It had been over a year since our much Loved Butch passed and Gary brought home the Mutt Matcher, liken to a personals for dogs. He had an Australian Sheppard in mind, thinking he would actually have time to play Frisbee again, only this time with a dog. I knew better. Any pet we decided on would be mostly my care responsibility. The Love responsibility would definitely be a partnership.
When I saw the photo next to the dog Gary was interested in, and noted her age, counting the 49 days Buddhist believe the soul reincarnates, a little math of when Butch passed & Betty’s age, I said “Look, Betty seems sweet. I wonder if she is Butch”. Well that did it…Gary stared at me then slowly turned his gaze with the conversation bubble appearing above his head (Oh my God, my wife has lost it).
We contacted Betty’s foster mom, Cindy, the big hearted women who found her abandoned in a park. Cindy had taken Betty to the shelter. She already had too many pets and could not take on another. Betty was on death row! Just in time, Cindy went back, making our adopting possible.
Cindy & George brought Betty to our home while subtlely observing our house, fenced yard and surrounding, taking on the protective roll of K9 Greenpeace activist. Ensuring Betty’s new home was appropriate, stable & Loving. She had finally, indeed, been rescued.
In a Christmas card I introduced her to everyone in this letter:
Hi, I’m new to the family. My name is Betty. Mom & Dad rescued me. Dad tells my foster parents brought me over on “Super Bowl Sunday”.
I Love my home and I get lots of attention. In fact I’m a much bigger girl than when I first arrived. Mom keeps talking about someone named “Jenny Craig” when she feeds me. I don’t know that person. All I know is that I Love when Mom gives me the last of her breakfast. A treat in the morning – yummm, yummy.
Mom & Dad go to a place called work a lot and there is this narrow bar that rings all the time and my parents talk to it. They are very busy people.
I have a big sister, Marguex. She doesn’t live here, but takes care of me when Mom & Dad are gone for a few days. Her boyfriend Casey is nice and sometimes comes to visit when Marguex stays with me.
Sometimes I get to go on trips with my parents but I get real nervous usually the first night. There is no place like home and my spot next to their bed on my special blanket.
I get lots of walks and have made friends with some of the neighbors. My favorite are Tom & Gayle. Sometimes I sneak into their kitchen and eat the cat food. Bad dog, bad!
Mom tells me that this is a very special time of year. A time to share much Love and to try to be forgiving. All I can say is I hope everyone is Loved as much as I am.
Who knows what trauma our girl suffered before joining our family, but it was clear… She had anxiety. Chocolate lab, pit bull mix, I’ve always said she is a permanent puppy that protects. One thing was for sure, she was strong. I’ve had my feet knocked out from under me, and several occasions had to be readjusted by my chiropractor after an enthusiastic walk.
She was such a ‘nervous Nellie’, jumping over or busting through our white picket fence was a daily event! with Gary repairing it every weekend. After every escape I would get a call from one of the neighbors. I would leave work, find her, put her in our garage and hope for the best. She ate through the drywall and door moulding trying to get into our house. Also chewed through the side garage door! Once I came home to find her wedged between the washer & dryer where she bit through the copper gas line. That did it ~ to the vet for doggy downers – a temporary fix at best.
Upon the arrival of doggie #2, Martini, I finally relented. Letting them both stay in the house. However, there was the time she dug through our new carpet unraveling it in two places. Another day another repair.
All that aside, Betty has been a great dog. And, I’ve absolutely grown into a better doggy mommy. We did two sessions of dog obedience school, but it was I who was trained. I always feel safe knowing she is doing her job patrolling our property.
A family member had a Peeping Tom experience so she got a HUGE gun. I had way worse happen to me and I rescue dogs. Different approach most definitely.
Betty also helped with healing our friend who had a brain injury. When we first got Betty, she escaped and went right up to our neighbor’s Tom & Gayle’s backyard sliding glass door. This was remarkable because Butch did the exact same thing when we first moved to our new home at the time. When their son was in a near fatal car accident with a eighteen wheeler, he miraculously awoke from a 3-month coma, on Good Friday no less. I took Betty up to the Brain Trauma Center in Santa Barbara and this was very helpful for Barry.
Betty would also eat anything. She loved finding the apples that would drop, and we often noticed her carefully picking the loquats from the tree until we trimmed it back to grow taller. But the most memorable Betty binging was after we planted our garden it exploded with the carrot crop. She discovered them, and when I came home after work the entire back yard had carrot tops sprawled all about, and Betty in a carotene drunk nearly passed out. Her tummy was so upset I slept with her on the floor giving her little sips of warm 7Up. Vegetables gardens were difficult to maintain after she discovered those raised beds had food in them. There were a few seasons of “oh, what’s the use”.
When Martini arrived, the tiny lion hearted Pekingese, has some kind of Napoleon complex, or simply does not know her size. Aside from her puppy play by chewing on Betty’s tail and ankles, she, still to this day, viciously attacks Betty if she even thinks Betty is coming near her food at meal times. Betty is so gentle, never ever harming this piranha at her paws & ears. Which she could so easily do in a simple aggressive move. But Betty knows Martini is small, so she tolerates all the bullying.
Betty is nearly 18yrs. old, deaf, and in some ways easier with less power behind that relentless reincarnated spirit. She can no longer make it up the stairs, so her DogFather carries her up and back down in the morning. When Gary isn’t home I carefully pick her up (legs & abs, legs & abs), and in the morning bring her to the top of the stairs, steady her head between my thighs, at the same time I left her back legs while I back down the stairs one at a time, gently easing her down to our first floor. More recently I have to hold her upright while she eats. If you let them, dogs make you a better person, and yes, Betty has taught me a lot.