The Rainbow Bridge Welcomes A New FurAngel - Buddy, the Christmas Husky - A Forever Symbol of Hope for Rescued Dogs

Original photo by and courtesy of Lisa Byrd; modified by FiveSibes

The Rainbow Bridge must be some (p)awesome place to be for it has so many amazing, beautiful angel animals there. My beloved Gibson is there. As is my Chelsey, Sandy, kitty Smokie, bunny Sunny, my fox Ah, many horses, and so many others pets. We have many furfriends who have also crossed The Rainbow Bridge. All of these beloved animals are healthy and happy, with all the dogs enjoying their zoomies and playing Fetch all day in a land that is eternally beautiful. Sounds perfect. Only catch is when our devoted companions are there, we can no longer physically be with them. So while they are in a place where the spirit soars, our hearts are broken as we are missing them here with us. It is a hurt we all as pet parents now way too well. 

And today, as unbelievable as it seems as I write this, we have to bid a final farewell to another dear furpal, Buddy, the Christmas Husky, who has now earned his wings and has made his journey to North of the Rainbow Bridge.

Photo of rescued Buddy courtesy of Shari Baillargeon

As many of you know, Buddy's story is what my book, Buddy the Chrismas Husky~Based on a True Holiday Miracle is about. His tale started out very tragic, where he was abused, shot, sick, and abandoned, left wandering the cold, snowy streets in an Arkansas town until a good Samaritan named Geneva Ryan stepped out into traffic that snowy Christmas Day and saved him. Through a whole online community known as "Team Buddy," Buddy found his way to his amazing and loving foster "Mama Shay" Shari Baillargeon, states away in Georgia, who opened her heart and home to to the sickly, barely recognizable Siberian Husky. 

Mama Shay, with the continued help and support from Team
Buddy, nursed Buddy back to a much healthier boy under the veterinarian care at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, and she bestowed upon him so much love and healing, and shared his journey with us, reaching out and traveling to meet so many of Buddy's friends across states. Mama Shay provided him with a rescued dog's dream life. The unique thing about Buddy's story is that Team Buddy is a worldwide community of dog lovers, most who have never met in person, who joined together to help him throughout his ordeal, and continued to support Mama Shay and Buddy all through his health issues, some that stayed with him leftover from his unknown days of abuse, and a more recent diagnosis of lymphoma.

"Just remember me when you see the next 'mangy mutt' on the side of the road. Instead of blowing your horn or shooing me away, pick me up and offer your kindness and help! The world can be a better place with one act of kindness, which leads to others."
~Buddy, the Christmas Husky via Mama Shay

Book illustrations by Barbara K. Slocum
Mama Shay and Buddy's incredible story touched my heart so much that I was inspired to write the book about his life, from what I thought would be Buddy's point of view, along with a timeline of photos chronicling his journey from abuse and abandonment to rescue and love. The book, published by my ArcticHouse Publishing, not only tells of this rescue story, but a portion of sales I donate to help with, even if in a small way, Buddy's ongoing healthcare expenses. It's a book I'm very proud of and many thanks go out to the amazing FiveSibes and Buddy communities who purchased Buddy's book, which in turn enables me to make the donations. 

Latest book sales donation to Mama Shay's "Buddy's Buddies" Fund

Buddy, the Christmas Husky star has arrived!

Me meeting Buddy! Love at first sight!

This past summer, I had the joy of meeting this handsome boy when Mama Shay and Buddy drove from Georgia up the East Coast to upstate New York with traveling companions fellow Siberian Husky, Nala, who Mama Shay was fostering, and Nala's new adoptive Mom, Susan. They came to join me in a book signing event and a meet and greet at The Parish in New Paltz, where Buddy was the star! Children and adults alike loved meeting him, and Buddy, well, he was in his glory! It is a day that was so special and filled with love. One that I will cherish forever.

Photos by Linda Mae Brownell

Photo by Judy Herron

Photo by Linda Mae Brownell

The day was such a fun-filled special day for all of us, many who traveled great distances, including several states, just to attend! The wonderful folks from Husky House Siberian Husky & Fellow K9 Rescue came up from New Jersey to join us! You can check out all of the fun here in this video:

Our fun "The New York Adventures of Buddy & Nala" cartoon strip from the day! We all know Huskies are characters and have a great sense of humor, and Buddy and pal Nala show us that!

At the close of the day, they were tired, but happy Huskies!

