Tag Archives: Buster

Buster…

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).

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Buster 1999-2012

This Sunday we had to put our family dog, Buster to sleep, if you’ve read this blog in the past you might have read about his struggle with cancer over the last year before http://wp.me/psL0a-73. Well it came to ahead this weekend, when he could no longer drink water by himself and eating food was a struggle. So as a family we made the difficult descion. To say i’m devastated is a understatement, he was a part of this family. I simply loved him, he was my best friend.
I will give a longer post on Buster when I feel up to it, but at the moment I couldn’t string the words together which would be fitting for a dog that gave me 13 years of unconditional love.

R.I.P Buster

Canine Oral Melanoma – Update

You may or not remember the blog I did last year (http://wp.me/psL0a-73) , my dog went through an invasive operation to get rid of a cancerous lump in his mouth. I said I would update people on the situation if anything changes from, just to try and help people whose  pets might be going through the same problem. If you are bothered, make sure you read that blog before reading the update, or else this won’t make any sense.
I probably should have done the update sooner, but I always find it hard writing anything personal… anyway, the cancer came back. The cancer has repapered (like the vet thought it probably would) above the place where he had part of his jaw taken out. The first sign was a tiny lump, which soon grew. After taken him to the vets (in October, about 6 months after the operation) the only options for us that would not have hampered his life quality further, would be chemotherapy drug Leukeran. But the even the optimistic predictions from the vet would mean, my lovely dog would not be here now. Yet, like the fighter he is, Buster lives still. He still enjoys food, walks, and has a good quality of life. Last week, he went out in the countryside and chased ducks like a dog 10 years younger. But still the time is nearing when his quality of life will fall below, that level, which means we couldn’t allow him any more suffering.
I’d just like to say even though the cancer did come back, I would not change giving my dog the invasive operation back at the end of march. We still have nearly got a year of extra life from him,  and I think that is more than worth it.

I shall leave you with a photo of Buster, before his operation, two Christmas's ago :D

Canine Oral Melanoma and a Rostral Lateral Maxillectomy

There is a spoiler in the title as to what it is.

Something a little more serious now. You may or may not remember me talking about the oral cancer my dog Buster got. I want to talk a little more about that and the treatment of that cancer. There is so little on the internet about the “Canine Oral Melanoma” only a few story’s of other dogs. I thought it would be right to go through mine and more importantly my dogs experience of it. Cancer is awful but this treatment in it self is not something that is nice, or that can easily done. The “Rostral Lateral Maxillectomy” (what a mouthful) is a very invasive surgery, which is basically taking a big chunk of a jaw out.
But i should really start at the beginning, that always the best place to start.

Like all dog’s my dog buster likes to relax (https://joelhopkins.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/just-chillaxing/) he likes to lay on his back. One night while i was laid on the sofa, buster (a 12 year labrador cross) seeing me on the sofa came to lie on his back at foot of the sofa, i assume so that i could stroke him. It was in this position that i saw something red in his my mouth, no it was not his gum’s, it was a much more bloody red. After closer inspection me and my mum could see it was a large lump, it was on the top right side of his mouth. I was shock that no one in my family has seen it before. Like you do with anything you love, you think the worse. After a bit of research that night we found that it could either be, a cancers lump, or a non cancers lump. A visit to the vets was then arranged for the next day, where the vet told it could either be, a cancers lump or a non cancers lump. Whatever the case was, it needed to be taken out. Buster was booked it for surgery the following week, where he would have half of it removed, which then would then examine to find out what it was.

There is a spoiler in the title as to what it is.

One week later he had his operation, a simple affair. It made him groggy but he was fine the next day. We then had just to wait for the results. I believe a week and a half later my mother got a call from the vet’s. Not only was it bad news but it was very bad news. It was a cancer but it was also a melanoma cancer, which as you may or not know is one of the worse cancers he could get. It was fast spreading so if it had not already spread past his mouth, in to his body, it soon would. That was also the reason why we had not spotted the lump before, it had likely not been there for very long. It was not the best prognosis (understatement), but there was a chance that with the “Rostral Lateral Maxillectomy” (I will now call it getting his jaw removed) they may get the cancer out before it spreads. Any dog lover know that you want to give your best friend, a family member even, the best chance to live; so we did it. The vet explained that they would remove a portion of his top jaw, where the lump was.
We needed to get it done as soon as possible to make give as little time as possible for the cancer to spread. A couple of day’s later he was to have it.

I was so worried for him, it is very hard to send someone to such an invasive surgery, it does not help that you can’t explain the situation to him. Feeling like somehow he would hold me responsible and not be my friend any more, but dog are so forgiving. However we had two choices, one: of him dieing within weeks, or giving him a chance to live longer; it was not that hard.

So in he went for his trip to the vets, at this point buster was sick of the sight of the place. And so we sent him off on his own, and gave him to the man who took in to the back and we walked away. He was to be in for two days and one night. On the night of the surgery, the vet called. He said that Buster in himself was OK, he has lost quite a lot of blood. We were also told that in an effort to try and make sure that they get all the cancer out that instead of just a chunk, it would be his whole right top side of his Jaw. That in it self was quite disturbing, i was now scared over how he would look, as well the cancer. That was of a lesser concern to the cancer, but i couldn’t help think of my cute dog and how much he would change.

To help show the change, this is a photo of my dog before the operation.

