When a photo of her went viral in March, people around the world were outraged that Butterbean, a 6-year-old German Shepherd mix believed to have been dumped at a Louisiana gas station, was actually intentionally left there by her owners. They enjoyed it when she chased after them in their pickup truck.
“They’ve done this multiple times and apparently think it’s no big deal, and they don’t seem to care about the welfare of the dog,” Jeff Dorson, director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, told ABC News March 17.
When the Humane Society of Louisiana first contacted Butterbean’s owners about giving their dog up for adoption so she could live in a safer, more compassionate home, the owners refused.
“They stated their intention is to now keep her tethered in their backyard, which of course is not an acceptable way to maintain a family dog in our view, apart from the history of extremely irresponsible pet ‘ownership,’” the Humane Society wrote on its Facebook page in March.
Butterbean’s case was escalated to St. Tammany Animal Services, which had the authority to directly intervene. When they told Lisa Pearson, one of Butterbean’s owners, she had to either take the dog to a shelter or vet, Pearson said she would give them the dog — for $400. The cash was donated from the Humane Society.
“We certainly don’t like to reward this kind of behavior, but sometimes it simply takes too long for cases to move through the legal system,” Dorson said in a news release. “Our first concern was Butterbean’s safety. We were convinced she could be let loose again to run in traffic at any time, and we might miss our opportunity to intervene.”
Pearson was later cited for violating several state laws, and she signed an agreement not to chain or tether any animal, and not to allow any animal to roam at large.
After being treated for heartworm, Butterbean was available for adoption. Dorson told ABC News today the humane society received dozens of adoption applications.
One in particular stood out.
According to Dorson, “no one expressed more enthusiasm to be Butterbean’s new caretaker” than Guy Lawrence-Edenheimer, a retired musician from Antioch, Ill., who now calls himself her “proud papa.”
Ready for some chills? Lawrence-Edenheimer’s previous dog, Rocky, died on March 17, 2014. Exactly one year later, Lawrence-Edenheimer saw the story about Butterbean on ABC News. He was amazed by how much Butterbean looked like Rocky.
“The timing was just too perfect,” he told ABC News today. “It was like it was meant to be.”
Lawrence-Edenheimer said he and Butterbean instantly bonded, and now the two are almost inseparable.
“She’s an absolute sweetheart,” he said. “After the first night I got her, she jumped onto the bed, licked my face and bounced my elbows up with her nose.”
Butterbean comes along with her loving new dog dad on car trips…and stays in the car.
“Butterbean no longer feels compelled to chase after her new owner, since she shares rides together with him,” Dorson told ABC News.
‘Butterbean Buddies’ Campaign Helps Other Abandoned Dogs
To help other dogs in the state who are abandoned, chained or tethered, the Humane Society of Louisiana launched the campaign “Butterbean Buddies” in March.
“We’d love to save 500 dogs or more through our Butterbean Buddies during the next year,” Dorson said on the Humane Society of Louisiana website.
It costs the humane society about $500 to rescue, provide veterinary care for, and spay or neuter a homeless dog. Housing, food and transporting the dog for adoption can cost an additional $500.
“If only a handful of people concerned about Butterbean pitched in to help, we could save thousands of dogs here in Louisiana,” Dorson said.
To make a donation to Butterbean Buddies, click here or send a check to Humane Society of Louisiana, PO Box 740321, New Orleans, LA 70174.
Photos via Twitter; Facebook