When Hurricane Katrina was destroying New Orleans, I could not take my eyes away. The stories of the people and animals they had to leave behind was more than I could fathom. I could not imagine anything more horrific than having to leave my dogs to die, and having to live with that forever. I was on the internet every night just crying and trying to figure out how I could help, sending money to the ASPCA, trying to find out how to donate dog crates, anything. I even tried to rally a group here in Santa Barbara to donate enough money to fly a plane to get them out of there, but I quickly realized that there were people better equipped to do that than me. In the end I found my Nubs on a website, I can't even remember which one right now, but I saw his face and just couldn't get it out of my mind. He wasn't a dog from New Orleans, but he was without a home, and I figured if I could save an animal from a shelter, there would be room for one more. I already had Roxy, my fawn girl, and I was really worried about her acceptance of another dog in our home, because boy was she spoiled rotten, but I decided that she'd get used to it, and maybe even be happier with someone to play with. The girl who rescued Nubs (she called him Buster) had seen him for several days on a front porch, same spot, every day. He looked emaciated and didn't have any food or water that she could see. One of those days she went up to the porch & saw that the rope tied around his neck had actually worn away the fur all the way around, so obviously he had been tied up like that for a very long time. So, she took him. She just took him. She wasn't from a group or particular shelter or rescue, she and a friend just saved dogs and found them homes. When I called her I asked if I should bring Roxy to have them officially meet and make sure they got along. I asked what shelter I should go to, and she said 'oh, he's just at my house' and said that I could either bring Roxy or not, that "Buster" was so easy going that there shouldn't be any problem. She said she'd meet me at a cemetery in Los Angeles, about two hours away from me, and that there the dogs could meet and run a bit. I was so nervous, my husband had Roxy before I met him and I'd never gotten a dog of my own. I didn't know what Roxy would feel or think or do, and I knew nothing about this dog except that he had the sweetest face I'd ever seen. We pulled into the cemetery - it was vast, and beautiful, I thought it was a strange place to meet, but it was amazing. We waited a few minutes and she pulled up in front of us & I saw him in the crate in the back of her car. We let them both out, and being on neutral ground, they just sort of sniffed around and checked each other out. Buster was soooo skinny, it was horrible to see. He little rear end was so tiny and his back legs so small, and all of his ribs sticking out. He was a beautiful boy, though, and now the only thing I was worried about was that he didn't seem to know his name and seemed much more intent on just cruising around the cemetery! The girl had told me, after I had already made my decision, but before I met him, that she thought Buster was about 8 years old. My heart had kind of sunk but I had already agreed to take him and I stuck to it. He also obviously had very bad hip dysplasia, but I didn't know a lot about Boxers as my Roxy had never had any health issues, and again, I had already made my decision to take him home. We loaded up in the car, I had a bed for each of them and toys, and we headed home to Santa Barbara. Roxy seemed thrilled about the excitement of having this friend in the car (until that night when she realized that he wasn't leaving, and she proceeded to crawl under our bed to show her disdain). I took Buster to our vet the next day to have him checked out, and they told me that based on his teeth, he was probably more like 5-6 years old. This was great news! Not a puppy, but I didn't want a puppy, this was more like Roxy's age, so I thought it would be perfect. They said that he looked like he might have the start of an ulcer on his eye, and that we should keep an eye on it, and that he had bad hip dysplasia, though I don't remember talking a lot about that, other than maybe at some point he'd need pain meds to manage it. A few days after I brought him home, we were watching a funny Saturday Night Live skit with Eddie Murphy where he is dressed up as Buckwheat from whatever that old show was and he was singing about 'Wookin Pa' Nub in all da wong paces, wookin Pa' Nub in too many faces' and somehow it just made sense to call Buster 'Pa' Nub'. That weekend we had friends over and we were putting up some extra fence so we didn't have to go 'wookin pa'nub'. While we were laughing and working away, the poor frail dog fell into our Koi pond, which is 4 feet deep with no way to get out! Thank God another friend who was up closer to that area saw him & pulled him out!! I couldn't have lived with myself if I had just saved this poor sweet boy from hell and he drowned in my pond! Well, he didn't do that again, and we made it through eye ulcers, cancer, his poor little legs which must have caused him so much pain, and we had four amazing, happy, funny years with that wonderful Boxer boy. Roxy eventually fell in love with him too, and they were inseparable (though she is a little snobby & I think he loved her more). Roxy gives us unconditional and amazing Boxer love too, and our love for her is just as great, but Nubs was different. A rescue dog KNOWS that you saved them, and he was just happy as could be whether we went on a walk or not, whether he got this dog food or that dog food, no matter what the situation, he just wanted to be by our side and he smiled all the time. He had a hard time with all of our stairs - we are on a long sloped lot and almost immediately after going out the back door you have to use a lot of stairs - but Roxy taught him that you go potty in the back & he did the best with that that he could. He never complained or whined - EVER - just the occasional look of disappointment when he didn't get to go for a ride. And when he did get to go (most of the time), he was SO excited - it was like he was telling Roxy with his jumps & wiggles, 'we get to go!!!'. She'd be kind of miffed we didn't end up at the park or somewhere fun, but he was just happy to be there. He didn't bark - Roxy barks and rumbles and growls at everything, but Nubs never did. The only way we could get him to bark was by playing & I think Roxy taught him when we were rough-housing. It was the funniest thing in the world when he would figure it out & just go to town. Poor Roxy, we yell at her all the time for her barking & with Nubs we couldn't get enough, it was just so funny & wonderful that he could be a dog finally. We had to send Nubs to the Rainbow Bridge last Saturday, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done, but his big old heart was failing and we couldn't let him suffer. I miss Nubs so much and there will never be another dog like him, but I am so happy that I saved him and that he got us, because we could afford his health problems and he deserved every day of love that we could give him. It wasn't enough time together, but I think I will always adopt an older dog because they have calmed down, are easier to manage, and just want to be with you. He was the best gift I ever gave myself. Nubs, I hope that you are just running and playing and smiling and getting all the treats you want at the Rainbow Bridge, and I am so excited to see you again & will never, ever forget you Baby. All the laughter and smiles you gave us is worth every penny and every tear.