It must have been the diet that left him ravenous.

Buddy, the Pit bull dog our son, Chris, asked us to take when he moved to California last January ("It’ll only be for a year or two," he assured us) has gained 10 pounds under our soft regimen.

Actually, it’s my soft regimen as Janet goes by the book. Buddy, with Janet, gets one cup of dogfood in the morning and one in the evening. Often, we throw in a small portion of canned beans during the day to satisfy his hunger pains.

Evenings, however, as I worked in the kitchen on my computer with Buddy at my side, I would pull out a sleeve of saltines. "Buddy," I’d say, "one for you and one for me." Before the evening was out, the two of us had nearly worked our way through the sleeve.

Poor Buddy!

Dr. Heather Wood, the veterinarian, told Janet he needs to lose five to 10 pounds immediately. His legs cannot support 60 pounds, she warned.

With no more saltines and only dog food supplemented by canned beans, Buddy quickly became unhappy. He would hear me open a sleeve of saltines and come running. Not wanting to disappoint him, I have given up saltines.

Last Sunday evening, I got into the car to drive to the Streetsboro Walgreen’s to buy a Beacon and Plain Dealer and Buddy wanted to go.

"Why not?", I thought. Buddy climbed in the back and then maneuvered himself into the front passenger’s seat so he could look out the window.

At the parking lot at Walgreens, I started to exit. Buddy quickly climbed over me and jumped out, heading across the darkened parking lot for the drug store.

I grabbed his leash and ran after him. Buddy, not heading my calls, passed through the store’s doors, which opened automatically. Inside, he found a candy rack and by the time I caught up with him, what appeared to be a large peppermint patty, foil wrapper and all, was in his mouth.

Pit bulls have jaws like an alligator’s. Try as I might to get him to release whatever it was he was chewing, those jaws remained shut.

"I’ll pay for whatever it is he was eating," I assured the nice clerk, as I attached Buddy’s leash to his collar. Buddy didn’t want to leave, but after paying for my newspapers, I dragged him through the automatic doors and into the dark parking lot and found my car.

Somehow, I had locked the car with my keys and cellphone inside. Once more, Buddy and I headed into Walgreens where the nice lady clerk looked at us in amazement. Explaining I needed to call Janet, she lent me her cellphone.

After dialing I heard several rings, but no answer. I dialed our landline and heard several rings, but no answer. The third time, dialing her cellphone again, she picked up.

"I was talking to Christopher in California," she said. I explained my predicament. She said she would look for a spare key and rescue us as soon as she could.

Not wanting to chance another round of Buddy and the candy bar rack, the two of us waited outside in the dark. I am not very good about organizing my keys, but Janet somehow found the spare and within 20 minutes drove into the parking lot.

Buddy, happy to see Janet, crawled into the back seat of her car. My spare key worked, but before driving home, I went back inside to thank the nice lady who had let me use her cell phone.

Some Pit bulls are raised to be fighters. Buddy’s ears were clipped by an earlier owner, perhaps hoping he would be a fighter. That is not Buddy’s personality and maybe that is why the owner abandoned him chained to a fence.

Always working, Chris had Buddy cooped up, not good for a dog his size. With us, he has two acres to roam and an almost daily walk.

When our 16-year old Cocker Spaniel, Lucky, died a couple of years ago, I thought we were through with dogs, but Janet and I are enjoying our new companion. With Buddy, the house has become livelier and more fun.

Now, if I can just keep him off the saltines and candy bars . . .

David E. Dix is a former publisher of the Record-Courier.