Saying goodbye to Buster Baxley

Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend.

That statement has never been more true for Jina and Mark Baxley, with their boxer Buster. 

Boxers are the closest to being human a dog can get according to Mark Baxley, “they have looks. You come home and they have a look, they do something bad and they have a look.” 

One of the worst days of the couple’s life happened when they had to put their 12-year-old dog down on Monday, June 19.

Buster Baxley suffered from Degenerative Myelopathy–a spinal cord disease that causes a breakdown of the white matter in the spinal cord leading to a loss in coordination and inability to regulate their body temperature.

The condition worsens over time and the family has been dealing with this sad reality for a year. 

His beginnings were rocky from the start, with his previous owner listing him on Craig’s List. The Baxley’s say he was kept in horrible conditions which led to him having fleas, heartworms, and being malnourished.

Mark Baxley sadly recalls the day he took him home for the first time on May 20, 2014 and how skittish he was around people.

During the nine years the Baxley’s have had Buster, some of their favorite memories are him singing to greet them when they came home.

“He would be waiting all day on the couch for you to get home,” Mark says.

He will miss getting to cuddle with him every night. Jina will miss the laughter and the joy he brought into their lives.

Two days before crossing the rainbow bridge,  Buster enjoyed a Jeep parade just for him. The gathering was put together by the community after Mark made a post on the Havana Hub Facebook page detailing Buster’s diagnosis and his fate.

 A group of Jeep riders responded to the post and gathered two jeeps and a pick-up truck, riding from Havana to Bainbridge with Buster enjoying the wind and company.

During the ride, they stopped at Dairy Queen to  get a cheeseburger and ice cream for the special boy.

Many  who could not ride along came to the restaurant Off the Rails, to see them off and offer their best wishes to Buster.

On his last day, the couple pulled out all the stops–a pup cup from Starbucks, a rotisserie chicken from Boston Market, and homemade vanilla and peanut butter ice cream.

Buster will be cremated and laid to rest in a cedar box, in memory of Jina’s grandfather who was laid to rest in a similar fashion. They will be able to remember him in nose and paw impressions. 

“My heart is broken,” says Jina, “He’s like my kid.” 

Summer Batten – Gadsden County News Service


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