Buster is the dog that wanders around our house now. We picked him up at the animal shelter in San Diego back in 1994. The vet we took him to said he looked about four years old, so this would make him 21, seventeen of which he has been with us. He is a Chihuahua mix, soft brown fur, and weighs about nine pounds. Over the years he has gotten a little grey in the face, but he still is fuzzy.
When we first got him he was friendly and a follower. He must have lived with an older woman, because as soon as he got to our house he jumped up on the couch and onto my mother’s lap, a place he really liked. Unfortunately for Buster we picked up another dog from the same shelter just the day before. Max was a toy terrier, less than a year old, and shared the pen at the shelter with Buster and another full Chihuahua. Because of the shelter’s policy on holding small dogs longer than big dogs, in case the owner came back wanting them again, it took over three weeks after we first saw the guys before we could take them home. We were on a waiting list for both of them, as at that time lots of people were looking for little dogs. We had lost Rose, our little dog, a year earlier, and wanted two similar dogs, figuring that they would keep each other company. I first saw the dogs and signed up for them, then took B down to see them. When she got in the pen and knelt down to talk to the guys Buster immediately jumped up on her knee, he was so anxious to get out of there.
Due to the way they came in we ended up taking Max home a day ahead of Buster. I guess that first day at our house alone convinced Max that he was the boss, so the next day when that guy he had been locked up with for three weeks showed up the went ballistic, barking and biting Buster to show him he wasn’t wanted there. Since then Max kept biting Buster on the butt whenever he felt like it, and poor Buster just took it.
Now Buster is the only one left. His hearing started getting poor, and about a year ago he started getting cataracts in his right eye. Fortunately he still could see OK out of the left, but then he got an infection in the left eye. Due to some incompetence by two vets he ended up having that eye taken out, leaving him with the one with cataracts. They have gotten progressively worse, and now he seems to just about make out the difference between light and dark. It’s obvious that he doesn’t see us, as we can walk by him and get no reaction. But when he’s looking for us he knows where we sit and we look down to see him standing by our leg just waiting for whatever it is he wants. He is deaf in the left ear and hears little out of the right; he does jump at loud noises so we know he hears something, but he doesn’t respond when we talk to him or call.
Max was the guard, barking at everything, and Buster would follow along in support, but now he says little. When begging Max used to do a little dance and whine, but Buster would sit up on his hind legs and wave his front paws at you quietly. He doesn’t do that anymore. He used to jump up on the couch and bed to get next to us, but he is moving slower and doesn’t jump any more either.
We got him a soft sided bed so he would have a place of his own to lie in. Most of the time he finds it
And sometimes he props his head on the side.
But sometimes he just misses it
And sometimes he can’t find it at all
He gets around the house fine, knowing his way from his bed to the water dish in the bathroom and out to the kitchen where we keep his food. He’s lost most of his teeth, we used to leave a feeder full of dry food for the guys and they would eat whenever they were hungry, but now we have to give him soft stuff. He has gotten really picky, sometimes refusing the canned stuff we found he liked. We also give him chicken or ham, and he rotates between refusing to eat different things and we then have to go through everything trying to find something he’ll take.
We have little doggie doors that the guys used to get outside by themselves, but a while back he ended up going out and wasn’t able to find his way back in. It was a hot day and he ended up wandering in the sunshine for we don’t know how long. So we closed up the doors to prevent that, and for a while he would wander over to the back door scratching to be let out, but now he just gets out of his bed, walks a few feet, and probably thinks it’s not worth the long walk and just goes wherever he wants to. Supposedly one dog year is equal to seven people years, so that would make him the equivalent of 140 years old, so I figure he deserves to do just about whatever he wants to at that age. I tell our daughter that at 120 I’ll be doing the same thing, and she better be prepared.