by Lesley Scott
Buster never left my side. He wasn't just a dog, he was my partner and my son.
|Buster Brown, Canine Cop
Buster, my Boykin Spaniel, turned a year old when I started working for the Goose Creek, S.C. Police Department as their second shift Animal Control Officer. The other officers considered him to be my partner and he sported his own ID badge for the restricted areas at the Naval Weapons Station. Buster Brown didn’t care about mere badges. His top priority was guarding the truck and keeping me safe. He loved rolling around on the floor with the cops, mostly retired marines. The sight always made me laugh. Men in uniform can be so silly sometimes.
I would put him in my truck, and tell him, “Buster, guard the truck." He would take his job seriously. With Buster on duty, I could leave my police radio, pocket book and other valuables in the animal control truck. He would show his teeth and snarl at the very cops he considered his friends. Buster's orders came first. Pulling the truck door open was his command to relax, and he was friendly and wiggly waggly again.
Everywhere we went, Buster never let me out of his sight. He laid beside the tub as I bathed and capered around on horseback rides, paddled in the lake, pulling me on my raft for hours. He slept on a fluffy pillow next to my side of the bed. In the morning, he helped with the chores on the farm. Then at two in the afternoon, he accompanied me to work. Better than a best friend (friends will sometimes argue), Buster would never disagree. He asked no questions. His golden eyes and soft nose knew all he needed to know.
I believe the best way to “train” an animal is to spend a lot of time with them and they learn all by themselves. I don’t remember training Buster, because we were always together, and he could read my mind. He paid attention to my body language, my facial expressions, and my scent. He automatically listened. His golden eyes rarely left mine. I could glance at Buster and he was always looking back. Boykin Spaniels have liver colored curly hair and round, expressive eyes of amber. They are the Official Dog of South Carolina because they originated in Boykin, SC.
He never tripped me up, yet stayed close to me sometimes hiding under the desk in the squadroom. The chief didn't allow him in the station or the truck. As you have probably guessed, I ignored the chief and I'm sure he knew about Buster, he never mentioned it to me or anybody. I think he felt I was safer with a guard dog because I refused to carry a weapon.
My dear loving Buster's world revolved around me and I loved him more than any other dog. He stayed by my side for fifteen years until he became ill with Cushings Disease. All I know about the fatal disease was it had something to do with his thyroid. I added another year to his life through medication, but his condition grew worse. When he reached the point that he was unable to walk and couldn't eat, the end was near.
My husband, Cliff, was a Certified Veteriarny Technician with the Emergency Veterinary Clinic, and I was also a vet tech at the same clinic at that time. We knew what we had to do, but it didn't make it any less emotional. Cliff asked the vet on duty if he could give him enough euthanasia drug for a thirty five pound dog. Buster had lost a lot of weight. The vet knew Buster because he came to work with us and felt very fond of him, as was everyone else who met him. He handed Cliff the syringe full of solution.
Before Cliff came home, I brushed Buster, talked to him about all the things we had done together and now he was going to have wonderful times and adventures, swim and play in Heaven. When Cliff arrived, I felt ready to do what we had to do for Buster Brown. From experience, I placed Buster in my lap and pinched off his main blood vessel so Cliff could find it easier to inject the drug. I petted Buster and hugged him until his big loving heart stopped.
Buster peacefully passed away in my arms when he was 15 years old. He lived a good life and a long life. He had a lot of friends who loved him and he and loved them back. I have no doubt he is in Heaven. Maybe he will learn to fetch a ball.
I usually cry when I think of my friend.