#RealDeal: Ever have to pull an animal out of another animal's mouth? Me too!

If I weren't working in tech, I would have studied to become a veterinarian.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a massive, massive animal lover. I grew up with 'em!

I had ducks at our lake house ...

Cocker spaniels at home ...

... and I'd jump on a horse anytime the opportunity presented itself.

Growing up, I didn't have stability when it came to friends (or even family) so instead of focusing on things I couldn't control, I simply learned to adapt. (Outside of my mom, dad, and brother) Animals were always there for me, and that is PRICELESS when you are a wee one.

I've always had a special connection to children and animals. I can't describe it - it's just there.

After my break up with Love #1, I decided to stay on the island (I had left LA to move to the Florida Keys). I liked my friends, I was discovering a life/ work balance, and frankly, I needed to figure my shit out sans the internet (as I used it as a crutch). I had been on this 5 year adventure, and still wasn't fulfilled. I could clearly either manifest or crash whatever goal I wanted to execute, but I still wasn't happy. The only thing that I knew made me happy were animals.

So, I adopted a dog. Insert Buster Brown ...

Buster was rescued from Atlanta, Georgia after he was tied to a tree for the first two years of his life. He used his teeth to try and escape his collar resulting in his teeth being filed down to little stubs. (I know, I can't even think about it without wanting to cry.)

When I met him, I got down on the ground refusing to make eye contact (to not spook him). This 35 lb bag of bones then walked up to me, knocked me over, and started grunting and humping. I laughed saying to the caretaker, well, looks like I have an emaciated boxer by the name of Buster Brown. (He really does look like a Buster. I couldn't change his name.)

Who rescued whom? Look at those smiles ...

Life with Buster in the beginning wasn't easy. He was the sweetest, and goofiest dog I had certainly ever had, but he was also wild. Everything was new to him, and every day to him was filled with all these new experiences. He would chase lizards, butterflies, and even his own shadow. He had no training, or manners and as his mama, I had to change that.

After a couple of weeks he was sitting, standing, and even high paw-ing ...

I had never trained a dog before (let alone a big dog) so it was a huge learning curve for both of us. I also brought in a trainer who laughed saying I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?

Good news, I said.

The good news is, you have a very smart dog.

And the bad news?

You have a very smart dog, she said.

He's going to need a lot of mental stimulation.

I pictured Buster with a pipe, and his neighborhood bitches sitting at the table discussing world events while playing poker ...

He's going to give you a run for your money, she warned. Be careful.

Thank you, I said. He's the peanut butter on my fluffernutter, and I know we'll figure it out. After all, we were even starting to look alike ...

It wasn't long after that my friend's boyfriend came into town, and being a freelancer, I had a flexible schedule and offered to pick him up at the airport.

I held onto Buster's collar as Ped (his name) put all of his stuff in the back of my station wagon. We then drove the hour and some change back down to the keys, and I dropped him off at my friend (his girlfriend)'s house.

I put the car in park, and gave him a big hug. Do you need any help in the back? I asked.

Nope, all set, he said opening the car door.

I don't even have the mental capacity to process how quickly this all happened - but literally in one nano second, Buster saw a cat, and decided he wanted it. Because he was still on the smaller side, he somehow managed to squeeze in between the back seat and the passenger seat darting out the door.

I SCRRRREEEEAAAMMMMMMMMM at the top of my lungs as I dashed out of the car running into the woods.


People start to come out of their homes, but I don't care as I RUNNNNN through the woods trying to catch up.

BUSTTERRRRR I scream as I kick up the leaves, falling to the ground by his side. He had caught the cat in his mouth, and because of his lack of teeth, the cat was doing more damage to him than he was to it.

Without even thinking, I instinctively reached into his mouth grabbing the cat.

Blood was everywhere, and I grabbed his collar guaranteeing he wouldn't go any farther.

The cat ran away as I sobbed to Ped begging for him to look at Buster's face.

Please tell me he's okay, I cried.

Ped grabbed Buster by the ears saying, he's got two eyes, and a nose. He looks pretty fine to me.

I looked up shocked. He's fine?!?!

I inspected his fur, and there were only a handful of scratches on his face.

How is he not injured? Where did all of this blood come from?

I then look down at my legs and realize in the process of grabbing the cat, I was the one getting scratched, and not Buster. I had somehow managed to get my arm, and body in between the two animals as I pulled the cat out.

Adrenaline, I said to Ped. I can't feel a thing.

I knew Buster was up to date on all of his shots (coming from the shelter), but I laughed as I said to Ped, I had a tetanus shot at the hospital after I got hit in the head with a brick. 

WHAT?! he said.

Long story ... but I know I'll be fine. My friend knew the cat, and she was fairly confident it didn't have rabies.

I'll google the symptoms, I said grabbing Buster and putting him into the car. I can't think negatively right now.

I then got back to my apartment and took a shower with Buster. He had the BIGGEST shit eating grin on his face. Animal instincts, man. I might have thought I had him in "training" but he completely schooled my ass on how far and fast a big dog can go.

As I dried him off, I put bandages on my legs, and gave him a big hug. 

He wasn't at all scared, or even hurt. He had a couple of scratches, but something in his eyes told me that he knew I had protected/ helped him. I can't describe it - but in that moment we bonded big time.

The next morning I took him for a walk. Instead of wanting to explore the world with his mouth, he waited staring up at me wondering what his next command would be. He may be stronger than me, but he finally respected that I was his master, and ultimate protector.

I'll take being your mama, Buster over being a vet any day. Not sure my heart can handle the stress.

<3 you.