Me and My Pet - Sam Curtis and Buster

Sam and Buster relax at home after a good walk in the countryside around their West Yorkshire home

Sam and Buster relax at home after a good walk in the countryside around their West Yorkshire home - Credit: Archant

Sam Curtis, a marketing assistant from Low Mill, pays tribute to her larger than life dog Buster.

Former Sandhurst recruit Buster enjoys life as a civilian pet

Former Sandhurst recruit Buster enjoys life as a civilian pet - Credit: Archant

I’m Yorkshire born and bred and grew up in Leeds. We always had cats and, in the way people do, I used to think of myself as a cat-only person.

All that changed when I met my husband. Lee grew up around German shepherds and was always keen for us to have a dog. His experience of living around large dogs meant that a small fluffy animal was never going to be for him. At first, he was keen on a Weimaraner, but a visit to a local breeder really put me off. While the puppies were gorgeous, they were so boisterous I felt I needed a gentler introduction to dog ownership.

But Lee didn’t give up and eventually spotted Buster, our 11-year-old German shepherd, in a newspaper advertisement nine years ago.

Originally a Sandhurst dog with high hopes of joining the army, a deformed pad on one of his paws meant he couldn’t serve so he was adopted as a pet by one of the army families. Unfortunately, a move to York and a change in family circumstances meant they could no longer care for Buster. After lots of soul searching and meeting with him, we took a leap of faith and agreed to rehome him.

I confess I was a bit nervous to start with owing to Buster’s large size. Originally working dogs, German shepherds are commonly regarded as one of the best police and military breeds in the world and are strong, athletic and intelligent, as well as being known for their loyal, protective, and versatile nature.

Thankfully, my fears were short-lived and Buster really won me over. He’s so obedient and loves people. He’s also an ideal family dog with a large fan club. Children often stop at our gate to throw him tennis balls and Frisbees – his favourite toys. Buster even succeeded in charming our rather hostile cat Coco when he first arrived, and they could often be found enjoying the sunshine together in the porch.

Living in Low Mill, a small hamlet between Addingham and Ilkley, is the perfect spot for Buster. German shepherds require a lot of walking and the gateway to the Dales provides us with miles of fantastic countryside on our doorstep. Our current favourite walk is from Bolton Abbey to the Cavendish, returning to the Devonshire Arms, where we almost always stop for a pint. One of Buster’s guilty pleasures is a cooling drink of beer and, being a dog with a taste for the finer things in life, he adores posh sausages from Lishman’s after a long walk.

Buster is very much an outdoor dog. Although he sleeps inside on very cold winter nights, he spends most his time exploring our large garden. Luckily my husband works from home so, within the secure confines of the garden, Buster can come and go as he likes.

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With his thick creamy coloured coat, beautiful markings and lovely personality, Buster has completely converted me from my previous state as a cat person. Although my husband has often said we will never find a dog as perfect as Buster, I would definitely have another German shepherd. They’re the ideal family pet.

Sam Curtis is an office and marketing assistant at corporate and hospitality management company Dine, based at The Mansion in Roundhay Park. For more information, visit

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