I wrote about Buster yesterday afternoon, after he passed away, and you can see it below. I am adding a couple of thoughts this morning. I was a little blown away, people on facebook who knew him or just know us wrote to me yesterday to say they were sorry...something like 76 messages! Holy cats...gosh. This is maybe a small thing, to some people, the passing of a pet, but this was an extraordinary dog, and my experience is like the quote "the more people I meet, the more I like my dog". Dogs give us the most pure and loyal love and friendship anywhere, something humans can learn from. And they ask for so little, just to be with us, some crunchies in the bowl, some play outside in the fresh air and ear scratches. Geez, mere pennies, and what does a shrink charge per hour? Or a high maintenance spouse????
Further, to be frank, when you sitting there cuddling and stroking a dog who is clearly happy to have you near, but then they pass their last breath and heartbeat with you, you have also learned a great deal about life and death. Buster had been in a lot of pain and discomfort his last 24 hours, weak and tired, and as my vet told me "he is at peace now" and "now he can join his old brother Jack and play once again". I hope so.
You probably think I am this tough and macho guy, eating nails for breakfast and horseshoes for dinner and wrestling rattlesnakes for lunch. That may be true, but good golly I can cry like a baby or worse. So, this real man can sob real easily (the DESCENDANTS, the look on Clooney's face when he looks down into the container of his wife's ashes? Blubber and SOB)
I have shed buckets of tears in 2 days.
Anyway, the silliness above is entre to the subject of our old dog Buster Boo. I am glad we have snapshots new and old, so I can share these with you.
Here is our story with Buster:
April 1999 on my birthday, the wife and I had been out carousing and she was driving us home on a beautiful evening. A neighbor was out in their yard playing with a tiny and adorable lab-mix puppy, and the sign on the tree said PUPPY FOR SALE. I convinced the wife, and she is extreeeeeeeemely nice to me, to stop. In 3 seconds we told the girl we would take the puppy, and this is what she explained: he was about 6 weeks old, his mother had been a 126 pound rottweiler, a lab father, and he had just incurred a terrible accident a day or 2 before: he was being chased by one of the family's goats and ran in front of a car and wound up with broken rear leg and a concussion. They were going to PUT HIM TO SLEEP rather than seek treatment, but the daughter decided to sell him if she could. I mean, gosh, here was this beautiful, sweet puppy enjoying a spring day...full of life and sweetness!
Our vet checked him over and looked at the xray, explaining that actually, the break would heal fine. Buster would grow up with maybe a limp, but he would be OK with a little treatment, and he was.
There is a photo below showing Buster the day he was in his playpen and wanted to look out, and got up on his hind legs to see us. Oh gosh, his leg had healed!!!! That was one of the most inspiring moments ever for this potter, because I was like "why don't I make mugs with a dog hanging over the edge, like that?" and I did. The first animal on a pot I ever did, and since then, almost every pot I make has animals.
Of course, 2 months later, he was big enough to simply walk out of the playpen, but he was always docile and well behaved, his whole life. Afraid of cars, naturally, and with a small limp, he walked and ran miles with us over the course of his life, up until even early Sunday.
Buster loved Penny, our little beagle we got 5 years ago, and Spike cat too. He wrestled with Spike everyday, actually, and both Spike and Penny napped together too. This picture here shows Penny snuggling with Buster a couple of hours before he passed.
The vet had warned us that as he approached age 13 he was losing weight and ill and old. But he was moving around, eating and happy, and enjoying the most mild winter the north has ever had. But Sunday's weather was horrible. He twisted his foot on the ice somehow, and suddenly couldn't move. I was carrying him in and out. He stopped drinking water. Just refused it. No animal does that unless it simply knows they are at the end. He got weaker and weaker and weaker, as you would imagine. The vet came over and said he had been so ill for so long, but just could not go on, hurting his foot was the end. So here, with Spike and Penny to say goodbye, on his couch, Buster passed around noon Monday. The absolute nicest dog, so sweet.
Buster last summer walking near our house....
Below, Buster puppy with the first Buster mugs and bowls. He broke his own, seen here, the next day...he went through a few dishes in his time....
Buster puppy the first time he was able to stand on his back legs, thus inspiring a thousand pots...
Full-grown Buster, me making a Buster mug and sporting a full-grown 'stache....
Buster and Penny snuggled together Monday morning.