorry Bradley is gone. I know how much he meant to you and will suffer alongside you remembering my buddy of 16.5 years that I lost 2.5 years ago. I have a new buddy by my side, to help heal my heart. She will never take Molly’s place, but is loved for her own self. Laura

  • momengineer

    I am so very sorry…our canine friends are such a special part of our lives.  You wrote beautifully of him…

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    What a beautiful dog, maj. Sorry for your lost, and thanks for sharing him with us.

  • clluelo

    Oh Major I am so sorry for your loss. Bradley sounds incredible. He riminds me of my Chow-Belgian Ralphy beautiful proud and with the same stuffy addiction.

  • 5000area375

    My condolences. Dogs are truly mans best friend.

  • mattehunt

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss and loved this article. What a wonderful celebration of life and remembrance. Dogs get a rank boost over their handlers right? 😉 Hooyah LTC Bradley!

  • Appreciate tremendously everyone’s comments.  They do offer a level of comfort to my wife and I as we go through this difficult time.  Bradley would be very unhappy with our unhappiness as he would try and bring us out of our doldrums by sharing a stuffed animal and if that wasn’t enough would lie underfoot and sulk with us or almost imperceptibly whine.  
    We’ll find a way to honor him and drive on as he forever resides in our heart.

  • Txazz

    Maj, after reading your wonderful tribute to Bradley,  I am one soppy mess.  How precious is the life of a belove pet – more than a pet.  My deepest heartfelt sympathy to you and your wife and pray each day will bring that happier memory and of course, you’ll have your stuffed toy with you as Bradley runs to greet you.  Not one doubt in my mind.  Thanks for sharing your best friend which I’ll grieve tonight but, remember, joy comes in the morning.

  • The Ed

    I’m so sorry to hear about Bradley, Will.  My greatest wish for the afterlife is to be reunited with all the furry family members that went before me.  We give them the love and attention that we can spare and they give us everything they have in return.  You have written a beautiful eulogy here for everyone to see and remember Bradley by.  My condolences to you and your wife.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Sorry to hear that Rod. He gave you his loyalty and friendship, always hard to replace. They just aren’t on the Earth long enough and always seem to leave us way to soon…..

  • oldSquid(Mafia)

    Sorry to hear about losing Bradley, Will, and I agree with The Ed on this one.
    Sorry, Brother. My condolences to you and your Wife

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Episode of the Twilight Zone.  Old mountain man and his coon dog drown… Show up at road that leads to gates of Heaven.  Guy at gate won’t let dog in… dog growling anyway… Old man refuses to enter without dog so just keeps walking down main road… finds out from another guy down the road that first guy laying trap for unwary folk heading them to nether regions.  This guy at road running to real place… Dog welcome… plenty of coon hunting too…  
    .
    …Just a story.  But as Rod Serling said, “Always pay attention to what your dog is trying to tell you…”
    .
    -YP-

  • Again, our deepest thanks for the well wishes and sharing .  We picked up Bradley’s ashes today.  
    Bradley’s features resemble a wolf in some respects and I’ve developed some artistic skills in my post military business.  I’m going to repaint a suitable bust and mount it on his cherry wood box, maybe set a miniature red teddy bear next to it (his first stuffed animal).
    Denise and I are composing a list of all the “Bradleyisms” so we never forget.  Things like him using stuffed animals as pillows, his fascination with cows (I guess they looked like funny looking dogs to him), the way he chirped while watching squirrels jump from branch to branch in the 100′ pines in the yard and how he would on occasion take a break from standing guard out back to stick just his head in the doggy door to confirm there was nothing going on in the house requiring his attention.

  • YankeePapaOne of the top three Twilight Zone episodes in my estimation.  

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”


    http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/132444.Will_Rogers

  • Ishaan

    My deepest condolences, Will. I’m sorry to hear about Bradley.

  • WojciechGawel

    I’m truly sorry for your loss… 🙁

  • GodblessUSSF

    Very sad to hear this Will. I went through the same thing this past year. It is truly losing a family member when you’ve had that kind of investment, and connection and visa versa with a dog. They seem to teach you as much as you teach them in their love and desire to make sure you know they love you and everything is alright.