Another of me and Buster :)

I look a little fat in that last photo. It’s the angle, honest. But back to the whole thing. The next day we went out to collect buster, at first we was called in to the vet. He explained that it would be a shock to see him, his face would be all bloody and shaved, it would not be nice to see. He then said they would be sending the edges of the jaw that they took out, pickle them, and then scan to see if the cancer was at the edges yet. If it was, it would mean that it would have spread past where they cut, if not then maybe they got it all out. He also explained that most of the time with this type of cancer, it will come back in another location; that could be a year though.
He then brought out Buster. It was a big shock, his face looked very different, he looked like he has been in an awful fight. He has a “Buster” collar on, not named after him just the name of those big plastic buckets. He would have to ware this for a week, maybe a little more.

Once we got him home, he was zonked, so tired from the ordeal and the anesthetic. He had to be given water by hand that first day, but after that he managed to drink water out of his bowl, with only the trouble caused by the buster collar. Food wise we had to change his diet but only for a couple of weeks. Instead of his normal diet of a combination of wet food and hard food we just changed to soft meat, those pedigree pouch thing’s. After that him managed fine with his normal diet, he soon adjusted to eating on one side of his mouth.

Not long after we got to remove the buster collar off buster, we got another call from the vet with the results of the pickle test. Good news, no cancer on the edges of the removed jaw. This didn’t mean he would not get cancer again, far from it. It Just meant instead of weeks to live, he had months and hopefully a year or more!!

Now over a month later from the operation, we are having no problems. He drinks and eats fine and is as active as ever. Once the initial shock of his look was out of the way, we soon got used to that. Also once the blood got cleared away, some hair grew back and his mouth heal some more, he looked much better.

A difference, but still cute.

So now we wait. We love our dog as much as before, give him lot’s of attention and make his life as full as possible (ours too, cancer happens to people as well!). And hope when/if we hear he has cancer again it’s not for a good long while. 1 month and counting.
I will of course update this blog if any new complication happen or anything

I hope no dog or any pet owner has to go through this, but i also hope that if they do, that this helped them understand it a little better. Every case will of course be different and i’m only going through my experience and what the vet has told us. If anyone has any question’s don’t hesitate to ask me here and i will answer as soon as possible.

UPDATE: 16/01/2012

I probably should have done the update sooner, but I always find it hard writing anything personal… anyway, the cancer came back. The cancer has repapered (like the vet thought it probably would) above the place where he had part of his jaw taken out. The first sign was a tiny lump, which soon grew. After taken him to the vets (in October, about 6 months after the operation) the only options for us that would not have hampered his life quality further, would be chemotherapy drug Leukeran. But the even the optimistic predictions from the vet would mean, my lovely dog would not be here now. Yet, like the fighter he is, Buster lives still. He still enjoys food, walks, and has a good quality of life. Last week, he went out in the countryside and chased ducks like a dog 10 years younger. But still the time is nearing when his quality of life will fall below, that level, which means we couldn’t allow him any more suffering.
I’d just like to say even though the cancer did come back, I would not change giving my dog the invasive operation back at the end of march. We still have nearly got a year of extra life from him,  and I think that is more than worth it.

I shall leave you with a photo of Buster, before his operation, two Christmas’s ago :D

UPDATE: 26.02.2012
On this Day sadly buster had passed away, but if anyone still has question about the operation and after effects don’t hesitate to ask,

So i’m going to…………

I can’t think of anything to blog, so i’m going to watch Rome season 2. I watched season 1 ages ago and never got round to watch season 2, but got it on bluray so will enjoy watching that.

Ohhh by the by, my dog has come back from his operation, he managed to cope really well. He looks strange yes, but already after a few days i’m use to the new look. Now it’s just a case of waiting and hoping that the damn cancer does not resurface.

Good week, bad week, very bad week

Swings and roundabouts, it’s the story of everybody life. This week has been a perfect example of that. Some good news, some bad news and then some very bad news.

I always start with the good news, so let’s start with that shall we;

Leeds rhinos won, always a good thing. After two poor games against the Quins and the Wolves. The Rhinos came back in style with a 46-12 win over Salford.

A opportunity may have presented it self, let’s say I may be on the radio soon. On a crap non paid role……….. but still.

Yesterday I went to see the punk or kinda punk band the stranglers (been going since the 70’s). They were very good, other than the fact that two of the original members looked close to death. Also many older punks were acting like dicks but that is to be expected at any gig.

So now on to the bad news.

The Japan earthquake and tsunami, awful! And still with an ongoing threat with the nuclear power plant, i’m sure Japan needs some strong support from around the world.  It’s a place I have always wanted to visit and still do it’s very sad to see it happening. Nature is giving us constant reminders just how powerful she is. It’s just scary how some people still don’t respect her. It may be that I read to many apocalyptic books, but i just feel that we can’t carry on the path we are on for much longer, before we are forced to change and fast. Something that will cost many life’s along the way.

But all this has pale in comparison to some news that I got this week.
My best friend, who is amazing and beautiful. My dog Buster has sadly being diagnosed with cancer, now next Wednesday he has to have an invasive operation; which involve removing part of his jaw. The vet say’s it will still likely spread though. Maybe not but “likely”. I love my dog, he is only 12, I feel it’s too young for him to have gotten cancer. It may sound stupid, I know you can get it at any time but it’s what I thought. I’m holding out hope. I love him so much.

Some may criticize me for putting such a personal thing above the life’s of so many humans, but i’m sure many people with pet’s that they love like a family member would feel the same.

I will end tonight’s blog with a few photos of my cute little dog.

Buster