Saturday, July 10, 2010

Remembering Buster

One of my favorite blog-buddies, is having a rough day. Froggy wrote this morning of the grief and loss she is enduring from the passing of The Labrador Girls.

Buster showed up in my life in 1997, he was underweight and had sore feet from walking. I had gone to lunch and when I returned the office was abuzz over this poor bedraggled dog that had appeared. One of the sales-mammals went to the store to get some food for him and there was discussion on what we were going to do with him. For me, there was no question… I stopped at the store on the way home and got doggy shampoo, a brush, a collar just for him and his own dish. He was a popular addition to the family, even though there were some idiosyncrasies we had to get used to. The girls, who were about 3 at the time decided his name would be Buster. I’m thinking that may have just been the first name they could think of shortly after watching Arthur on OPB, naming him after Buster Bunny. I’m thankful Dora had not yet gained popularity.

The Boy (3) & Buster
I took Buster to the vet to make sure he didn’t have a chip and to find out what ailments he had. He didn’t have a chip: but the vet noticed significant scaring on his face and shoulder and healed fractures; none of which had the benefit of veterinary care. I also learned that he only weighed 50 lbs, and he should have weighed around 90 lbs. We got him there, and then some.

I mentioned idiosyncrasies… once he got his vim and vigor back (he slept a lot at first) he dug holes and he RAN. He would not come when his name was called. We figured that was because he hadn’t yet learned his name. But… it never changed (a common issue with Labs). I learned the best way to get his attention was to jingle my keys and start the pickup. Buster would come running and jump in the back of the truck, many times I would stop the engine and take him in, as I wanted when I called him. But I also wanted to reinforce the behavior, so I would take him down to the river for a run. He would fetch the training buoy, telling me his former family had perhaps been hunters. I guessed that he may have been left behind by these hunters when he wouldn’t come when he was called (grin).

Buster was a tremendous member of our family for 8 years. The last couple years weren’t easy for him. He was blind and deaf, possibly due to the frequent ear infections. He had a route he would take out through the house and out to his potty-grounds. If something was moved, it was funny and sad when he would run into that object. The kids got used to being the “guide dog” for Buster. That last trip to the vet was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Even though Jack joined our family in 2008, we still miss Buster.


  1. They do have their traits don't they? Rosie loved to lick the leather sofa, her half-sister, Heidi, never touched it. Heidi barked at the slider, Rosie scratched it. Heidi had this whole routine of rolling on the carpet, scratching her back and being silly, Rosie was too dignified for such behavior, she was the 'big' sister and tried to set a standard of behavior that Heidi gleefully ignored. Glad to hear Buster had a good life.

  2. Buster was great. This is a very touching tribute to him.