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.
It's such a joy to have these sweet guys in our lives.
Don't be surprised if your other buddies go through mourning. Aloysius (Spike's cousin) still goes down to the animal house and cries. And all three kitties love one of her old blankets.
How wonderful that Buster will remain alive in your pottery.
Gary, I loved your obituary of Buster. It made me all teary-eyed. Love to you and Maude.
Thanks. Spike and Penny are very quiet, very subdued, mourning indeed. We had a rather big wake for him last night, indeed....
My sympathy to you and Maude for your loss of Buster. The greatest gift we can give an animal is letting it go to cross the Rainbow Bridge when it is time. He's now pain free, happy, and waiting to see you again in the future. We often stumble across our 'forever' dogs in a manner most unexpected, and they change our lives forever. Maybe that's where the name comes from. May the memories comfort you and ease your pain, and the rest of the 'family' also.
Oh, Buster! I'm shedding a little sympathy tear for you. You had a great run thanks to Gary and Maude. Hope you're chasing bunnies in doggie heaven.
This made me cry....hugs and xxx to you and Maude. A big hug to Buster - somewhere he's still with you. Your guardian angel dog.
Oh, I am so sorry for Buster. I know exactly how you must be feeling. These things are so hard, but you're right, he is playing with his brother, happy and pain free. I really do believe that. Rest in peace, Buster. I'm so sorry for your loss, Gary and family.
Buster will be missed, he was a wonderful fellow. You were lucky to have him in your life, and now you will carry him in your heart. I am truly sorry Gaey and Maude
for your loss, I know how much your animals mean to you.
so sorry about Buster. he sounds like a wonderful dog - an inspiration.
Oh, Buster. While you will be so missed, I'm glad you're not hurting anymore and I like the thought of you romping and playing like a wee puppy again, especially with your brother. And I hope that even though Gary & Maude are hurting, they'll think of all the wonderful memories they've made with you and they'll realize how very lucky you were to find people as generous and loving as them. xoxoxo
I'm so sorry to hear about Buster. You gave him such a good life.
They just wrap around our hearts don't they. So sorry. I hope your heart heals soon.
What a great tribute to Buster and dogs in general. One of the most important rules of life is always trust a person who loves dogs.
Having read your blog for some time now, I am certain you gave Buster as good of a life as was possible. Plenty of long pretty walks, constant sweet words of praise, and a spot on the couch. I'm sorry for your loss, Gary.
My sympathies for you all as you miss your beloved dog. Lots of pain may be felt, as well as the joyful memories. It is amazing how many people will want to tell you of their pet loss as well. Yes, our companions are important in our lives!
Our pets ask so little but give so much.
Penny and Spike are racing around the house making a racket. I think they are moving past mourning :) Thanks all! Gosh, you are so sweet!
You saved him and brought him home to live in doggy paradise! I'm so sorry. Glad to hear Spike and Penny are back at it. They will surely cheer you up. They know their best friends Gary and Maude are hurting.
This was a really beautiful tribute. Buster Boo was a lucky pup.
Gary, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know it is a loss for Spike and Penny, too -- and of course, Maude!
Your pets are truly blessed to live in such a loving and giving home. I am touched to know that even at the end, his furry siblings were there to comfort him along with his people.
The loss of a beloved pet can feel like the loss of a child. We hope you take the time you need to grieve and to heal, and know that you are not alone.
Such a great tribute! I've had about every kind of animal, and I love my dogs the best. The other side of dog ownership is their own empathy. My father-in-law, Charlie, lived with us this past summer until he died in the fall. Once my father-in-law became ill, the dogs became subdued and reverent when Charlie became very ill. They sensed his coming death. Anyway, they are great animals. Glad you have your memories of Buster.
It is so sad when a beloved dog dies... one of my childhood pals died last summer, and my biggest regret is that it was while we were away on vacation. I can't even think about it without tearing up. He was old and had been deteriorating, trouble breathing, so I like to think of him now running around terrorizing baby bunnies while he waits for his sister to join him (which hopefully won't be for a while - though I can tell she misses him). Anyway my thoughts are with you.
I am so sorry for your loss. I have an older dog too and not looking forward to the times ahead. It does get easier but you don't ever forget.
What a beautiful tribute to Buster, he had a wonderful life with you guys and you will have many happy memories. I hope Penny is OK, I am sure she is missing her buddy. Take care all.
I love seeing the photos and hearing the story of Buster's life. You were all lucky to have each other.
As much as I think Buster loved his life...I think he added so much love to YOUR life.
I am so glad you were able to save him...what a sweet pup and an even sweeter old man.
I never pictured you eating nails for breakfast Gary....those aren't vegetarian.
Hugs to you and the family!
Gary and Mrs, so sorry to hear about poor Buster. I know how hard it is when a great member of the family crosses the Rainbow Bridge...Thinking of you all...
Sorry to hear of Busters passing. He loved and was loved. I have a soft spot for a black labrador puppy and wow he was the inspiration for your dog pots. What a champion!
He was a cutie, for sure. How wonderful that he lives on as the inspiration for your amazing pottery.
Yes, you did rock the 'stache :)
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