Buster has experienced quite a traumatic life for such a young pup. At only 3 months of age, this Great Dane and American Bulldog mix was brought to the County Animal Shelter with a fractured elbow. K-9 PALS, the volunteer organization that cares for dogs and puppies awaiting adoption at the Shelter, immediately arranged the necessary surgery to repair the fracture. Buster then spent the next five weeks in a foster home, wrapped in bandages and an Elizabethan collar. If that weren't enough, Buster's skin is fair and susceptible to sunburn, so he needed to be slathered with sunscreen whenever he ventured outdoors and could only spend limited time in the direct sun. To top it off, Buster is deaf.

Yes, Buster is a dog with special needs, but at 7 months of age, he is now healthy and happy and ready for an active life (although he probably shouldn't become a running/jogging partner). Buster would prefer to be the only dog in the household or perhaps live with other dogs that are confident and assertive. However, he draws the line at cats and small dogs. Older children (14 years-plus) are preferred. In case you are wondering about training a dog like Buster: hearing-impaired dogs can respond very well to hand signals, says Thom Zimerle, a volunteer with K9 PALS.

Despite everything he's been through, Buster is a resilient and loving boy. Won't you give him a chance?

To meet Buster, stop by K9 PALS at 5473 Overpass Road, off Patterson Avenue, or call 681-4369. To view pictures of other adoptable dogs, cats and bunnies, visit

Things in Need

Whether doing laundry, cleaning yards and kennels, or walking, training and spending quiet time with the shelter dogs, volunteers are the heart and soul of K-9 PALS. Volunteers with fundraising, writing, gardening and handyman skills are always needed as well. Two-part volunteer orientations are held the second and third Saturday of each month. If you are interested in learning how to train and care for dogs in need, leave a message for Lisa at 681-4369.

Foster care is often needed for dogs like Buster, who are recuperating from surgeries or other medical conditions. Dogs that are having a hard time managing the stress of shelter life can also benefit from the special relationship and attention they receive from living in short-term foster homes. If you are interested in providing foster care for a shelter dog, contact K-9 PALS at 681-4369 or the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter at 681-5285.