Betty and Buttons the Shih Tzu Dog
I met Betty at a clothing store that I worked at 1986. She was an elderly woman who didn't seem to like me that much. We had our breaks together and talked very little. I somehow found out that she was a widow and also celebrated Hanukkah, since it was around the holidays. I also learned that she had a dog and his name was "Buttons".
At this time I was about twenty-two years old, married to my first husband with two children, they were just babies. I just worked around the holidays for extra money and to get out of the house a bit. Also, at that time we were church going folk. We attended a Pentecostal big church. To other people we looked like a pretty happy couple with a young family. I was a zealous Christian then and although I still believe in God and Jesus now, I no longer attend church.
To paint more of picture, back then I would invite everyone I met to come to church. I suppose this was the reason that Betty didn't care for me much. She was a Jewish woman and grieving the death of her husband, and here I was all happy and preachy with my whole life ahead of me.
One day there was a terrible snow storm in my city. People were snowed in without essentials, the ambulances couldn't even get out. Hardly anyone made it to work until the streets were cleared. I'm not sure how I got Betty's address but I had it. Well my husband and I went to her house the next day and we shoveled all the snow in her driveway, sidewalk and front steps. We didn't knock on the door or see anyone in the window. After we finished we went home.
The next day at work I overheard her talking to the other sales ladies in a high, excited voice, "Someone came and shoveled all the snow at my house and I don't even know who did it." I kind of laughed in the background. I finally told her that it was us. She was so shocked and flabbergasted that she wouldn't stop thanking me. Next thing you know she invited us over for some Hebrew type of cookies and coffee. We talked and laughed and met Buttons the strange, little dog.
After the holidays were over I quit my job at the clothing store but I still kept in touch with Betty. She visited us and we visited her. She asked if we could dog sit Buttons while she went on a trip to Florida. I said we would and so she came over with the long list of instructions. Buttons was a little dog who was quite eccentric. He drank water only from a hamster bottle and wouldn't walk on any part of the un-carpeted floor.
This dog was Betty's life and her only close knit companion so it was hard for her to leave him. When she returned from her trip she was so happy to find that he dear Buttons was alive and well. She also brought my whole family presents which we were happy to receive.
As time went on I invited Betty to a theater production that was held at our church, since I knew that she often went to the theater, I figured that she might say yes. She really, really enjoyed it. She asked a lot of questions of what we believed and we told her what we believed. She kept thinking that we were Seven Day Adventists but we told her that we weren't. She seemed quite interested in what we actually believed.
The next year we dog sat Buttons again and then every year for about four years after. Buttons was an indoor dog and very timid and shy. One summer day when we had him visiting again I thought it would be nice if he could spend some time outside in the sun. I took him out to our back yard. He just sat there but I thought he liked it. We had a fenced in yard so I had run into the house and started doing some laundry.
When I came back out, to my surprise Buttons was gone. He was gone! I panicked, I called my husband at work crying after I looked all around the back and front yard. Where could have he gone? He must of got out from under the gate. The kids and I went looking down the sidewalk and we still couldn't find him. I called my parents and my dad suggested that I call the local radio station, so I did. The radio station had lost & found announcements so I described the dog and the area it was lost in and then just waited for the phone to ring. In between waiting I was praying. I was horrified to tell Betty that her dog was lost. It was since morning Buttons was missing and now it was getting dark out. On top of all that, there was a wicked thunder storm. Finally, the phone rang and it was good news.
Buttons was found! He was cold, wet and shivering about three quarters of a mile away. Some how this dog who was never out of the house made it across a busy, highly trafficked road all the way to a mansion like house on the river. I thanked the man (who was a lawyer by profession) profusely and told him that the owner would die if Buttons was never found. We offered him a reward but he refused.
When we arrived at home I gave Buttons a bath and brushed his matted, dirty wet fur. It was either the next day or the day after that when Betty came to retrieve her Buttons, she also came with gifts again. We accepted them sheepishly. Buttons was so, so happy to see her. If only he could tell her of his adventure, because we sure didn't. He looked so nice too, I even put a bow in his hair.
Over the years and life's harsh changes of bitterness, divorce and depression, I lost touch with this dear lady and her precious Buttons.
I will always have a place in my heart for Betty and still remember being thankful to God for that quickly answered prayer. I will also never forget the ecstatic feeling I had when Buttons was found.