I didn’t choose my little Yorkie mix, Buster. He chose me.

I’ve always loved animals and have had more than my fair share of dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, reptiles, farm animals, etc. in my life. Some of them I chose to bring into my life, but most just fell into my path by circumstance and my well-known propensity for taking in strays. Usually, it is a person who asks me to adopt an animal for one reason or another, but not always. In Buster’s case, he asked me himself, not in words, but in actions.

I was just a couple of months away from retiring from public teaching and had already moved in with my parents for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was their increasing need for help with daily life. My nephew and his family lived next door. His wife also had a soft spot for animals and had picked up a stray dog that was in danger of being run over. She put out notices, but no one claimed the little fella, so they kept him and named him Buster.

Their little girls loved him, but he was not fond of children. He wasn’t mean, but he wasn’t friendly, either. He also had some health issues that created a pretty large vet bill. I don’t remember what the issue was, but it required an overnight stay and some expensive medication. Buster also tended to wander off, which is probably why he was out on the highway to begin with. After just a few weeks, he was really wearing out his welcome at their house. He just wasn’t happy there and made everyone aware of his feelings.

I was always busy between work and running errands for my parents, so I really didn’t spend a lot of time visiting with my nephew and had only seen Buster a couple of times. That’s why I was so shocked when he just appeared next to me one morning when I was getting ready for work. I guess he came into the house when Daddy went outside for a walk, but no one noticed him or said anything about it. I had my blow-dryer going and when I turned it off and took a step, I nearly tripped over Buster who was just sitting there looking up at me. I reached down to pet him, and he whimpered which I thought was odd. After checking him over, I realized he had a small wound on his back hip and seemed to be sore all over his body. He couldn’t walk well and just sort of hobbled when he followed me down the hall. I think he may have been hit by a car or rolled by another neighborhood dog.

I tried calling my nephew but couldn’t get an answer. I knew Buster needed to see a vet, so I decided I would just take him myself. After calling in and letting my principal know that I would be late, I took Buster to our local vet who had been the one who treated him earlier. It turns out that Buster had a torn ligament and some other minor injuries. The vet told me he could treat him and keep him overnight, so I agreed to foot the bill and headed on to work.

As soon as my nephew got home from work that evening, I let him know what was going on with Buster. I went and picked the little guy up from the vet the next afternoon, paid the bill and brought him back to my nephew. Buster wasn’t happy, though, and as soon as he got the chance, he came hobbling back over to our house. We all decided that since my parents were home all day anyway, it might be best for him to rest and recover with us. His recovery lasted about 5 years. That’s how long he lived before he picked on a dog that didn’t appreciate his cocky attitude, but that’s a story for another day.

I loved that little dog, and he was as good as gold with my parents and me. I don’t think I’d ever intentionally get another Yorkie, though. They are VERY high maintenance and need more trips to the groomer than I am prepared for.