BettyLou – My bitey, cantankerous, but oh-so-loved “girlfriend”, by Susan Szczygielski

My BettyLou came to me in 2009 as a foster. She was a rather difficult pup with some significant behavioural issues. I tried working with her, including working with a behavioural vet for a while.

Just before BettyLou came into my life I had adopted two other young dogs. It soon became apparent that my own dogs needed training and my attention, which was all being given to BettyLou at the time. So I made the tough decision to return her to the rescue.

However, the rescue informed me that because of her behavioural issues, BettyLou would be euthanized. So, what do you do? You keep her! And although she continued to have behavioural issues, I learned how to manage them, and we learned to live together in harmony. There definitely were some rough times, but she taught me so much about dogs with behavioural issues, about myself, and about this thing called life.

In 2014 I joined some others in starting a rescue. I specialized in fostering the scared, skittish, difficult dogs. Many such pups have come through my home, and all have gone on to live happy lives in their forever homes. I can’t help but wonder where these dogs would have ended up had I not been willing to foster them, and it was all thanks to my BettyLou for teaching me so much.

BettyLou lived with me for 15 years. In August 2022 she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She hung in there with me until February 1, 2023, when she was euthanized in our home.

I miss her terribly and always will, but I am so grateful to her for coming into my life. And as Dr. Seuss says, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

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