Buster & Me
A few words about the best dog I’ve ever known.
I first met Buster when he was only 2 years old… days long ago at JMU. After only a short while of knowing him and Craig, I was handed his leash and descended upon the campus. Everyone knew Buster at JMU. He was the toast of the town. Girls flocked to him, which was a main motivation for me to parade him around. Back then, it was a little known fact that dogs could have this affect on girls. He was a pioneer!
I eventually was living with Craig and Buster there, along with other roommates. It was then that I truly appreciated his intellect, skills with balls/toys/frisbees/treats, and most of all, his affection. While away in class, he often found his way out of the backyard and led our other roommate’s dog on an adventure. On one such occasion, I came home to hear a voice mail from some girl I didn’t even know, saying that she saw: “A little Jack Russell and a big Alaskan Husky cruising thru the neighborhood” and that “it looked like they were headed in the direction of the park.”
We found them there, roaming amongst kids and families, checking out the stream, and acting as if it was their right to go wherever they pleased.
Buster was never without a buddy in that house, nor without a warm bed. Every day, like clockwork, Craig woke early and Buster got up from underneath the covers and nudged into my room to jump under mine, like hitting the snooze bar. An hour or so later, I was up, and Buster rotated to Shawn’s room (who he knew would sleep late), and again, do the same.
In Charleston, Buster always enjoyed a good NJ Devils hockey game. Over the course of several years, they won the Stanley Cup and I can still recall when we got excited for a goal (or near goal), he would bark along with our jubilation.
At the beach, Buster skills would come alive. Whether it was sniffing out crabs in the sand (then digging them up and jousting with them), or barking/biting at the waves, or fetching the ball into ANY kind of surf, running down and catching frisbees long-distance, or drying off by rolling in the sand… he caught everyone’s attention and made me laugh constantly.
To this day, I still contend I taught him the “walking fingers” that would always aggravate and drive him crazy. Despite this, we occasionally used it to inflict fear on other people with this routine.
Buster went everywhere with Craig, and throughout my friendship and living with Craig, that meant Buster was around me a lot. We took him to VA Beach during college once, and due to our last resort, dump-of-a-motel, no-dogs policy, we had to sneak him in. Walking past the office, Buster hid away in a large duffel bag with the zipper cracked. Amidst giggling and his nose poking out, we successfully shuttled him past the office and into our room. At one point, the owner thought he heard barking in our room, to which our friend, George imitated a dog barking to cover for him.
There’s countless stories of the fun we had with Buster. The love and endless loyalty that made him such a perfect dog. In the most recent months, I was happy to see him roaming over to my desk at the office often to say hello to his old friend (and look for a treat that he could always get from me).
My last memory, his last day at our office: Carrying him out to Craig’s car for the evening commute home, popping him in the front seat, closing the door, and tapping on the glass to him… which always got him fired up and barking. I’m grateful I got to hear him, and he had something to say back to me. He was very much my dog too for all the wonderful years I was able to spend with him.
Bye Joesie. I’ll miss you, Mr Man.
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