Friends until the end

Buster the duck and Wheeler the dog take a walk recently at Groton Family Farm. Wheeler died Sunday at the age of 17, leaving his good friend Buster behind.

Wheeler, the Great Pyrenees dog who lived at the Groton Family Farm and became a local celebrity because of his friendship with a duck, has died.

Farm owner Warren Burrows said Wheeler was found Sunday morning next to the chicken coop at the farm. He had died, at the age of 17, during the night. His best friend, the duck named Buster, was still by his side.

Burrows rescued Wheeler in 2006 after the dog was found living alone on an abandoned farm. Last year, a duck that had been brought to the farm to live was lonely, so he adopted Wheeler as his buddy. They quickly became inseparable.

Burrows said Buster is somewhat lost without his companion. In the short term, Burrows will likely get another duck to keep Buster company, and in the long term will look for another homeless dog to adopt. The dog must like ducks, he said.

Coincidentally, the students in Cynthia Lawrence's second-grade class at Claude Chester School in Groton, read the book the class wrote collectively about Wheeler and Buster on Monday. The students visited the farm in September and were immediately taken with the friendship of the two animals and began writing stories about the pair.

Burrows, owner of the farm, supplied photos for the book and was present for the reading Monday. The children were not aware that Wheeler had died over the weekend.

Carol Glaude, left, principal at Claude Chester School in Groton, views writing and drawing examples created by students in Cynthia Lawrence's 2nd grade class for the book they wrote collectively about Wheeler and Buster, a Great Pyrenees dog and a duck living at nearby Groton Family Farm Mon. Feb. 2, 2010. The students visited the farm in September and were immediately taken with the friendship of the two animals and began writing stories about the pair. Dr. Warren Burrows, owner of the farm, supplied photos for the book and was present for the reading Monday.
Carol Glaude, left, principal at Claude Chester School in Groton, views writing and drawing examples created by students in Cynthia Lawrence's 2nd grade class for the book they wrote collectively about Wheeler and Buster, a Great Pyrenees dog and a duck living at nearby Groton Family Farm Mon. Feb. 2, 2010. The students visited the farm in September and were immediately taken with the friendship of the two animals and began writing stories about the pair. Dr. Warren Burrows, owner of the farm, supplied photos for the book and was present for the reading Monday.

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