Monday, 28 April 2008

A Tribute to Buster

June 1996 - April 2008

We had to make the heartbreaking decision to have Buster, my beautiful GSD, put to sleep on Monday, 7th April, just 3 days after we came back from holiday with him and only 2 months before he would have been 12 years old. :0( He had twisted his stomach that afternoon and although he could have had an operation, he would only have had a 30-50% chance of survival. I felt I didn't want to put him through it, as he probably wouldn't have had a good time post-op what with needing his cart to get around and also his spine was starting to fuse together in places (according to x-rays the vet took that evening).

He was a beautiful old dog and I'd like to share some photos of him with you.

Me and DH (then my boyfriend) had just moved into our first house together and DH decided he wanted a German Shepherd. He'd had one as a child and loved the breed. I wasn't too sure (my parents had always had Yorkshire Terriers) but I went along with him anyway.

DH chose Buster - but Buster chose me! What I mean is, considering he was supposed to be my husband's dog, he bonded with me instead. ;0)

This is Buster at 8 weeks old in 1996. He was a very good puppy, easily house trained, although slightly highly strung and very protective of the family.

I took him to training classes up until the age of 1 year old and he passed his 'final' with flying colours.

Don't be fooled and think he was by now perfect though, it didn't last - when the postman delivered his training certificate and rosette a week later, he chased him up the road!

He discovered his love of lying on the furniture at an early age -



One house move and a pregnancy later, Buster had appointed himself 'protector of the baby'.

When I was pregnant, my nan was extremely worried about having "such a big dog" in the house with a new baby and told us we should "get rid of him". I was having no such thing!

Buster was 6 when DS was born in 2002, and I spent a few days in hospital following a caesarean. DH brought home blankets, clothes, nappies, etc. which smelled of the new baby to get Buster used to the smell.

We brought DS home in his car seat, put him on the floor, Buster had a sniff and since that day we never had a problem. DS was taught to respect our dogs and knew not to tease, annoy, pull, climb on them, etc..

Buster loved the beach and I always remember the look on his face when we took him there the first time - I've never seen a dog 'smile' so widely or bound across the sand so fast! He loved it and looked so happy.

Although he was never keen on the water and refused to go swimming. ;0)

He loved to be close when I was napping, and in fact spent all of his 11 years sleeping next to me on the floor in the bedroom.

...... and on the bed (even my pillow!) when I was out. ;0)

When he was about 8 years old, he developed CDRM (a degenerative spinal problem). It didn't cause him pain but he did start to drag his legs around a bit. This didn't become a problem for him going for walks until he was about 9 or 10, when we decided to buy him a cart. DH and I were a bit dubious, thinking that there was no way he'd take to it and we'd probably end up sending it back.

But did he prove us wrong! The first day we put him in it, he raced off up the road with a big silly grin on his face. He loved it. :0)

He became a bit of a celebrity on holiday in West Wales (where we go regularly) with everyone wanting to know why he had it, where we got it from, etc.

And he went from being a dog who didn't like people approaching him, to actually going up to people so they *would* make a fuss of him. :0)

He was a wonderful dog - protector of the family,minor celebrity and giver of kisses and unconditional love.

He was my constant companion for nigh on 12 years and I don't know what to do with myself now he's gone. :0(

Buster, you are missed.