Once, there was a dog. Like most dogs, it started out as a puppy. It was small and black and white and grey. It had floppy ears, ink-black eyes and a tiny little nose. It had a brother called Thor (who was a chubby little guy), a sister called Freja (who was very eager for attention) and several other fluffy siblings that all ran around in their little patch of dirt.
The puppy around whom this story revolves was chosen by a family. They picked him up and put him in the back seat of their car with their ten year old son and the puppy was so scared. Besides having lived right next to a busy highway for its entire life, the puppy proved to be completely terrified of cars. It would remain so for a very long time.
When the family and their puppy came home, it proved too much for the little creature and it peed on the floor. The mother of the family didn't know much about handling small, scared animals, so she chased it around the house, yelling "Bad dog!" at it. It eventually squeezed itself under a tea trolley, shaking in fear.
This made their son cry. What right did he have to a dog? How could his mother - who had shown nothing but love for him - prove to be such a monster to a scared and confused puppy who needed the family to love him? Confronted with doggy snacks, the puppy forgave all, and the mother learned to take a gentler hand.
They considered many names for the puppy. The boy suggested "Batman" and "Zorro". In the end, they settled on "Buster". Buster was very happy. Buster and the boy was very much alike. Just as the boy shied away from other people, so did buster shy away from other dogs. Neither of them were aggressive. Neither of them ate whatever was put on their plate. They both liked red meat, cold weather and fresh air.
Buster grew up. He became a real dog with a gentle demeanour and a bark not unlike that of a very large wolf. He and a member of the family went for walks twice a day. In the summertime, Buster would trot along, tongue out and head down. During the winter, however, he was like a dog reborn. He would run and jump and roll in the snow. One winter it was so cold that every whisker and eyebrow It made the boy happy.
Like all dogs, Buster had some problems. He ran away once or twice. He had a scrap with a local German shepherd that left him a little more aggressive. He contracted mange for a while and chewed himself bloody. He was absolutely terrified of water.
He led a long and happy life. He barked at the mailman. He chased rabbits. He learned to fear cars a little less. His ears got pointy. He was petted and fed and loved. And in the end, he died.
And I love him.