The next inductee into the Therapy Category is Buster, a 4 ½ year old Beagle. Buster belongs to Ben Edwards from Johnson, VT and was nominated by VVMA member veterinarian Dr. Cynthia Pratt.
Buster came to Ben as a six month old stray, four years ago. It was a dark, cold night when Ben’s wife JoAnne was driving home and spotted Buster as he wandered into the road. JoAnne loaded Buster willingly into the car, planning to find his owner and return him. When the pair arrived home, Ben immediately noticed that Buster had a wonderful personality. He was in a strange house, being held by a strange man and he was totally relaxed! Ben already owned a Plott Hound named Augusta who was a therapy dog. He knew the qualities it took to become a therapy dog and Buster struck him as a good candidate. Upon investigation, Ben and JoAnne learned that Buster lived in East Johnson, belonged to a co-worker of JoAnne’s and had been living off the land in Hyde Park for 2 weeks in the dead of winter! Beagles as a breed are known to be hardy and obviously Buster was no exception!
JoAnne headed off to return Buster to his East Johnson home with instructions from Ben to make an offer to purchase him. One half hour later, JoAnne returned home with Buster as a new member of the Edwards family.
During the following year, Ben and Buster worked diligently on obedience skills, socialization and honing aptitudes necessary to become a team in Pet Partners of Vermont, a group associated with the Delta Society and founded by Ben. The pair passed their evaluation in 2003.
Buster is a regular visitor to Out & About Adult Day Care Center, Genesis Care Center and Copley Hospital all in Morrisville. He is also certified by Reading Education Assistance Dogs and has served as a R.E.A.D. dog for students at the Augmentative Learning and Movement Center in Morrisville.
As a therapy dog, Buster is exceptional! He loves everyone and everyone loves him. He has the natural ability to make people smile. With his tail wagging and ears flopping, he appears as a bundle of happiness as he approaches people who unconsciously reach out to pet is silky coat and rub his wondrously soft ears.
Participants at the Out & About Adult Day Care Center have these things to say about Buster:
- “I look forward to seeing Buster when he comes in for a visit. He makes me happy and brings back fond memories of my own pets.”
- “I like Beagles. They are good natured and don’t have a mean bone in their bodies. I enjoy visiting with Buster when he comes to the Center. Buster brings back memories of the many Beagles that I raised for companionship and hunting.”
- “I raised Bluetick Hounds for many years and trained them for coon hunting competition in Ohio. They are your best friends. If you treat them well, you’ll get back a good performance and unconditional love. Since my stroke and move to Vermont several years ago, I could no longer have dogs in my home. I miss them. I look forward to coming to the Center to visit my canine buddy, Buster. Buster tickles me with his easy going ways.”
Ben states it best: “Buster’s strength as a therapy animal is his ability to make people smile when he is with them and, I suspect, to smile whenever they think of him later. He has the ability to make people forget their problems and he brightens their day. He has brought much needed joy to hundreds of people of all ages. In a very real sense, he epitomizes all the best qualities of a therapy animal.”
The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association is extremely pleased to induct Buster into the Vermont Animal Hall of Fame in the Therapy Category.