  • taberphoto

    Sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Recon6

    Hey brother, I send heart felt condolences, having lost several Mastiffs (short life span) I fully Understand the pain you are experiencing.  Words do little to convey the sorrow I feel for your loss, but know it comes from my heart.  God blessed you with this wonderful companion and I hope another comes along in due time.  Till then I send prayers and best wishes….6

  • HM1 (FMF) Ret.

    majrod  Condolences..

  • engelbrad

    Hey Will, Catching this late.
    May he meet you at the gates and keep watch over the rest of your journey. Sounds like a great friend, and while I’m so sorry for your loss, thanks for sharing a little bit about Bradley… God Bless Will!

  • Tango9

    There’s no words.  Brother, I lost Nero two weeks ago.  14 year old german shep.  He was all of 7 inches tall and stood with my best man at my wedding many moons ago.  I can’t sleep, have nightmares, it’s been hell.
    I know what you’re going through. 
    Losing a friend sucks ass.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Tango9 Sorry to hear that T. When you have that bond that pain doesn’t fade fast….

  • LauraKinCA

    Tango9 You already know you have my deepest sympathy for your loss of Nero, so I won’t say it all again to you. Yes, it most certainly sucks ass to lose your friend and companion.

  • Tango9

    ArcticWarriorTango9Yeah it never goes away.  And maybe I’m a nut, but I don’t want it to.  Have a feeling you guys are onboard with that idea.

  • LauraKinCA

    Tango9ArcticWarrior Every year for the couple days leading up to Molly’s death are the hardest for me, then it eases again for a while. No, I don’t want the pain to totally go away.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Tango9ArcticWarrior Nah you’re not a nut…its 30,000 years of humanity making a bond with the canids …. you either get it or you dont

  • Tango9

    ArcticWarriorTango9I was going to go see Lone Survivor this weekend, but gddam, you can only take so much lol

  • LauraKinCA

    Tango9ArcticWarrior I’ve seen it twice and it doesn’t get any easier to watch it. Either go alone or with someone who really gets the story.

  • Tango9

    LauraKinCATango9ArcticWarriorWe were going to go today because Broncos! and the movie theater will probably be empty… But think I’ll catch it on a matinee in the middle of the week.  Snatch the wife up from work in a kidnapping and sit in the back.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Tango9LauraKinCAArcticWarrior Watch for leaking eyes…. odd how mine leaked a bit

  • Tango9

    ArcticWarriorTango9LauraKinCADude, just reading the book…. I gave it to my cousin because after I was done I knew I’d never be able to read it again.
    I’m skared to see it.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Tango9ArcticWarriorLauraKinCA I admit I was hesitant but I’m glad I did, they get the emotion right

  • LauraKinCA

    majrod That sounds like a wonderful tribute to a great dog. I have Molly’s ashes in a nice oak box with an engraved plaque. Sits on my mantle next to a multiple picture frame with my favorite pics of Molly and a couple of Jazzy too.

  • Recon6

    Tango9
          a hole in your Heart that is never filled, so Sorry for your loss….6
    Tango9ArcticWarrior

  • Jake75

    Tango9 LauraKinCA ArcticWarrior Recon6  I agree with “go alone or with someone who really gets the story.” I went with my dad and grandpa, I’m not sure if they got it more than the fact that those guys are badass. But then again I don’t even completely get it. I wish the school had more Lone Survivor copies and pressed the reading of them (we have one LS compared to eight Hunger Games copies). The only modern military memoir from the library I’ve seen people reading is No Easy Day  (Not that’s a bad book, it was the first one I read).

  • Tango9 Appreciate the sentiments and wish I could say something as consoling.  I’m empty.  The shock has worn off but the emptyness remains.
    I’ve been blessed to not have nightmares.  Our prayers are with you and your wife.

  • LawyerHandle

    Sorry to hear about this. Few things are worse than saying the final goodbye to a pet.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    Recon6Tango9ArcticWarrior 
    I’m waiting for “Lone Survivor” on Netflix, but did they address the FAST rope=compromise idea in the movie?

  • Condolences on your loss, Will.