Saturday, August 20, 2011
A Dog Named Buster
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.