Over the years, I have fostered a countless number of dogs. These dogs ranged from age, background, breed, personality types, and more. I usually would foster with my parents helping, aka in charge of most things. However, once I got older, I was allowed to foster on my own. I got to pick the dog, train the dog, be in charge of who gets the dog. Everything I could. See, we worked through a rescue, so I did have to listen to other people. But for the most part, this dog was my foster. The day I picked him up from the shelter, he curled into me afraid of the outside world. He was six weeks old. Someone had hit his mom and, while waiting for animal control, heard a little of puppies crying out. Butterball was one of five that were rescued that night. The rescue gave him the weirdest name. I struggle to remember if it was butterBART or butterNUT. Either way, I hated it. I slowly changed it to butterballs. Somedays I would call him BB, which of course just became baby said in a strange voice.
He would stay by my side as much as he could. When I was working on homework, he laid down on the floor next to me. He would sleep until I was done. Then it was walk and playtime. Somedays, I had to work on homework later than either of us would have liked. But he never rushed me. He would take his sweet old time stretching and walking around the table, lying on my feet, or even staring at my homework. But he never argued with my schedule. At night he had to stay downstairs in a play pin because he was still a baby, and the cat slept in my room. Some nights I would come downstairs after having a nightmare, and he would be up looking at me with these big open eyes. When I would walk over, he would lower his ears and tilt his head. I would reach my hand down to pet him and be greeted by a slobbery tongue. If the nightmare was really bad, I would get into the playpen with him, He would rub his head on me or slam his paw down onto me. I would try and pet him. However, he would continue to slam his paw down. It almost felt like he was trying to pet me back. This was his way of telling me I would be okay.
When the time finally arrived to pick out a family, my mother sat down and asked me if I wanted to keep him. I was moving to my first apartment, and I knew that I could if I wanted to. I spent the next three nights debating with myself on this very topic. I wanted to keep him so badly. He knew every way to calm me down. Just looking at him, and I felt calm. I felt like I could take on the world. He loved being by my side and would ignore everyone around him as long as I was in the room. But on the other end of the spectrum, I knew I would be busy with college. Nursing school leaves little time for a personal life. I did not want to get a dog and ignore him. Mostly when I knew he would be happy with a family that could give him lots of time. In the end, I chose to tell the rescue that he was ready for adoption. He knew tons of tricks and was fully potty trained. He was ready. His application was open for one week. We had to close it due to the number of applications we were receiving. That weekend I went through maybe 50 different applications. Every family had one or two things wrong with them. No one was good enough for MY Butterball.
Finally, after sitting down and really looking at my little puppy, I found the “perfect” families. Part of the dog adoption process includes me meeting the family and the family meeting the dog. It allows everyone to meet and play before any final decisions can be made. The family I wanted was a family of four. The mom worked from home, and the few times she had to go into the office, she was able to bring a dog. Checkmark on Butterball having company all the time box. This family also had two small children. I have always been hesitant when the children are very young. Not because of the kids themselves. But because with rescue dogs, sometimes if the child is too violent or super hands-on, the dog can become timid and scare the child. But this family was perfect. The older child, 8, pulled her younger sister and me to the side. She showed her sister how to properly pet a dog and showed me that she knew how to. She then showed me all the closed boxes bins that her toys and her sister’s toys needed to go in for the dog to be safe. She showed me where the dog would be sleeping and all. She even asked Butterball to pick a bed because she wasn’t sure which he would like more when they were at the store. At one point, the youngest asked if Butterball was mixed. I said yes that he probably was, and a smile consumed her face. She looked at him with this look that I cannot explain. She looked back at me and said, “that’s awesome. I’m mixed too. We match”.
The parents showed me all the doggy training classes they had signed up for and asked for advice on food brands and more. Butterball seemed super excited and wanting nothing more than to play with the girls and the mom. I knew then that this would be the best family for MY Butterball – no matter how much it hurt to let him go. I ramble on and on about this dog because he taught me something that while I had heard before, I never fully understood. He taught me that sometimes no matter how much you love something, it is better to let it go. I could have kept Butterball and given him everything I could have. But I would be limited on time and money. I do not have the funds for all the classes and daycares they did. I didn’t have the time or capability to take him into work with me. With this new family, he was happy. He stayed happy. Months later, I received an email filled with pictures of him playing with his new family. He was big and well taken care of. Videos showed him playing fetch and monkey in the middle with the two little girls. I knew I had made the right choice.