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Buster gets a second chance

Buster, a 4-year-old yellow lab, gives Dr. John Swingle, of Countryside Veterinary Clinic, some love.. Swingle worked to dress Busters wounds and reset his elbow after he was run over and abandoned by his owners. To see video of Buster, visit / 3
Buster poses for a shot.3 / 3

When Buster woke up on Wednesday, Aug. 1, he had no idea how drastically his life was about to change.

That night the 4-year-old yellow lab was hit by a car and abandoned by his owners after a domestic argument at their Somerset home.

After Buster was hit, deputies asked the owners what they'd like done with the dog, to which they responded, "Just shoot it."

Instead, they called Dr. John Swingle of Countryside Veterinary Clinic. Swingle, along with his team at Countryside, evaluated Buster, discovering numerous lacerations and a shattered elbow.

"He was pretty torn up when he got here," Swingle said. "But we try really hard not to euthanize anything that can potentially be adopted out and we really felt like there was a good chance of finding him a home."

When Buster arrived at Countryside, Swingle said he had to use two rows of staples to close the dog's wounds. Because he didn't want the dog to go into shock, he wasn't able to use any anesthesia.

"He just laid there and looked at me while I did it," Swingle said. "He's a sweet dog."

Buster is now sporting a cast on his leg, while his shattered elbow heals. He's taken up residence at Countryside Veterinary Clinic.

"I don't have any idea about what kind of life he had," Swingle said. "He's just too nice of a dog to just abandon."

Countryside often takes in animals that are sick or injured, he said. A Good Samaritan fund has been established to help cover the costs associated with treating such animals, he said.

"We have a little bit of money in there and we had one client already donate money toward his care," he said. "It's not enough to cover what we've put in to Buster, but sometimes we just have to bare those costs. Our main purpose is to find him a good home."

Anybody who wants to help with buster's expenses can donate to Countryside Veterinary Clinic's Good Samaritan Fund.

"We're less concerned about the money than we are about getting him out of here and into a good home," he said.

Because of the extent of his injuries, Buster won't be a normal dog, Swingle said.

Buster's elbow was broken at the joint and will heal in a way that will not allow him to bend his elbow, Swingle said.

"It shattered the bone right at the joint and because of that, even if you put the joint back together, you're going to have major arthritis that's right in the joint so what we decided to do is to put it back together in such a way that it will heal solid," he said.

While it's not an ideal solution, it is the best way to make sure Buster isn't in any pain, Swingle said.

"He's always going to have a stiff leg, he's not going to be a normal dog, but our hope is that he'll be pain-free. And the way it was set, he should be able to use it. He'll be able to put that leg down and kind of use it as a crutch."

"He's not going to be a hunting dog or anything like that," Swingle said. "He's just going to be a dog that somebody needs to love."

While it's unknown whether Buster previously lived with kids or animals, Swingle said he hasn't shown any aggressive behaviors while he's been at Countryside.

Those interested in adopting Buster can call the clinic at 715-246-5606 to meet him.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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