Usually I tell my babies gotcha story, and then their end... Buster deserves HIS story.
One summer day in South Carolina he wandered into the back yard of a nice young woman named Danielle. He was filthy, hungry and his tail was nearly cut off and badly infected, but he walked right up to her like he was home. She cleaned him up, fed him and got him to a vet at Petsmart. They amputated his tail and treated the infection. He almost didn't make it but he pulled through. She named him Buster because he reminded her of Buster Brown's dog. Danielle couldn't keep him as she had a newborn on the way and already had a dog, so she reached out to Beagle911 rescue in State College, PA. There she met Dick, who took him... I don't recall if they met half way or if she brought him the whole way, but does it matter? They took him in and he was with them for a year.
This is where we come in, we were still mourning Freddy but after 9 months it was well past time to find a new baby. We got in contact with Dick and made the 3 hour drive to State College. We met 2 that we liked, Homer and Buster (we're not going to talk about Homer it haunts me to this day that he isn't here) while at the dog park with the other beagles Buster touched my heart he was so silly, he's half Basset so he has short legs. But when he picked up an enormous teddy bear and brought it over to the bench with the happiest look, I loved him... He didn't go home with us that day though (the reasons are unimportant) but by the time I went to bed that night I was sick. The next day by break I couldn't stand it anymore, I called my wife and told her I couldn't live with leaving him behind. 2 days later we were back in State college and we learned why no one would give this big goober a chance. He had heartworm, we didn't care though and home he came.
There were some real bumps the 1st few weeks, but something I didn't expect happened. Buster bonded with my wife, and I saw the light come back into her eyes. He made her so happy, and I didn't mind being #2. So we began his heartworm treatment, we went slow kill because I couldn't conceive crating him let alone for a month. The vet was skeptical, but we did our research and sold her on it. It took a year but we won! During that year we moved, and now he had a big yard to run in, and nice flat streets (not full of litter and crap) to go his walks, which he needed. He also got a little brother when our daughter moved in with here pup. His next challenge was his weight, he got to nearly 60 lbs while in heartworm treatment (remember he's half basset) and so we got to work on that. we got him down into the 40's but the bow his back was developing was all too reminiscent of Chuck.
A couple months ago he started peeing in the house, which was unusual, but he'd done it before. We thought it a behavioral condition. We also attributed it to age. My wife complained he wanted to go out all the time, we thought he was scamming for treats (he was imfamous for that). In early June I noticed he was struggling with the stairs at night, again we thought age (did I mention he was 9 when he came home and now was pushing 12?) and weight. He suddenly and rapidly declined though and suddenly couldn't hardly come in the house. He was also peeing in the house at an alarming rate. It was time to see the vet, we were convinced he hurt himself trying to grab food Sharon was putting on the table (he fell on his back) and she agreed this was likely. The x-rays were negative so she put him on anti-inflammatories, pain meds and rest. He improved but after going up and down the deck for a couple days he went backwards badly and couldn't even get into his dog bed. His return vet visit was up, and she feared he'd ruptured a disk. This was the 1st time the thought of his life being in jeopardy crept into our minds. We stamped that thought out fast, if it was surgery I was determined to do whatever I had to, to SELL whatever I had to. We tried a steroid and more rest, he responded well, but when weaned from the steroid he was even worse. By now we were resigned to cleaning up pee every time he got up, and washing his blanky and his bed FREQUENTLY. We did not mind this.
We made an appointment with a specialist in Audubon, for an exam and an MRI (if she deemed necessary) and took the hour drive down... Because of this Covid madness, we could not come in or even wait there (we could have sat in the parking lot in 95 degree heat for 7 hours) so we went home and stared aimlessly about trying to be positive. When they called 5 hours later we could not have been prepared for the news. His spine was fine, but the vet sounded so sad we knew it was bad news. Buster had cancer.
It was in his lymph nodes and spreading rapidly, it was in his spleen... the devastating news was it was his prostate where it started, it was huge and not allowing his kidneys to drain properly. The pieces fell into place, the peeing everything. My first question was can it be removed (I was already selling my power tools, my guns and all my fishing stuff in my mind) and was told it was inoperable. I don't know why a dogs prostate can't be removed but it can't. The following afternoon we called our vet (again to not be able to talk face to face made this even worse) and she gave us some options, but was honest. Removing his spleen and chemo had little chance of doing more than making Buster suffer, so me made his last appointment, soonest we could get (thank you again covid) was a week out (today if you must know).
This afternoon under a warm sun on his favorite blanky, Buster left this world in the arms of his mommy and daddy. The last sound he heard was his mommy's voice in his ear. We rejoice for him being out of pain, free of the cancer I should have seen, and, well I imagine he got his tail back. We, however, are shattered. On Memorial Day Buster was stealing the beanbags from the cornhole game, charging up the deck steps to come in for a treat and the happiest silly dork of a dog I've ever known. Now 6 weeks later he's been taken from us.
After all he's been through he deserved so much more so much better. To have suffered all he did and still be the friendliest silly billy love everyone and everything dog he was. So much love he had left to give.
Goodbye Buster Brown, aka Mr. Butts, Gooby Doobie Doo, Butthead, puppy poo and Busty... We've loved all our babies with all our hearts, but he will always stand out. We had only 2 years, 10 months with him, yet he gave us a lifetime of love and we will never be the same. With all the others we knew it was coming, they lived long full lives. Buster was stolen from us by the bastard known as cancer. He's with Chuck and Freddy now and we'll someday find them along with Lucky, Stevie, Lulu and Bonesy. And we'll be a family again. We love you
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