We took him sight unseen. A few years before, we'd adopted a rescued female Boston from a "rescue lady" (who specialized in Boston Terriers and Bulldogs) in Athens, GA. From that time on, I was on her e-mailing list -- sometimes, she'd send out pleas for help with another dog's medical bills, sometimes it was for someone to foster a dog for awhile, sometimes it was because she had another one for adoption. We already had four dogs when, in 2004, an e-mail went out that said she had a young male Boston who needed a home. She thought he was between 18 months and 2 years old (we think he was older) -- he'd been found down in south Georgia, wandering through a cemetery. He was taken to a makeshift humane society and, from there -- after no one had adopted him -- the rescue lady found him. To this day, I often wondered about who had him first -- did they love him and lose him? Or did they put him out to fend for himself?
I didn't respond to her for several days -- I don't know if anyone else did -- but when I did, she said, what took you so long?
I named him Butler, after the Scottish actor Gerard Butler. The name fit him well -- not only because I was a Gerry fan but because, with his Boston markings, he looked like a little butler in a tux. Long after my Gerry infatuation was over, the name still fit him. He was Butler because he was Butler. I often called him by Boston Butt Roast. He was a big fella, never missed a meal.
I can remember bringing him home for the first time. He'd already met the other two Bostons but the big test was meeting Clayton -- a six month old, very large Lab/pit mix. I knew the greyhound wouldn't be a problem. Sure enough, Clayton said, "hey, wait just a cotton-pickin' minute -- who is this?" Clayton lunged at him and Butler bristled. But, our policy has pretty much always been, throw them together and see what happens. About two days later, Clayton extended the olive branch. I saw it happen myself -- he took a toy over to Butler and held it out to him (with his mouth, of course!!). Butler accepted the gift and a beautiful friendship was born. We sometimes called them "Skipper and his little buddy, Gilligan".
I never expected to lose my bundle of joy this early. I thought the old Bostons would go first -- and I'd still have my Boston Butt for comfort. But it was not to be. Cancer is no respecter of age -- or of temperament. And it took my party boy. My good-time Charlie. My sweet brindle boy.
I've had to give up a several dogs in my life but this has been the hardest -- probably because of his relative youth -- and because this came out of the blue. Perhaps this is my trial run for giving up the other two Bostons -- they will be old (they already are) and, perhaps, easier to part with, because of this -- because I can't imagine anything being as unbearable as this.
He's at peace now. Breathing again. Running. He's probably already found Dax, who he knew, and, maybe, a few others who he didn't -- but who knew us.
In spite of the misery and grieving, I wouldn't have given up having him in my life, even knowing it would be for a relatively short time.
It has been a privilege.
Butler 2002?-December 6, 2008
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