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My beloved Buster, by Jim Harkins

In June 2014, I lost my beloved dog Beanie to bone cancer at the age of 13. He was my first companion dog. It took me four months to overcome my grief enough to even think about adopting again.

The following October I went to my local rescue shelter, intending to adopt an old dog in honor of my Beanie, and give it a few good final years. Little did I know the Good Lord had other plans for me. Through an amazing turn of events, I ended up bringing home a four-month-old Jack Russell Terrier mix (my Buster), who had been rescued and brought to my local shelter that week.

From his first day home, Buster was a bundle of joy and he absolutely loved people. I live in a retirement community and Buster quickly became a favorite of all the park residents. His favorite pastime was laying belly-up in the sun on the picnic area opposite my home. Because the park doesn’t have fences, dogs have to be leashed. This meant I could be seen standing in the picnic area every day holding his leash, while Buster did his belly-up thing in the sunshine!

In another part of the picnic area, there was a concrete bench that nobody ever used, so the park management allowed me to move it to the area across from my home, so I could sit down each day while Buster did his thing. This bench eventually became “Buster’s Bench”.

In February 2023, my beautiful Buster was suddenly hit by an autoimmune disease! I was in total shock, as I’ve never seen anything happen so quickly – one day he was happily playing fetch and enjoying the sunshine, then less than 96 hours later he was gone.

My only consolation was that his suffering was short, and I know he is up there playing with my Beanie, until my time comes to join them both.

Buster was given the honor of being the first dog to appear in the obituaries in the park’s monthly newsletter. Last month a memorial plaque was placed on the concrete bench, officially designating it “Buster’s Bench”.

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