If you thought this post would be about the fatty deliciousness of the dubious cooking ingredient, think again! In our family Butter takes on a new meaning in the form of a goofy, wiggly, snack stalking Boston Terrier.
This sweet sweet boy’s adoption anniversary is fast approaching. Adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society on Valentine’s Day 2011, Butter is now 7 years old and officially a canine senior.
This little guy’s adventure started with us on New Year’s week. At the end of 2010 I had declared that it was time to adopt a buddy for Peanut. We had been fostering for a year and Peanut proved he’d make an excellent big brother to a shelter pup. When considering what kind of dog we wanted to adopt we knew we’d want someone as similar to Peanut in size and play style as possible. He loved wrestling with other small, smoosh faced dogs, so I had my sights set on another brachycephalic breed. We’d let the right dog come to us. It was the very next day that I met Butter at The Anti-Cruelty Society.
Butter was transferred in that very morning from Chicago’s Animal Care & Control when an unprecedented kennel cough epidemic swept through the shelter, leaving the city with more sick dogs than cages. That’s when the Society swooped in to the rescue. Transferring in 22 sick dogs, we converted one of our spay and neuter overflow rooms into a temporary isolation unit for sick pups. And that’s where I found our little bug-a-boo.
Since Butter was sick we decided to foster him before making any adoption decisions. He lived in my office for two weeks as he received treatment and support from our veterinary team. Butter was never house-trained, so there was more poop to clean up each morning than I care to admit. But it was so worth it! Seeing his big googley eyes staring up at me each morning, feeling his warm body pushed up against my back in my office chair, and of course, seeing that wiggly butt dance when playing fetch – I was smitten. Next step was seeing how the boys at home would react.
Once Butter’s symptoms cleared and his meds were finished up I brought him home to meet Peanut and Tomato. He wasn’t called Butter at the time – I was referring to him as my “little monkey” as he came to the shelter without a name. So now it was up to our current pets. The bond between the dogs was instantaneous! Peanut immediately initiated play and the two were fast friends. Tomato, our cat, was un-phased, and Butter too could care less about the feline in his presence. We knew this goober was here to stay, and so, a little more than a month after I declared we’d be adopting a dog that year, Butter became an official part of our family. Definitely broke our seek-to-adopt-and-follow-through record!
It’s been five years since we made Butter a part of our clan and not one day has gone by where we’ve ever regretted the decision. This bundle of love is sweet, yet playful, smart, but not neurotic, loyal yet curious. Butter has done wonders for our special needs pooch Peanut, has become fast friends with our aloof kitty, and became buds with our rescued bunny Rocket. And the true test has been the bond he’s formed with August since the moment he came home with us from the hospital. One of my goals for this year is training Butter up to become a therapy dog, with the first step of having him become Canine Good Citizen certified. Yes – he’s just that good!
People sometimes ask if shelter dogs are “defective” or “damaged goods.” They’re hesitant to have a “used” dog in their home – especially if the animal is anything older than a few months old. They say, “I want a puppy because I want to shape their behavior,” or “I don’t know what that dog has been through so I can’t trust them.” Well, I’m here to say, once and for all, that’s a load of crock! Shelter pets make the best pets, not just because you’re helping a homeless pet gain a home, you’re also doing something magical for yourself. The ensuing bond and love you develop with your rescue pet is indescribable. Having had adopted several animals over the years, and watching hundreds of people do the same through our shelter, I can openly say that adoption really always is the very best option.
So here’s to Butter as he celebrates his 7th birthday – and here’s to all the pets and people who make animal rescue the amazing field it is today. Happy birthday buh-boo!