Rainbow Bridge


Race name: Bb's Bugs By U
Born: Friday April 4, 2003
Passed: Saturday October 22, 2016
Adopter: Paul & Liza Downey


In 2006, we had just moved to Nashville – Paul returning home after years away at College, and me for the first time. One weekend, we visited the 100 Oaks shopping center and noticed something strange going on at PetSmart – people were crowded around with these big, beautiful, gentle dogs that we instantly recognized as greyhounds. From that day forward, we visited meet and greets regularly and, after marrying in April, 2007, decided that a greyhound would be a perfect fit for our family.

Pam Neiman called in early July to set up our home visit. We had perused the website, dreaming of a specific dog that had the most beautiful brindle coat and shining brown eyes – she had won several races, nine to be exact, including one on Paul’s birthday in a previous year. Her name was BB’s Bugs By U, and while we happily acquiesced to the wisdom of the home visit and selection process, we secretly began imagining life with Bugs By U. When she arrived at our home with the other candidates, she immediately made her way to our newly-acquired rug, purchased on our honeymoon in Istanbul, squatted, and peed right in the center of it. We were smitten. We decided to call her Bugs, yet her call name was the full Bugs By U, and throughout her life when you said “Bugs By U” to her, she would lick her lips and look at you intently.

A little over a year later, we moved to a new house that brought with it a larger, fenced backyard and lots of squirrels and rabbits. Bugs, or Bukie, as she became known, loved that yard so; as did many foster dogs over the course of our years there. During that time, she traveled with us: notably, Savannah, GA, and Tybee Island, where she was evicted from the beach; Oxford, MS, where she had her own bed at the Super 8 motel; and many trips to and from my family home in Laurel, MS, where my mother doted on her “boo-boo bear.” In her later years, instead of travel she enjoyed the companionship found in her visits with Cathy Wilder’s hounds.

In 2012, we welcomed a son, Daniel, and brought him home to meet his big sister. She was less than impressed at first, but as the years went by they became best friends. She never reacted harshly to him, and he was a perfect gentlemen to her from the beginning; he knew she was the first. Last year, a daughter, Betsy, arrived, and Bukie again bore the mantle of big sister with dignity, grace, and deference.

This April, we moved our growing family to a new home – another fenced backyard, again plenty of critters to stalk and room to roam. Indoors, Bukie was fond of having another baby in the house, especially one that liked to share Cheerios and peanut butter with her. Just two weeks ago on a walk in our new neighborhood Bugs, ever the showstopper, was complimented for her regal beauty and gentleness with the children.

Friday night, October 21, was beautifully crisp weather and Bugs took a longer time than usual in the yard. “Fall fever” is nothing new for her, in fact, we anticipate her friskiness every year; but when she didn’t return to the door and give her traditional bark, we were a bit concerned. She was very wobbly so we decided an extra Rimadyl and a plan for an early morning vet trip was prudent. As she lay on her bed in our room, we noticed her breathing had become a bit more labored, but she was still very peaceful and seemed to have a level of comfort and poise that belied what would happen next. We will forever remember, with heavy yet grateful hearts, that were by her side as she passed – mere hours after she was frolicking in her big backyard.

In the days after, I was reflecting on her racing career – a time of her life we were not present for. It occurred to me that her nine wins foreshadowed for the nine winning years she would give to us, years filled with love and happiness – each truly a victory. Saturday morning when I was speaking tearfully to Daniel about Bukie’s death, I said, “Daniel, I’m just so sad.” He looked at me as seriously as a four year old can and said, “But Mommy, I don’t like to be sad.” I was struck by his comment, and pledged to not think of the sadness, but rather celebrate her as best we can by remembering the good times we had with our Bukie.