I was all set today to blog about the Seahawks’ epic week. I had a brilliant ode to Seattle composed in my head. I just had to get home and type it out. But celebration will have to wait until tomorrow.

While I was at the gym, I got a series of texts from my parents. They lost their dog Buster to cancer today.

Man's best friend. Check out that muscle.
Man’s best friend. Check out that muscle.

They got Buster just before I got home from my sophomore year of college. He was the cutest little golden retriever puppy you’ve ever seen. His paws looked comically big against his little body. We debated over what the puppy’s name should be. A journalism major, I wanted to name him Newsie and train him to fetch the morning paper. My sister wanted a tough name like Maverick. My dad liked Buster. Dad won. We liked to call him Buster Brown. I often shortened it to B. Brown or just B.

I only lived with Buster that one summer break, but he always seemed to like me. He knew I was a sucker who’d sneak him extra treats, rub his ears and let him off his leash to run around the backyard trails.

Buster was really good with my niece and nephews, too, always concerned when they cried. He didn’t even mind Nolan sitting on his head this Christmas. He was also good with the various cats and dogs who passed through my parents house during his lifetime.

Buster was noticeably thin this Christmas. He couldn’t see (or had limited vision). My mom told me they had just taken him to the vet. The vet suspected cancer, but they were awaiting the official results. Shortly after I returned to New York, my mom texted me that it was indeed cancer and they couldn’t do anything for him. Cancer is the No. 1 disease-related killer of pets.

B. Brown & Nolan
B. Brown & Nolan

According to Animal Planet, the benefits of living with a pet include breathing easier, having an instant ice-breaker when meeting new people, having motivation to get outside and getting a boost from their unconditional love.

I don’t have to tell you losing a pet is hard. They are such a part of our routine. I say “Bye, Gats” every time I leave and “Hey, Gats!” when I get home. Even when I sleep somewhere other than my apartment for a night, my first thought when I wake up is “where Gatito?”

Give your pets a little extra love today. Here are signs of cancer in pets.

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