...Our story began early in the summer of 2000. I saw this cute little dog a few times wandering around the neighborhood, with no leash or tags attached. A couple of the times I saw him he was walking among the school kids who were on their way to school (I live ½ block from an elementary school.) I asked the kids each time I saw him if they knew who he belonged to and they always said no. It makes me furious that the people in my neighborhood allowed (and still do) their dogs to wander free. The streets are so busy around here...I don’t see how anyone could do that, but I guess I have to “consider the irresponsible sources.” It really bothered me about this little boy because he was so small, and looked a bit scrawny and under weight. I tried to get him a couple times but he’s run off. I was set on somehow luring him into my yard the next time I saw him so I could take him off the streets and care for him.
September 19, 2000, there was a knock at my door that evening around 5:30pm. It was my neighbor who at the time had six Chihuahuas. One of the girls was in heat, and I guess that was the perfect lure needed to rescue Buster. My neighbor told me a little dog wandered into his yard, and he took him in because he appeared to be a stray. He asked me if I wanted another dog, and of course (sight unseen) I told him yes. To my surprise it was “that little boy I’d seen wandering the neighborhood.” I brought him home and added him to my family of pets.
It took me a couple days to give him a name. He was sitting at the front screen door looking outside and I made the comment to him, “you’re not going anywhere buster boy.” That was it! His name was Buster. He was not neutered, and I didn’t know if he had an ID chip or what his health was like. The next few weeks we went to the doctor to run all the blood tests, check for a chip and have his surgery. To my relief he was not chipped. Surgery went well, and we were ready to begin our new life together. The doctor guessed him to be around four years old.
Buster was afraid of everything. He would run under the futon every time I picked up the broom or mop. I suspected he’d had a bad experience during his life before me. He was extremely withdrawn. I knew it was partially from being new in “the pack”, but he just didn’t seem like he was comfortable or at ease with anything. He wouldn’t let me get near him, and even bit me once when I tried to pet him, and even if I looked at him too long he’d growl. He didn’t seem to have a very good opinion of people.
A month or so after our life began I was sitting out on the front steps with Buster in my lap. A woman and her son were walking by and they stopped at my front gate. Buster growled and barked “ferociously” for a dog his size. He wouldn’t stop growling and barking at these people. It was clear he did not like them. I told the lady that it was very unusual for a dog to act like that about his owners unless he’d been abused. The lady said that Buster was her dog. I told her that he was a stray, was not fixed, and ran lose in the neighborhood quite a few times. I let her know that he’d wandered into my neighbor’s yard and that’s how I got him. I told her I’d already had him licensed and neutered, and would need proof that he was hers. Anyway, I told her to bring back proof...pictures, vet papers, license documentation or anything else she had, to prove her ownership. I never heard from her again so I figured either he was not hers or she didn’t care enough about him to prove it. So, he was mine...all mine!!!
...After a lot of work and patience, Buster eventually overcame his fear of the mop, broom, other pets, people and me. He even turned around from being aggressive and angry about everything to being a carefree, loving and friendly doggie to us and other people and pets. Our wonderful life together was working out very well. Buster had a bit of food aggression, but it was not severe so I just let Buster be Buster and made sure he had his own place to eat and drink water. Our love-filled life went on and on and on. He was a perfect little boy.
2008 AUGUST ~ Buster wasn’t acting himself. He would groan and yelp when he jumped off the futon or walked down the front steps. I took him to the doctor and found out that he had pancreatitus, and due to age also had bone spurs on his spine due to age. We put him on meds and were able to bring his illness under control. He had a few flare-ups since then, but we’d just do the meds again and he’d be okay.
2009 OCTOBER ~ I noticed Buster was losing weight and wasn’t eating as much as he usually did. I took him. I took him to the doctor for a complete blood panel and found out he had a heart murmur, his liver enzymes were high, and his kidney functions were poor. He was put on several meds and a special dog food. He didn’t seem to be getting any better so I took him to the doctor to have his blood checked again. He was worse. We treated him aggressively with many meds, and he gradually got better. After a couple months Buster eventually better, but not completely back to himself. He was eating less now and sleeping more.
2009 DECEMBER ~ By December 23rd, he was going down-hill again...fast, and had lost a little weight. I took him back to the doctor and found out through the blood work that he worse again. He was in the hospital all day being hydrated and given some med boosters to make him feel better. We rested in bed together all day on December 24th. Buster normal weight had always been around 14 pounds. Today he weighed 11.5 pounds. I thought we were going to have to say good-bye “unless a miracle happened.” I called the doctor again and he suggested leaving Buster at the clinic every day for a few days to be hydrated while I was at work. So, On January 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th I took him to the doctor before work each morning and picked him up at night. The boost worked! I started home-cooking for him and he started eating more. I was able to get him back up to 13.3 pounds by mid February.
...Then on Sunday February 28th around 11:00am I was in the kitchen making a late breakfast. I could see Buster on the futon from where I was standing. He got up and started to walk down his doggie stairs and fell from the top step to the floor. He yelped so I ran and tried to pick him up to comfort him and he let out another yelp. Off to the emergency clinic we went. They took x-rays and said that they could not find any broken bones, and that he’d suffered pulled muscles when he fell. They sent him home on morphine for pain, and after a couple weeks he was back to being my little Buster boy...ny little buttercup.
Since last December Buster was given fluid, B12 and Aluminum Hydroxide Gel (to bind the phosphorous in his kidneys) a minimum of three to four time per week since December 23, 2009. It was a struggle this past few months to get my little boy to eat and keep his weight up to where it should be. We managed to hold it steady with many different types of creative home cooked foods.
Sadly, Buster’s kidney disease was slowly winning the battle, and he continued to decline slowly. He’d lose a couple ounces and then gain one. He gradually started losing weight quicker than before, and there was nothing more the doctor or I could do to help him.
Saturday morning April 24th he started vomiting so hard he fell over on the floor. I was in the bathroom and heard a thud. When I got to Buster he was laying on his side and could not get up. He’d done this one other time previous to this, but not this bad. He'd also turned down his home-cooked food for the past couple days, was lethargic and he hadn’t drank water as much as he normally did. I already had an appointment set up for his IV fluids at 3:15pm. I called the vet Saturday morning and had to moved the appointment to 5:15 because I knew it was time for me to give my little “hero” the peace and comfort he so richly deserved. I knew he could not go on like this another day. He was done. I could see it in his eyes and actions. My heart was shattered and I went into a dazed state. I think I was trying to block out what was going to happen.
Buster went peacefully to sleep wrapped in my arms at 5:42pm Saturday, April 24th...exactly four months to the day after we thought we were going to lose him the first time. Thank you Buster for being such a brave little trooper! Thank you for the love and life you allowed me to share with you. I don’t know what your life was like before “us," but I do know you were adored and pampered when we became family.
I will never forget to remember you my little “peanut.” You are here with me, and will remain here with me until my own journey is done. I know Ebony, Shabba Lou, Maggie Mae and Seville were thrilled to see you once again.
Rest well my little son...you deserve it....until we meet again or I see you in my dreams, love mommy.