Caring for a puppy on a college campus, Bruce Bloom learned quickly as his sophomore year was coming to a close, has its advantages and disadvantages.
But dog lover that he is, the future Cures Within Reach (BS ’77, biology) couldn’t bring himself to say no on that May day 42 years ago when this happened:
“It was a warm spring day typical of early May. I had a few days till the end of the spring semester of my sophomore year, but my exams were done and I just had a single paper to turn in.
“I was walking towards the north end of the Quad, heading for the Union, and I saw a young woman sitting by one of the trees, playing with a couple of German Shepherd pups. I loved dogs, and wandered over the pet the pups.
“Twenty minutes later, without using any sensible part of my brain, I walked away with about 8 pounds of puppy, who I named Butkus.”
There were just three problems with that arrangement, Bloom says.
1. “I used a motorcycle as my only mode of transport, and I lived in Wilmette, near Chicago.”
2. “I lived with my recently divorced dad in a rented house, and his rental agreement didn’t allow pets.”
3. “I was going to Scotland in August for my junior year abroad.”
Having a puppy also came with certain benefits, he realized.
1. “I was incredibly popular with the college women on the Quad for the next week.”
2. “I enjoyed the company of Butkus for about three months.”
3. “My younger brother thought it was great that he wasn’t the child making the dumbest decisions in the family for the first time in years, and was civil to me.
“Needless to say, Butkus found a new family to live with in August of 1976, after peeing on most of the carpeting and chewing on many of the baseboards in the rental house. All of my summer job money went to house repairs, and I was in the family doghouse for years.
“But I can’t walk towards the Union even today without remembering the joy I felt with that little puppy. It was worth all of the chaos and pain.”