Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yesterday Was Buster's Day

No harvest yesterday.

There was no harvest yesterday because we had to put down our beloved Manchester Terrier, Buster Brown. We took him to the veternarian as he had projectile vomited overnight and hadn't eaten in a day and a half. When we got him there he had lost more weight than before (we brought him in about a week prior). My wife and I discussed it and decided that nothing more can be done.

So yesterday was Buster's day. I carried him on his favorite walk, the long walk, in the late morning. My wife spent quiet time with him in the back yard. She carried him around the back yard. After a few chores, I brought him back to a local veternary clinic.

I first met Buster when I met my then girlfriend. I remember him being aggressive and pugnacious, but he was clearly just protecting my girlfriend. I liked him. But soon he dug himself out of the backyard and ran away once or twice.

Later on I found out he had a rough upbringing and may have been abused when he was a puppy. My now wife got him around the age of 2.5 to 3 years and thought he owned her and her back yard. If a male had originally treated him badly and a female treated him nicely, one can fully understand his reaction. I didn't quite understand that at the time but Buster was a dog's dog, both good and bad. Even if I didn't like some behavior I pretty much always knew where he was coming from.

Then I moved in. More adjustments. He still thought he was the alpha dog and it took a while to convince him otherwise. Sometimes I wasn't gentle about it, but I had to show him that he wasn't in control of me. I also had to show him that there were no hard feelings.

My then girlfriend didn't walk the dogs, but I did. And Buster loved it. And we bonded.

One night Buster was misbehaving in some fashion just before I was to walk both of them. I tried something different -- I put him on his leash without punishing him and attached the end of his leash to the table leg. And the other dog and I went for a walk.

He got it. Punishing him was hit or miss but taking away this privilege while the other dog enjoyed it. His behavior got much better. We bonded some more, understood each other. He never ran away again.

He'd picked off my ripening tomatoes which I didn't like but it would frequently make me laugh more than anything. Him and I would coordinate so that he could catch grasshoppers. I'd call him over and then spook the grasshopper, making it move and Buster would do the rest.

He was a chatty dog. That was one of his charms. It was noisy, but charming. He was affectionate, moreso as he got older. And he loved walks. And dog biscuits.

He had lost weight pretty dramatically over the last several weeks. He had inflammatory bowel disease but we believe it was more than that. Regardless, he felt good enough on Friday night/Saturday morning that when he was placed on our bed he was licking my calf for 5 or 10 minutes. With force. Like nothing was wrong. I had walked him to the end of the block earlier in the evening.

On Saturday he took a turn for the worse. Sunday night he didn't eat all day and it all came out and more on Monday morning. Even though he was wobbly legged, I did get him outside and walked to the sidewalk and back.

The toughest part of putting him down was the one hour wait.

Eventually he was brought in, talked with the assistant, waited about 5 minutes, talked with the doctor (she said several times that we were doing the right thing) and waited some more. She brought in Buster in a warm blanket.

The lethal injection was made in the IV and Buster shot up like a cannon! The doctor said he's not in pain but some times dogs react because it is cold. Buster was so thin he couldn't regulate his temperature (we had a jacket on him almost all the time) so this made sense. He went back down and I had my hand on his protruding rib cage. His breathing became very very light after 30 seconds. The doctor examined him for a few seconds and declared him dead. I placed my hand on his rib cage and he wasn't breathing.

I'll really, really miss Buster.

Today's harvest includes 6 Matt's Wild Cherry, 3 SunSugar, 2 Sweet Carneros Pink, 2 Jaune Flamme, 2 Garden Peach, 2 Patio, 2 Persimmon(1), 2 SunGold(1), Green Zebra(1), Porkchop, Husky Cherry Red(2), Golden Mama, Large Pink Anna(1), Green Grape, Green Doctors Kiwi(1) (not Green Doctors Kiwi), Michael Pollan, Orange And Green Zebra, Oaxacan Jewel(2), Yellow Brandywine and Coyote (not Coyote) for a total of 33 tomatoes.

We've now harvested over 350 SunGold(1) tomatoes.  


Ted Roche said...

My condolences on your loss. The hardest things about our furry companions is having to let them go. Take comfort that you provided him with a good life and a gentle end.

Bill Anderson said...

Thank you Ted, it's truly appreciated.

Evilevie said...

Family, 4legged included, never live long enough. My heart bleeds for u 2

Bill Anderson said...

Thanks Evie, it's appreciated.