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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Abused dog living happily ever after

Friday, April 9, 2004

Buster shakes the hand of his owner, Joe Fritz.
SIKESTON -- "Come here, Buzz! Come here, boy!" Toni Fritz commanded her black Labrador.

In an instant and with a slight limp, the dog came running to Fritz as she showered him with love and attention. It's hard to believe nearly a year ago Buster, or Buzz for short, was fighting for his life when he was thrown from a bridge and injured his hip. Last summer Buster was dropped in a plastic garbage bag with its two other siblings from a bridge outside of Sikeston. One of the puppies died on impact.

Cheri Moore's friend happened to be fishing at the same place where the puppies were abandoned. The puppies eventually washed over to some bushes, which is where the man saw something moving and found the puppies.

"He had gone fishing that day and told me to come over to his house," Moore recalled. "He had two dogs in the back of his truck. They just looked really, really bad. "

One of the puppies couldn't even stand up, Moore said.

"It was in real bad shape and died soon after," Moore said. "My friend gave the other one to me so I could take him to the humane society, and I just cleaned him up because he had stickers and ticks in him."

The dog stayed at the Sikeston Area Humane Society for about a month before he found a new home, said Gabby Evans, executive director of the Sikeston Area Humane Society. "His siblings saved him because Buster was on top of them." Evans said. "He was sore and traumatized, and he was scared for us to touch him for about a week."

Fritz and her husband already owned a black Lab, Gunner, but when Fritz learned about Buster from Evans, it was love at first sight, she said.

"He had this look in his eyes that could tell you, 'All I want is love,'" Fritz said. "And now he's getting plenty of love."

And now Buster even has a big brother, Fritz said. From bank tellers to convenience store workers -- anyone who works a drive thru window -- knows Buster and Gunner, claimed Fritz, adding that Gunner wears a red collar, and Buster has a blue collar.

Evans said Buster's situation is a type of animal abuse that happens many times in the area -- only this time, there's a happy ending.

"Many, many times things like this happen where animals have been thrown out of car doors or thrown out on a road by people who want to get rid of their pets," Evans explained.

Although the humane society staff tries their best try to save all of the animals, they can never save them all, Evans noted.

"I'm just glad that dog could have a great home," said Moore after learning of Buster's new home. "And there's a lot of animals like him that have a home, and a lot that still need a home."

Buster turns 1 this month, and the only signs of Buster's rocky start in life is the slight limp he has when he walks or runs.

"Buster is the greatest dog," Fritz said. "He is so laid back and good and loves us so much because he knows he was rescued. He is really good and loves kids. If he hears kids playing, he'll go barking to get them to play with him."

And Evans even received a Christmas card from Buster this past year, she said.

"He's fine today, and it's so great," Evans noted. "It's happy endings like that make my job worthwhile, and I'm glad he is living happily ever after."