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The Visiting Dog Buster

Guest blogger Anni Jørgensen tells the story of the poodle dog Buster.

Poodles generally have a reputation for being teachable and intelligent dogs, and Buster is no exception. Through obedience training and agility, Buster has developed into an obedient and calm dog, who later became a visiting dog at a nursing home in Kerteminde.


I am an intermediate poodle of 11 years and would like to tell a little about my life.

Me and my siblings were born in Slangerup on Zealand, where we had 8 wonderful weeks together. Then my new father and mother came and picked me up on Funen, where many exciting experiences awaited.

I quickly got to know the house and the garden. In the garden, I soon became adept at catching boars and mice. Pretty soon I started with mom in the kindergarten class where there were a lot of different puppies. It was fun.

Every day I went for a walk with my father, where we saw hares and pheasants. When I was a year old, my father died. That was weird.
Soon it began a little harder (and a little more boring) obedience training. However, it could also be quite fun at times, especially when we were stranger places to competitions with all sorts of stranger dogs and people, and we had the folding chair and packed lunches with us. The very best, though, was when we started running agility. It was just something that suited me with up and down, out and in, over and under, back and forth at a sizzling speed. – Those were the days! I often heard someone say I was good.

But, then came the time when mom could not run with more because of the arthritis. – Practice !! Mom was so happy for me and wanted others to enjoy my company too. The chance came when TRYGFONDEN in 2010 sought visiting dogs for the nursing homes.
We came to the session just like the young people for military service. That was exciting. The vet checked my health, others had to see if I was nervous when they “lost” a crutch with a big fuss, or a whiz came in a wheelchair close past me. A man in a wheelchair wanted me to jump up to him, so of course I did.

It all went well, I passed the test.

Now it became exciting when the nursing home called us. – They just did not.

We even had to push on to get started. But then it also went fast. We wrote a paper with an agreement to meet every Tuesday in 2 gardens = departments with approx. 12 residents in each garden. However, it quickly became a visit to 3 gardens.

It was really nice to visit the old people who were so happy to see me. Soon they could know the days of the week on my visits.

When we entered the door, I first ran to the living room, where it read: “Hi, Buster is coming, then it’s Tuesday!” And then there were treats from everyone, (almost).

Some we visited in their own living rooms if they wanted. Some of them were waiting for us. Therefore, we always gave written notice with picture of me if we were prevented from coming next time.

Not everyone likes a dog to visit, but most people are happy about it.

What has touched my mother the most is when someone who was lying in bed just before his death wanted me up to feel my soft fur again. Therefore, my mother hopes that the managers of all the nursing homes will open their eyes to the importance that visiting dogs can have for the well-being of the residents. In some places it works fine but unfortunately not all, although it is quite free, as TRYGFONDEN pays for the equipment needed.

I had 4½ good years as a visiting dog, but became ill in April 2015. It was probably something with a tick. Everyone thought I was dead, but the strong drug cure has probably saved me, so – HURRA!

I’m still here and enjoying my retirement. Mom says the medication may have made me a little crazy. – Now I eat strange things, like paper, wood chips, cabbage sticks, fabric and much more. I enjoy a delicious salad of a sheet of A-4 from the trash every day.

Sincerely, BUSTER. (And Busters owner Anni Jørgensen)

If you would like to read a lot more about visiting dogs, then  click here>>