Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Dog Named Buster

This is a story about a dog who lives in Boulder, Colorado, and his name is Buster.  He is part labrador retriever, and he maybe has some beagle and pit bull mixed in, too.  Buster got adopted from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley when he was just a puppy.  His human's name is Samantha Squires, and she is a single mother with a 4-year-old son.

Buster was living a very happy life in Boulder with his family, including doing all kinds of things with his mom, like running and sleeping and eating.  He had some separation anxiety, so he liked to be close to his mom whenever he could be.

Then on November 19, Buster suddenly disappeared.  Ms. Squires went out for a run, and when she came back, Buster was gone from the yard.  The gate was open a little, so she figured he had got out and he would come back soon because that had happened a couple of times in the past.  But Buster didn't come back.  And there was no trace of him anywhere.  Ms. Squires looked and looked for him.  She even looked for his body up in the hills because she thought maybe a mountain lion ate him.  But she didn't find his body.  And she thought maybe somebody stole him, but there was no way to tell if somebody did or not.

So Ms. Squires and her son were very sad, but Ms. Squires never quit hoping that Buster would come back someday.  She kept all of Buster's toys and stuff, even though in April she finally adopted a new dog named Toby.

Then one day in May, an amazing thing happened, which was that Ms. Squires got a letter in the mail from a shelter in Salinas, California, and they said they had her dog.  Also they said that if she didn't contact them by May 31, the dog would be put up for adoption.  Ms. Squires had never even heard of Salinas, which my mom says probably means that Ms. Squires never read the novel East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.

Nobody knows how Buster got all the way from Boulder to Salinas, which is more than 1,200 miles away.  Of course, Buster knows, but he's not talking.  What we do know is that on May 20, a man named Peter Ochoa saw Buster sitting on his front porch in Salinas.  Mr. Ochoa didn't know that the dog's name was Buster, but he found out that the dog was friendly and knew how to do "sit" and "shake."  Mr. Ochoa thought the dog looked tired, so he gave him some water, after which Buster wagged his tail.  Mr. Ochoa called Animal Control, so they came and took Buster to the Salinas Animal Shelter.  Mr. Ochoa told the Animal Control officer that if nobody wanted to adopt Buster, he would give him a home.

The shelter scanned Buster for a microchip, and he had one.  Then the shelter people tried calling the phone numbers that came up with the scan, but none of those numbers were any good.  So after that, they sent a letter to the last known address associated with the chip.  Which is how Ms. Squires, who never read East of Eden, found out that her dog was in Salinas, California.

After that, the problem was how to get Buster back to Colorado.  Ms. Squires could not afford to drive out there and get him, and she could not afford to have him flown home.  So at first she tried to set up a relay of her Facebook friends to transport Buster.  But then Frontier Airlines offered to fly Buster to Colorado for free, so of course she accepted their offer.

Soon Buster was reunited with his family, which made everybody very happy.  And here are the things we can learn from this story:  (1) you should always microchip your pets, and (2) you should not leave your dog out in the yard while you are away, especially if he has a history of getting out of the yard.  Oh, and Mom says that everybody should read East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, because she remembers that it was a most excellent book, even though she read it so long ago that she couldn't really tell you now what it was about.


  1. That's a nice story. My mom says that everyone should also watch East of Eden. And Giant. And Rebel Without a Cause. I think there's a common theme with those movies.
    The book is better, but the movie has some good points too.

    Your friend
    Zest, superstar in training

  2. My mom can't remember if she saw the movie of East of Eden or not. Maybe she just read the book. She saw Rebel Without a Cause, and she read Giant, but she did all that a long time ago, and she has a bad memory for stuff she did a long time ago. Ha! Last night after I wrote my blog entry for today, Mom felt inspired to read East of Eden again, so she went to and bought the cd audio version, so she can listen to it in the car, which is how she does a lot of her reading these days.

    Your friend, Piper

  3. Oh, does your mom ever forget if she fed you and re-fed you? That would be a good use of a bad memory.

    My mom has discovered playaways at the local library. Mom doesn't have a lot of money because she spends it all on us dogs (at least that's what she says) so she uses the local library a LOT. Anyway, playaways are little boxes with an entire audio book on them. There aren't a lot of them yet, so the selection is limited. Mom is an optimist and says the limited selection is a good thing because she is exposed to books she wouldn't otherwise read.

    Mom reread East of Eden a few years ago and reread Wuthering Heights not too long ago. She must like that book a lot because she also listened to it on a playaway a few weeks ago.

    --Zest, superstar in training

  4. Sadly, my mom always remembers whether she has fed me or not. She even remembers when she is not supposed to give me any breakfast because I have to get a blood test. I wish her memory was not so good in these areas!

    We have never heard of playaways. Maybe we should see if our library has any.

    The last time Mom read Wuthering Heights, which she read from one of those old-fashioned, paper books, she decided she doesn't like that book anymore because all the characters are mean and selfish, especially Heathcliff and Cathy. So she doesn't care if they ever get to be together or not!


  5. What a heart-warming fact, I got a little choked up - but in a good way! Get this: I know where Salinas, CA is and I've even been there. That's when I lived in CA several years ago. I'd sure like to know how Buster got there; that would be an interesting story. I'm sooo glad that Buster made it back home!
    Love, AP

  6. We think Buster must have hitched a ride to California because it is way too far for a dog to walk there from Colorado. Maybe somebody thought he was a stray and picked him up and took him at least part way, or maybe he got shut up in a truck or a train or something. It would be really interesting to know, and I think Buster could make a lot of money by writing a book about his adventures!
    Love, Piper