Well it has now been over a week since it happened, and i’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my dog is dead.

I like to think of myself as a competent writer (though many may disagree), I end up being lazy at times and grammar suffers for it but I do try. As a writer I feel a duty to tell the story of my dogs life. It is not that interesting of a story, highlights included; shitting in front of many a driveway, long walking holidays and not having his balls cut off. He was quite proud of the last and showed this by licking them whenever he got the chance.

The story of Boo.

Buster’s story started before even I had met him, I don’t know a lot of what happened in those first few months of his life before his family picked him up. But whatever happened he never liked to talk about it…… Whatever the reason, his first owner did give up the little dog that they had called Buster, and he ended up in a rescue home, at around 5 months old. Meanwhile the Hopkins family (that’s my family) had made the decision that they would get a dog, and a rescue centre would be the right place to find one. So Dawn Hopkins and in tow her two children, an 11 year old girl and a cute, wise beyond his years 7 year old boy. It just so happened that the second rescue centre that this family visited was where that little dog Buster was being held. Excitedly the two children ran to the newborn puppies ignoring any dog that might be over a month old. The mother however, was being a little more practical with the event. She saw a dog still in his puppy hood, cute certainly, but nearly as important she saw that on the cage a sheet said that this little dog called Buster was “house trained and good with kids” she didn’t want to teach a dog that. So she manoeuvred the children to the cage in which he was held and showed him to them.
I can’t recall if it was love at first sight for the children but it must have been pretty close to it. That day the family took Buster for a walk around the centre. The mother saw how good this dog was with the children, how eager he was to please them and how he liked to lick people. The dog was a mongrel he clearly had some Labrador in him and the centre owner believed he also had some Rhodesian Ridgeback in him, there was probably a few other dog types in him too. After the walk they let the dog be put back in the cage, with a heavy heart they went back home. After returning home the mother relayed this information to the Father. And after the children agreed that he was pretty much perfect in every way, the family returned the next day to collect him. And the dog called Buster timidly walked into his new house and was welcomed into the Hopkins family…..

Over the next few years bonds were formed as any family with a dog they love will know. Buster was a pretty well behaved puppy he never went through the known chewing phase that many dogs go through. He was not that horny and never nipped or never did he bite anyone. He pulled strongly when he went for walks, but that was the family’s fault for never training him properly in this. At three years old Buster had his first Holiday in a village called Craster, it rained the whole time, the family had a pretty miserable time. Though not Buster who ran for hours and hours and then came in the cottage to eat, sleep and shit.
Buster was a happy dog, I don’t know what happened in those first few months of his life of course, but he had a good life as far as a dog’s life can go. He never found love, but had he, he might not have gotten to keep his balls so swings and roundabouts. (I just wrote ‘Balls’ and ‘Swings’ in a sentence about my dog didn’t I?) He was always very timid around things he was unsure of, but was very loving especially to his family. The most traumatic thing that happened in his early life was when he was attacked by a couple of dogs. An event that left him a little shaken but nothing else.
I would say that ‘this’ (above) were the only interesting things that happened to him in his early life, which might be true but the fact of the matter is the family and more importantly Buster enjoyed the boring times. Most of the enjoyment Buster got and the family got out of Buster came from the times when they would play at home, at catch or at tug of war, or when he would sneak up on the sofa and sleep in a guilty comfort knowing shouldn’t be up there. When they took him to the park and would have a foot race… and lose because he was just too fast. Those times when he slept beside a fire, when they scratched his ears and when he came up with a cute photographs, like the one below. These were the most interesting times.

In his last years not much changed with Buster, just perhaps that the son in the family might win the odd race as Buster got a little older. When Buster made it to double figures his health did deteriorate slightly, he started to pee a lot more regular and even went in the house, something he had never done before. Concerned the family took him to the vet. After a blood test it seemed that he had gotten Cushing’s disease. The family was worried, very worried. But Buster showed the first signs of the fighter that was in this timid dog. After a small operation, that removed a gland that wasn’t acting as it should. Any effect of the disease seemed to go away. And again Buster was a perfect picture of health for his age. He even managed another Holiday, this time to Torquay. Where for a week he went wild in the drinking scene…. until he was sick because it was sea water (that was an awful attempt at a joke). However, this good health was not to last, when the son of the family (are you getting that the son is me) saw something that made his heart come to his throat. While Buster was in his common laying on his back position, his mouth opened and there the son found a pink lump of what looked fleshy in his mouth. Again another visit to vet was in order and this time the diagnosis was more serious and the treatment more drastic. It was a cancer and the treatment meant removing part of Buster’s Jaw, not a nice thing. The treatment was a success and Buster weighing a little less in the face, he was again in pretty much in good health. He got a second trip to Torquay and again had a great time.
Things were not to be that simple for Buster he wasn’t destined for an easy death at a ripe old age in his sleep. For the cancer came back and it took him. Though it did not take him without a fight, he lasted months longer than the doctors expected and his family managed to get almost a year of extra life out of him.

The family didn’t want to say goodbye to Buster, but they had to. Buster had four people that loved him very much and would have done anything to have Buster back, but at the same time were glad to see an end to the suffering which he had in the last week of his 12 nearly 13 years life. So the family did have to say goodbye to the little dog called Buster, and they all cried and knew that they would not forget him.
I don’t believe in a god, but in that off chance that there is something out there, whether that is a man in a cloud or an alien with a petri dish. I hope they keep Buster safe until his family can meet him there.

Buster – 1999-2012

Love you Buster so very much. You was my best friend, as I grew up so did you, you were my brother and so much more than just a dog.

If you want a more serious and detailed look on the cancer that Buster had, look here (http://wp.me/psL0a-73).


2 thoughts on “Buster…

  1. steosphere

    This is a great piece. I can tell you really loved your dog which makes this even more poignant. It’s very sad but it’s good that you have so many happy memories with him :)

    The picture of him is adorable, by the way. I wish we could get our dog to pose for snaps like that!

  2. Lori DiNardi

    I’m in tears as I finish up your story about Buster. He was a lucky dog, having such a wonderful family to love him. If the love isn’t gone that you felt for him, or he for you, then Buster isn’t gone either. He lives on somewhere else where you will meet him some day. Peace & comfort to you. ~ Lori


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