I believe in dogs. I’m just not a cat person. Cats don’t seem to love you as much. When you arrive home, dogs run to the door to greet you. Dogs are always happy to see you no matter how long you left them outside. They are loyal. In a world with so much betrayal and loss, it’s nice to have that constant in your life.
I have always had a dog. My dad gave a yellow Labrador Retriever puppy to my mom for an engagement present. He gave it to her to protect and love her while he was deployed on the USS Curts in the Persian Gulf. They named him Buster. Buster is one of those dogs you will never forget. He was family, a friend, and a guardian. It would be hard to fit my love of Buster into a single string of occurrences. It was the simple things that made him so great. He wasn’t a miracle pet like on TV, but he was my miracle pet. He saved me everyday from a childhood without him. It’s not that my family wasn’t enough because Buster WAS family. When I was sad he was there. He never snapped at me. Not even in his old age. Once he ate my big yellow plastic shovel, but I had left it in the backyard – Buster’s domain. Another time he ate my rock collection. It was all right though because I still had him. Of course, if I wanted the rocks back, they would be deposited in the backyard in less than a week anyway.
About five years ago or so Buster passed on. It doesn’t feel that long though. I remember the day my parents had to put him to sleep so well. I cried for hours, my whole family did. He had been sick for a while. I think the only reason he stayed with us for so long was because he knew we weren’t ready to let him go. We had to though. He was in constant pain. In the end, we knew it was the right thing to do (putting him down I mean). Honestly I believe it took as much love for us to let him go as it did for him to try to stay. I still have his collar in a backpack that resembles him in my room. He was my best friend for nine years. Times seemed simpler, but Buster was a simple dog.
Since Buster we have had two other dogs. Ginny was adopted during Buster’s time with us. Angus was adopted about a year after the loss. Ginny has really grown into the role of lead dog. She teaches Angus what’s right and wrong and how to beg properly. It seemed to take her a long time to get over Busters death. She still comes running whenever I pull out the backpack to retrieve the collar. She misses him like us. I love them both infinitely.