Short Story Fiction
Buster's comeback

A case of animal abuse.

A dog can be one of the best companions a person could ever have. Loyal, loving and playful to the extreme. This is why I’m always so heartbroken when I see a case like Buster come through the doors of the local animal rescue shelter.

buster's comebackTom Garritty/Unsplash

I’ve worked here for the past six years and I’ve seen some pretty bad neglect and abuse cases come through the door. I thought I’d seen it all. That is until the morning I met Buster.

I was working at my desk when I got a call to come into the receiving room. A new “patient” had just arrived and I needed to make an evaluation. I hate this part of my job. I know when I’m told I need to evaluate an animal, it’s not going to be a pretty sight.

My first glimpse of the dog was shocking to put it mildly. He was sitting, no… slouching in the far corner of the room.

It was a warm day, but the poor mutt was shaking uncontrollably. I had to do a double take. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. His ears were gone and his tail was nowhere to be found. I’m not sure what had happened to them but I could darn well take an educated guess.

He was being starved. His ribs were as pronounced as the ties on a railroad track, You could almost count them from across the room. He also had a bad case of fleas and mange caused by mites. I got close enough to get a better look at him. Stooping down, I held out my hand in friendship. He immediately pulled back. He apparently thought I was going to use it against him. How sad. The thought of what this dog must have gone through sickened me. I was heartbroken at the sight.

I’ve seen abused animals come into the shelter in the past, but nothing like this. This was by far the worst. How could any human do such a thing to an animal, any animal. Especially one that is considered by many to be “man’s best friend”.

This mutt was in desperate need of some serious help. I called for a full workup. I had to be sure there were no internal issues that might disqualify him from getting the help he needed. Fortunately, he had made it to the right place. Many shelters would have put him down without a second thought.

The tests came back in short order. They showed he had parasites. They could be taken care of easily enough. Other than that it was just a bad case of malnutrition, nerves and some hygiene issues.

We started him on the road to recovery. I took a special interest in the mutt. I named him Buster and checked in on him often. I even stepped in on a daily basis to help with his recovery.

It took several months of hard work before Buster began to show some trust to those who were helping him. He gained weight and by six months he looked like a normal dog. Well… as normal as as can be expected. When he was ready to be adopted I had grown so attached to Buster I adopted him myself. With much love and hard work he’s turned out to be the most loving dog a man could ever ask for. I take him to work with me and he has learned to communicate with other animals we take in. Buster has a special way about him that the new patients seem to pick up on. I believe he communicates with them. Tells them his story and assures them all is well. I’m sure he’s a big part of their recovery.

Buster’s not alone. Animal abuse in this country affects hundreds of dogs each year.

They aren’t all as lucky as Buster. They don’t all get a second chance. Like Buster, they’re helpless until loving people like you and I step in and rescue them.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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