Saturday, December 08, 2012

Elizabeth Sinclair and Butch


To celebrate the release of Everything But a Dog on 12/11/12 
I'm talking to people who work with, or have adopted, rescue animals!

Sometimes a dog isn't rescued from a shelter and sometimes the person doesn't find the dog...sometimes the dog finds it's own forever home!  Holly

By Elizabeth Sinclair aka Marge Smith

My husband and I live in what we lovingly refer to as “the boonies” outside St. Augustine, Fl.  As a result, we see more than our share of strays the people have abandoned in one way or another.  The owners either move away and leave the animals behind, they just let them run loose, or they drop them out here, assuming someone will take them in.

A little over a month ago, my husband Bob asked if I’d seen the stray dog wandering around the neighborhood.  I hadn’t.  He explained that the dog appeared to be part Rottweiler and part German Shepard and still in his puppy stage (about a year old).  Rottweiler?  My spidy-senses went to full alert, but he explained that the dog had a beautiful disposition and was quite friendly.

 Bob felt bad for the dog and began feeding him in his print shop, as well as providing him with a bed.  He even named him Butch. I told him that I had no problem with him keeping Butch outside, but not in the house.  We already have a seventy-eight pound Collie and a seventy-three pound Golden Retriever, and I felt three big dogs in the house would be too much. He agreed.

Butch sometimes spent the night, but more often wandered off to parts unknown only to return the next day. We found out later that he had other temporary homes and feeding venues in the neighborhood: one provided by the owner of two Beagles across the street from us, one by the owner of two rescue dogs around the corner from us and another by a snowbird who comes down here every winter from Illinois.  At each of these “homes” he had a different name – Butch, Buddy, Blacky and Charlie.

A few days after first being made aware of our new guest (I still hadn’t even seen him), I returned from a shopping trip to town.  As I opened the car door to get out, I was surprised to have a set of black paws planted firmly in my lap, two large soulful eyes staring up at me and a warm tongue licking my face. This was my first up-close and personal introduction to the not-so-shy Butch. My husband was right.  Butch was a love, a beautiful black and brown, doofus of a dog.

About a week following our first meeting, the mailman told Bob he knew where Butch lived and gave him directions to the house.  Bob loaded Butch in the minivan and took him home. When he got there, he found the house padlocked and no one in sight.  We assumed the family had been foreclosed on and moved out, abandoning Butch (I found out later that the family had been jailed on burglary charges). At that point, Bob unofficially adopted Butch.

Butch is a runner, and though we tried to keep him penned with our dogs (we have a half acre fenced in yard for our dogs to run in), he found ways to “escape.” No matter what we did, the dog managed to find a way free. So, he continued to roam the neighborhood taking handouts and sleeping in our print shop.  Then one day, my husband came in the house to tell me that the Beagles’ owner said that Animal Control had taken Butch.  If he wasn’t claimed in five days, he’d be put down.  However, since he’s part Rottweiler (and looks full blooded) they might only keep him a day.

I was devastated, and you’d have thought someone told my husband that they were about to execute his kids. How could they do that to such a sweet animal?  My son, who’d also adopted one of the strays left to wander our neighborhood (a beautiful, snow white Lab he calls Wiley), volunteered to go bail Butch out.  We gave him the cash, had him stop at our vets to get the pre-paid rabies certificate required by the state before turning an animal loose and orders to bring Butch home.

Butch has been here ever since. Yes, he’s a house dog now (3 big dogs isn’t really that bad), but he’s still a runner.  Although now he jumps the five foot gate on our deck, goes over to visit his Beagle friends across the street and comes back about twenty minutes later, slithers through the opening in the deck rail and spends the rest of the day in his new home.

Whoever abandoned him is missing out on one loving, terrific animal.  Butch is a doofus who walks into walls, falls down in lieu of lying down and on occasion even knocks over small pieces of furniture, but he’s our doofus and will be for the rest of his days.
HAWKS MOUNTAIN -- Book #1 - 3/11
Audio version available now!
SUMMER ROSE - Book #2 - 1/12
FOREVER FALL -- Book #3 -- 10/12
WINTER MAGIC -- Book #4 -- WRD 11/13

Bell Bridge Books --print and e-book 


  1. I have my own doofus, a year old brindle pit bull girl from a shelter that euthanizes 75% of its animals. She also does the fall-down-in-lieu-of-lying-down thing. So funny. She is probably the dearest, most affectionate dog I've ever owned. People have such treasures in these animals and throw them away like they were so much trash. It's appalling. But I'm glad to see more and more blogs like this one and more active attempts to get animals out of the worst so-called shelters. And the Animal Rescue Corps is doing a fantastic job rescuing dogs from pit bull rings.

  2. Miriam, If you look at the blog earlier in the week, my son and his gf have a rescue lab/pit mix. Riley is the sweetest thing ever. I'm so glad you found your own 'doofus.' She sounds adorable. And while my book, Everything But a Dog, isn't an issue book, but rather a romantic comedy, I'm so glad it gave me a chance to highlight all the dogs who are still looking for their forever homes!