 Buddy was the cover Husky of American Pet Magazine, where my article on him, Mama Shay, and Team Buddy was published. And he was my lead story about Buddy the "Traveling Husky" coming to the Hudson Valley, New York gracing the pages of Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine.

Buddy and Mama Shay were guests twice on my FiveSibes "The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio Show! You can tune in here to hear his story:

December 2016

 December 2012

Today, Mama Shay shared with the Buddy community the following:

Mama Shay & Buddy by Lisa Byrd
"Mama Shay here. This is the hardest post I have ever had to write. Our Precious Buddy ~ The Christmas Husky has gone over The Rainbow Bridge. I am devastated but it was the right decision for Buddy. The MRI showed a tumor in his spinal cord. We could have waited to see if he could walk again on his own but he was very stressed and upset that he couldn't use his legs. He was always used to being the Strong Husky In Charge and he didn't like being helpless at all. He was in pain that I couldn't control at home. We all have Our Angel Buddy watching over us now. It was storming and pouring down rain when I was leaving UGA, Buddy cleared the sky for me so I didn't have to drive home through it. He is already taking care of me and I am sure he is watching over all of you who love him so much. I hope you understand that I won't be on much right now, my heart is hurting. I hope Buddy's page and legacy can be used for something good to honor him. We will have to decide what route to take but hope that you will all stay with us as we remember and honor our Special Husky In Charge. I want to send a special Thank You to Veronica Doster-Booth and Amanda Bee for coming to the hospital and being with me during this difficult time. Buddy has brought so many wonderful people into my life, he was a blessing as are each of you. We love you all!"

The Christmas Husky by Shari Baillargeon
Mama Shay has been such an amazing, loving forever foster hu-mom to Buddy, providing him with the best of care and giving him a life full of love, friends, and travel (Buddy has seen more of the USA than I have!) 

I grieve with Mama Shay and the entire community of Buddy friends and fans over the loss of this very special boy. Buddy was a true miracle story. He was, and always will be, a symbol of hope for rescue dogs everywhere. 

When asked what Buddy's message would be, Mama Shay said, "Just remember me when you see the next 'mangy mutt' on the side of the road. Instead of blowing your horn or shooing me away, pick me up and offer your kindness and help! The world can be a better place with one act of kindness which leads to others. After all, look what happened to me, Buddy, the Christmas Husky! Roo, Roo, Roo!”

So today, I am sending big Husky hugs to Mama Shay and must say good-bye to our dear, sweet furangel friend, Buddy, the Christmas Husky

Buddy, may your Husky-in-Charge star shine brightly forever, and your story carry on to show how one rescued dog touched so many lives with love, and brought together an entire community from across the globe. May your spirit continue to the light the way to better lives for all abandoned dogs. Run free, sweet Buddy.


  1. So many tears over his passing...but also, there have been so many tears of joy over his life since being saved! He was, and will always be, a symbol of hope and love. Rest in peace sweet boy...and God bless and comfort Mama Shay during her time of sadness.

    1. Thank you for your beautiful words... it's times like these I find our dog community even more amazing for all the wonderful support of each other. It's stories such as Buddy's that remind us of how amazing dogs truly are and how important rescue work is. <3

  2. Such sad news about a courageous pup and his mom. Loving thoughts are being sent with the hope that the tender memories provide some measure of comfort. ღ

    1. On behalf of Mama Shay, thank you for your kind words. And yes, so thankful for all the wonderful memories we each have with our beloved dogs. <3

  3. We are so sad to hear of Buddy's passing. Soft woos and gentle hugs to all who helped him along the way.

    Woos - Lightning and Misty

    1. Thank you. I know Mama Shay greatly appreciates all your kindness. <3

  4. A wonderful post about Buddy. We here, like the rest of community, are heartbroken for Mama Shay. Have blast at the rainbow bridge Buddy x

  5. That is so very sad. Love and hugs to his very special Mama from all of us.

    1. Thank you. I know Mama Shay greatly appreciates all the love and hugs.

  6. I'm so sorry. My deepest sympathy to Buddy's family and to all who knew and loved him.

    Please let me know if you'd like to have Buddy included at the "Our Rainbow Friends" blog.

    1. Thank you, I'll be sure to pass your kind words along to Buddy's Mama Shay. And yes, we would love to have Buddy included. I'll send you an Email. Thank you! <3

  7. What a wonderful tribute to Buddy, that very special dog. I had never seen the photo of him when he was first rescued and read his full story. I'm so sorry he has crossed the rainbow bridge, but what a life! He and his Mama touched so many people and that is a true blessing.


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