Bringing Out The Best in Buster

As we tackled the blackberries last weekend we uncovered hidden treasure.

To some, this represents a fun game of play;

but to pups like Buster – something more worrying. Buster is one of a few dogs that arrive at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary completely, utterly and totally ball-obsessed.

Lots of dogs enjoy a game of ball, but in some cases it moves from play to something much more. When a dog focuses on the ball to the exclusion of every other kind of human or canine interaction, the obsession lessens their quality of life.

A garden succeeds with variety – of shape, texture, color and contrast.

Too much of a good thing results in sameness.

The magic occurs in mixing things up and uncovering surprises.

Dogs are social beings. They need interaction and variety too, or they can become compulsive, neurotic, or worse. The trainers at Homeward Bound are well-practiced in turning around these pups, to give them a chance at adoption and a happy, healthy life.

There is a must-read success story posted to the website about Chester – now Rudy – who arrived at Homeward Bound very much like Buster. You can read it here.

With the training and dedication, Rudy has found a whole new life beyond the ball.

Buster is still a work in progress – but the progress is really good. It begins with a cleared pen, free of all balls, so he can begin to focus his attention on the trainer. Each look is rewarded with treats and praise.

New activities are introduced, with the ball becoming the reward – instead of the object of the exercise. A look in the eyes is cause for celebration;

a kiss means it’s time to throw a parade!

Buster is well on his way. You can see the change in his face…from a few weeks ago…

to now.

He is so lucky to have the team at Homeward Bound on his side. And it truly takes a team! Trainers, feeders, walkers – all reinforcing the same steps will, with any luck, help the placement team connect him to a waiting family;

someone who will see the golden in him, the way Art and Amy saw the promise in Rudy. Is that you?

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

9 thoughts on “Bringing Out The Best in Buster”

  1. so great to see the good work that you folks are doing…. we love our goldens…..I went through all my records the other day, and Linda and I are up to foster number 40 now! Working with SCGRR has been so rewarding, and really appreciated the tour of your “ranch”…. big hugs and tail wags to ya!

    Jim Bowers, SCGRR volunteer

  2. That is a great post! Beautifully and creatively written, it tells the story of the wonderful work of love and dedication. You really can teach an old dog new tricks. And it begins with trust and friendship.

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