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By Amy Phillips Penn

I met Jim Buck somewhere between Mike Malkin’s and Don Denton’s, 70s (both chronologically and geographically) East side preppy hangouts. Most likely it was Denton’s where Harold, Don’s Great Dane, hung out beneath the backgammon tables. If you wanted Don to treat you well, you had to make nice with Harold—and there was a lot of Harold to kiss up to. Luckily, Harold and I had chemistry, because when size matters that’s a good thing.

Jim Buck hung out at Denton’s and walked dogs in the morning. He didn’t have to join the name dropping “my whomever came over on the Mayflower” group. Jim Buck just had it over the wannabes.

Jim was up every day at 5 a.m. (or maybe he stayed up until then, like we all did) to walk dogs for Park Avenue owners who were either sleeping or intently following international markets. Poodles, “froo-froo-esques,” and pedigrees of all sizes waited impatiently as Buck said good morning to the doormen and added canines to the escalating tangle of those waiting to socialize, exercise or do whatever else they might do.

“If anyone deserves a dog it’s you,” Jim told me.

Dog lovers can sniff each other out.

He suggested a swap that involved using my apartment to change from dog walker to super prep. In exchange, he would keep my dog-to-be when I needed to escape.

One morning, I embarked on a George Plimpton-esque dog walking mission with Jim Buck when it was still dusk.

I’m still getting over it.

He gave me a few dogs to navigate. It’s a lot easier than it looks.

Buck passed over into the big rainbow bridge in the sky this week. You can be sure that the AKC champions were there to lead him over, no leash required.

Rest in peace my friend.

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