Sarah House Says Goodbye to Buster the Cat

He Comforted the Dying and Their Families for 14 Years

Buster helped comfort more than 50 people in Sarah House’s hospice care.
Courtesy Photo

It was the fall of 2004 when he began showing up regularly. We didn’t know his name, and, truth be told, we were not open to the idea of a cat roaming our halls. We chased him out a dozen times, and a dozen times he found his way into someone’s room. It was as if he knew which resident needed him the most.

We are Sarah House, where people come to spend their last days. We have been serving the Santa Barbara community for 27 years, first by answering the call to help those dying of HIV/AIDS, and then extending our mission to serve anyone on hospice.

After a while, we understood that Buster had a purpose and that he had found his home here. He allowed our residents to hold him, to feed him, to pet him. He spent countless nights in their beds, cuddled up, keeping them company and witnessing their final breath.

He filled that need that only animals can fill, that undeniable and unconditional love they know how to give so easily, so generously. Buster was a source of joy here, and solace too, for the family members who held him after their loved one had died.

I see him as a young cat, running so fast. I see him jumping, sprinting, full of energy. I see him hunting. More than once he offered one of our staff his “kill.” More than once he lay on our books as we tried to write our reports.

Buster chose us, giving us 14 years of his life, love, and loyalty. He was a peaceful and gentle presence in his devotion to the work of Sarah House.

Buster, you will forever be a part of us, a part of the work that is done here.

’Til we meet again, dear friend,

Your Sarah House family

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