Leroy Butler Rosenfeld
Born March 4, 2005
Adopted April 6, 2012
Died May 13, 2014
If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

My husband Jeff and I adopted Leroy from Wisconsin Boston Rescue on April 6, 2012. Our anniversary had been two days before, so he was a "present" to ourselves. We had lost our precious Boston, Nitschke, the December before to complications of Bell's Palsy, so we needed another Boston to love and to go with our other two Bostons, Packer and Lambeau, and with our Chinese Crested, Yogi.

We brought the new dog home to meet his brothers and, after about two hours of sniffing butts, they decided they all liked each other. Leroy was named, at that time, Leo, and we wanted to change his name to stay with our Bostons' Packer theme; however, we didn't want to confuse him because he had had so many different homes and other names in his seven years of life. Anyway, we posted photos of Leroy (Leo) on Facebook and asked our friends what they thought about a name change. One friend suggested "Leroy Butler," which was perfect. It was close enough to "Leo," and Leroy Butler had played for the Packers from 1990 to 2001 as a safety, number 36, and he had also come up with the "Lambeau leap."

When we got Leroy from his foster parents, they told us that he was afraid of books, magazines, newspapers, and brooms because the previous owners had tormented him with those things. Well, that was certainly true, as he would cower until he got used to the fact that we weren't going to beat him with our reading material or chase him with a broom. The foster parents also told us that Leroy was obsessive about tennis balls…..and they were so right! We've never seen a dog that loved to play ball as much. He was constantly bringing us a tennis ball to throw, and we were always crawling under the furniture to dig one out that he had pushed under. In fact, we had a tennis ball cremated with him.

The first time we left Leroy alone in his crate - the other three boys were in their crates, too, of course - when we came home, we heard "awooooo awooooo awoooo." It was Leroy howling while the others were barking. He always howled when he heard our car drive up to the house. Leroy was deathly afraid of storms. He would get in our laps or sit right next to us as close as possible and just tremble. In all other ways, he was fearless, but thunder and lightning terrified him. Therefore, whenever we were out somewhere and it began to rain, we rushed home to get back to Leroy and the others before the storm started.

Leroy loved his food, especially baby carrots and apples. But his favorite thing was ice. Every time he heard us getting ice from the fridge, he would run as fast as he could and beg for a few pieces. Or, if we had a drink with ice, he would stand in front of us and whine until he got a few slivers. He did that a lot; whining was his favorite way of communicating because it worked! He pretty much always got what he wanted from us, his easy-touch parents. Another thing, we always knew where Leroy was. If he wasn't running, he was walking with his trademark shuffle. He never picked his feet up all the way off the ground when he walked, so he could never sneak up on us.

Leroy was so energetic. The other three boys are content to lie down and sleep or find a chew toy or a bone to work on, but Leroy was always running, jumping, throwing his toys around, or bugging us to play with him. Now that he's gone, it seems so boring around the house.

Our sweet Leroy got sick on Friday, April 4, 2014. Just two years earlier, our anniversary had been so happy because we adopted him. But this anniversary was terrifying. He started vomiting blood late at night. We called the Green Bay Emergency Clinic, which is a small satellite facility of the Fox Valley Referral Center in Appleton. They told us to bring him in right away, which we did. It was snowing, so it took us awhile to get there. After several hours of tests at the Green Bay clinic, the doctor told us that Leroy was a very sick boy with some sort of liver failure. The doctor gave us two options: we could have him euthanized or we could take him to the Appleton hospital for critical care. (Fox Valley Referral Center is one of the best veterinary hospitals in the country, probably the best in the Midwest, and is considered the “Mayo Clinic” for animals --- and with prices to reflect that!) So, we took Leroy to Appleton, which is about a hundred miles away from our house in Door County (Wisconsin) and left him with a kiss and a promise that the doctors would make him better. We left the Fox Valley Center about 5:00 AM Saturday morning to come home to our other three boys.

Throughout that long weekend, we kept in touch almost hourly with the doctors. By Sunday afternoon, Leroy was doing much better, and the doctors said that a liver can regenerate even if only eight percent is still functional. Monday morning, they were planning to do an ultrasound to try and determine just exactly what had happened. We called the hospital early afternoon to find out the results, and the doctors told us that Leroy was doing so much better that other, sicker patients were having their tests done first but that he would have his ultrasound later that afternoon. So, at that point, we were starting to feel good. Then, about 5:00 that evening, the doctor called and told us they had discovered cancer in his liver, gallbladder, and lymph nodes and gave him two to six months to live. The cancer was so widespread that there was nothing we could do, and our precious Leroy Butler died just five weeks later.

He was on several medications to keep him comfortable, and he actually seemed OK for awhile. Because of all the medication, he was a little slower than usual and pooped out much earlier than ever, but he was still happy, playing and eating well. Then, all of a sudden, he just got really sick, unable to eat or take his medicine or even stand up. Jeff and I knew it was nearly the end, so we spent the last few days of Leroy's life holding and cuddling him, letting him know how very much he was loved.

JoAnne Rosenfeld

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