Warning… the following story is not for people with a weak stomach.

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Earlier this year I fostered Rusty and Piper for four months for Courtney and Adam, a military family that was relocating to the UK.  The dogs needed to wait a prescribed amount of time after their vaccinations and also the very expensive cost of their traveling was prohibitive at the time and they needed to wait to get their tax return check to be able to afford it.  I happily fostered two of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.

Unfortunately, Rusty – a very large Rhodesian Ridgeback – was extremely prone to counter surfing when no one was looking.  He developed an unhealthy taste for butter and no stick was safe from him no matter how far back on the counter it was.   Mostly he just nabbed half sticks or less so no harm, no foul.  One day I was baking so I took a pound out of the freezer and left on the counter to soften.  It was still wrapped and in its box so I thought it was safe.  Foolish me.

I was in the living room relaxing with Piper and my dog, Ramush, when I realized I hadn’t seen Rusty for a while and things were suspiciously quiet.  I went looking for him and found him in the kitchen finishing up the last stick of an entire pound of butter!

The vet said it might cause diarrhea but otherwise he should be fine.  Unfortunately, we weren’t that lucky.  About an two hours later, he vomited the entire pound all over my handmade carpet from Afghanistan.  I bet you didn’t know that butter turns rancid after sitting in a stomach for that long, did you?  Neither did I until I got close enough to try to clean it up.  When I got near the steaming puddle, I was subjected to the foulest, most disgusting, gut wrenching stench I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter.  The smell was so overwhelmingly hideous that I promptly horked up everything in my stomach (not butter, thank God!).  Having watched many crime shows, I remembered that detectives often put Vicks under their nose to counteract the smell of rotting bodies – which have nothing on the stench of rancid butter mixed with stomach acid and bile, believe me!  After applying a generous helping of Vicks under my nostrils, I then had to tie a bandanna over my face and donned elbow length rubber gloves (which I had to throw away).  For future reference, partially digested butter is a gelatinous greasy goo that is virtually impossible to pick up.  I went through an entire roll of paper towel trying to get it off the rug and then used the carpet cleaner with deodorizing shampoo about four times trying to get the smell out.   Even after all that, the stench stayed in the house for a couple of days and it was well over a month before I could eat butter again.  And, of course, Rusty was perfectly fine and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

Unbelievably, I actually miss him – apart from his voracious butter appetite, he was a sweetheart.

– Written by Robin, previous foster mom in New Hampshire.
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