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Ferry-riding dog’s travels come to an end

Buster, a 3-year-old husky/heeler mix, enjoys riding ferries. He hitched a ride on the Annapolis Ferry and was heading to a Washington State Ferry when he was caught by good samaritans. - Courtesy photo
Buster, a 3-year-old husky/heeler mix, enjoys riding ferries. He hitched a ride on the Annapolis Ferry and was heading to a Washington State Ferry when he was caught by good samaritans.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Buster was enjoying his first ferry ride when ferry workers and passengers disrupted his delightful journey.

Buster, a 3-year-old husky/heeler mix from Port Orchard, hopped aboard the Annapolis Ferry without his owner April 27.

“As we approached the dock, someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if dogs were supposed to ride the ferries,” said Dee Williams, who found Buster. “I looked over and there was this dog with no leash on.”

Williams asked a ferry worker who owned the dog and he said he didn’t know.

“He said it just jumped on the ferry on the Annapolis side,” Williams said.

Buster jumped off the boat and ran up the stairs. Someone caught him and gave him to Williams.

“There were several commuters concerned about the dog,” Williams said.

Williams contemplated putting Buster back on the Annapolis Ferry so he could return to Port Orchard, but the dog took off running again. He headed through the Bremerton Transportation Center, past Washington State Patrol and Washington ferry workers and boarded a Washington State Ferry.

“I knew if that dog made it to Seattle he would never find his owners,” Williams said.

Ferry workers and commuters caught the dog and gave it to Williams, assuming it was hers. Williams tied up Buster and called Kitsap Animal Control. She took a photograph of the dog and made posters, hoping to find the animal’s owner.

Buster’s owner, Barbara Rittberg, of Port Orchard, saw one of the posters and retrieved her dog from the Kitsap Humane Society in Silverdale a few days after he went missing.

“My first thought was ‘oh my gosh, I’m so happy he didn’t make it to Seattle,’” Rittberg said.

Rittberg, who occasionally rides the ferries, said Buster has tried to board buses in the past and is a friendly, smart dog.

“I think he followed someone on the ferry,” Rittberg said. “He’s just one of those dogs who likes to be friends with everybody.”

Rittberg doesn’t know who found her dog, but she is thankful a good samaritan, like Williams, caught Buster and made posters.

“The person who did what she did is awesome,” Rittberg said. “I would really like to thank her for going out of her way.”

Although Buster enjoyed his ferry ride, Rittberg hopes it will be his last.

“It was just a dog that wanted to ride the ferries,” Williams said. “The dog seemed to know exactly what he was doing. It was pretty funny.”

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