Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Memory of Buster

I created this blog as a rabbits-only space, but today I’d like to take a break from talking about Walter and say farewell to my dog, Buster.

My family got Buster and his brother, Rocky, from a pet store in Connecticut.  We originally went there to bring home a hyperactive beagle puppy.  But, after having lived with a beagle for eight years previously, my parents were ready for a calmer dog.  We noticed two handsome Brittany Spaniel puppies were together in the same crate, just below the beagle.  My parents asked the store employee if we could see both dogs.  As soon as he was free, the tri-colored puppy, who we'd later name Rocky, started running around the store.  The orange-and-white pup, Buster, on the other hand, came right to us for some snuggles and bellyrubs.

We couldn’t choose between the two of them, and after learning that they were littermates, couldn’t bear to separate them.  So we brought them both home.  In the car, Buster sat calmly in my sister’s lap.  Rocky, however, tried to escape to the trunk of our Subaru station wagon.  It would be a recurring juxtaposition – Buster seeking affection and Rocky seeking freedom.

The two dogs were inseparable and became an important part of our family.  Around the age of three or four, Rocky developed epilepsy.  Our freedom-loving dog transformed into a lethargic, sad animal right in front of us. After spending five years suffering through weekly seizures and heavy doses of medication, my parents decided it was time to let him go.

Buster was never quite the same after Rocky died.  He became anxious.  He would follow us around the house, afraid to let us out of his sight.  While he was always a very affectionate dog, he became needy; he wanted to be touching you at all times.  As the years passed, Buster developed new fears of everything: puddles, small dogs, big dogs, other people, and more.  But, he was still our sweet Buster.

A few months ago, at the age of thirteen, Buster was hit by a car.  He survived, but was rather disfigured.  His jaw had disconnected from the rest of his skull, and the veterinarian had to put wires in his mouth to hold everything together.  His face was completely crooked.  After hearing the veterinarian make lofty promises about Buster’s recovery, my parents decided against euthanizing our hurt, miserable dog.  Buster, already arthritic and suffering from bowel problems, had a long way to go.  He couldn’t eat solid foods, he was incontinent, and he was in serious, constant pain.  The veterinarian never made good on any of his big promises for Buster’s future.

My mother called me last night to let me know that she and my father, along with a veterinarian, decided this past Thursday that it was time to let Buster go.  It’s for the best, and I’m happy to think that maybe he and Rocky are up in doggie heaven, chasing squirrels and eating pigs’ ears and stealing each other’s toys.

Buster, you were a wonderful dog and I will miss you dearly.  Say hi to Rocky for me!

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