Stay up-to-date on what's happening at the Regional Animal Protection Society

Big lug Buck finds forever home

Hundred-pound dog with leg issues has a bright future with new family.

Last June, Michael Fu saw that RAPS was looking for a foster for a very large one-year-old dog who had been surrendered from northern B.C.

Buck, a Caucasian Shepherd/Sarplaninac/Lab Mix, was surrendered to RAPS when his people could no longer give him the care he required. We knew he had some physical issues but we could not be sure what they were until we transferred him to Vancouver. In the meantime, RAPS put out the word that we needed a calm, welcoming place for Buck to stay while he was assessed.

Michael contacted RAPS almost instantly.

“He’s been with me ever since,” Michael says – and a few days ago, it became official: Michael adopted Buck permanently.

When Buck first arrived, Michael says, he had trouble walking. Both his hind legs seemed to be bothering him and, at one point, Michael had to carry Buck home. (When Buck arrived, he was about 95 pounds. Now he is 106!)

X-rays indicated that Buck did indeed have knee problems, but he was too young for surgery. Large-breed dogs take longer to reach physical maturity, so the decision was made to put Buck on pain relief and joint supplements and monitor his progress.

Over time, he stopped limping and his pain meds were reduced and then elminated. His limping did not return. He may need surgery in future (large-breed dogs often develop joint issues as they age) but, for now, he is doing fabulously!

“He walks better. He runs better,” said Michael. “He’s getting better and better.”

While Michael has been advised to keep Buck from engaging in high-impact activities, like fetch or roughhousing at the dog park, but he gets lots of exercise.

“Every day, I walk him at least three times,” Michael says. “An hour in the morning, an hour-and-a-half in the afternoon and another half an hour or 20 minutes in the evening before bedtime.”

Buck will be two years old at the end of April and has settled in beautifully with Michael and with his new cat-brother, Houston. (Houston was also adopted from RAPS, about 12 years ago, after being found under the hood of a truck on a Richmond farm. He was so small that Michael fed Houston with an eye-dropper.) Buck and Houston accommodate each other, Michael says. They’re not playmates, and Houston is the boss of the house, but they have an understanding and get along fine.

“He is the sweetest, gentle giant,” Michael says of Buck. “Everyone loves him. The neighborhood kids, the young kids always come up to him. Small dogs barking, yapping – those who are brave enough to come close to him love him. He’s an adorable person. Everyone loves him.”

Frequently, a treatable illness of disability can lead to euthanasia, particularly in jurisdictions that lack a no-kill animal organization like RAPS. Buck’s health issues are comparatively minor, it turns out, but had he been surrendered to some other shelters, they might not have invested the resources to determine the severity of his conditions.