Nearly four years ago, Michele Borello lost her mother after a rapid health decline. Already planning on adopting a dog, Michele brought Butch home within days of her mother’s passing. Looking back on the experience now, she’s not sure how she would have endured the time without him.
“He absolutely got me through the grieving process,” Michele says.
With a temperament as calm as his face is fluffy, Butch’s strengths revealed themselves early on. After a few less-than-exuberant visits to Camp Dogwood, home to about every dog-sporting activity imaginable, Michele declared him “more of an arts and crafts dog.”
“He loves every human and every dog he meets,” Michele says. “He’s just sort of . . . lazy.”
While agility courses and beach runs might not be Butch’s speed, he had no trouble finding it in local therapy work. Butch showed his knack for bringing a smile to anyone who needs it when he was just a pup. Now, he does it in weekly visits to assisted-living residences, schools, and hospice care centers near their home in Plainfield, Illinois.
For Michele, the sessions of wagging tails, smiling faces, and attentive ears is the best thing going. And even with some residents suffering from significant memory loss, Butch’s impression is often a lasting one.
“They remember Butch. They remember his name, even where he likes to be scratched,” Michele says, “it’s amazing to watch them light up when they see him.”
To the many who look forward to when Butch stops by, he’s much more than just an occasional visitor. He’s the highlight of the week. His photo makes it onto living room mantles and even scrapbook pages made by families to celebrate the lives of their loved ones who have passed.
Butch might be indifferent about the whole running, jumping, and swimming side of doghood. He may even need the occasional reminder that ‘walks’ should sound more enjoyable than lounging around the house. But sitting, listening, and loving someone exactly the way they need it . . . well that’s a trick he’s mastered. And for Michele & Butch alike – they’d have it no other way.
“I get way more out of it than I give,” Michele says. “And so does Butch.”
Michele & Butch’s story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at ILuvMutts@MuttJackson.com – we’d love to hear from you!