LUCKY (AKA WILLIE BUTLER) UPDATE
May 5, 2007
To Nancy and everyone at The Max Fund;
To ESRA Friends and website visitors
When Bill recently contacted ESRA to ask a few questions about Willie Butler he was amazed to discover that there were ESRA members all over the country who had heard Willie’s story and were interested in hearing about him now. So we thought we’d bring you up-to-date on the life and times of Willie Butler, now known as “Lucky”.
We became foster parents to Willie in mid December after visiting with him at the Max Fund and the Douglas County Animal Hospital where he was being treated. At that time his weight was up to about 47 pounds. We couldn’t adopt him until he was neutered and finished his medications for some health problems.
Happily he was quickly given a clean bill of health, neutered and we were able to adopt him in February. And what a joy he has been! He’s such a happy, friendly dog. Loves people and Bill is his very special person. Initially we didn’t know if he was even house-broken, let alone knew any commands. Turned out he was and did. More on that later. The vet also thinks he’s more likely to be between 6 and 8 rather than 10. Good news all around!
It had been probably 20+ years since we last had a dog, so when neighbors saw us out walking with Willie they would want to know about him. Every time we told what we knew of his story, they would say, “Wow, then look at Willie and say, “You are sure Lucky”! And we would say, “And so are we”. We finally decided to call him “Lucky”, which was also the name of Bill’s Springer when he was a boy.
The first day we brought him home in December, he investigated every corner of the house. He seemed delighted with everything he found. He loved racing up and down the steps, skidding around corners and generally making himself at home. He would follow us everywhere we went. Any cupboard that was opened got a thorough sniffing. The first night we put a blanket at the foot of our bed for him to sleep on. When I got into bed he joyfully leaped up as if that was where he expected to sleep, but when told “no”, he got down right away. He ended up sleeping across the room, we think so he could keep an eye on us!
Eventually we got a cage that we thought would work in the car when we go on trips, but it didn’t fit. He, however, loved it – we had put it together in our bedroom with Willie helping and put his dog bed in it along with a quilt. He thought it was great! Since it took up a fair amount of room in the middle of things, we ended up putting it between our two chairs. Bill made a solid top to fit and we draped a cover over it so it serves as an end table! That’s where he sleeps. He seems to like the secure feeling and coziness.
A week before Christmas we went to an outdoor mall nearby and had his picture taken with Santa. Then just before Christmas we got one of Denver’s infamous blizzards. Two feet of snow, really cold bitter weather. Bill shoveled a path out in the back yard so Lucky could get out, but it took him awhile to figure out that he wasn’t going to be heading out for a walk any time soon. It was a day and a half before we could even get out more than a few yards. We had a 6’ drift blocking the front door. Fortunately we could get out the garage, but with at least 2 feet of snow everywhere and drifts way higher, we really couldn’t get very far. That’s when we knew he was definitely house-broken. Not once in at least a day and a half did he make a mess inside. He was greatly relieved when he finally found an acceptable place to drop a load!!
Lucky knew commands to sit, stay, and come. Doesn’t seem to get toys or know what to do with them, but we’ll work on that. He loves his walks. By the end of the day, we’ve usually walked him between 3-7 miles. There’s a large open space park just two blocks from us and when it’s not muddy he really likes to walk there. (He’d probably like it in the mud, but we don’t like ending up with pounds of mud on our shoes!)
In February, We needed to be in Pebble Beach for about two weeks on business. Normally we fly, but we weren’t ready to leave Lucky for that length of time and the idea of putting him in a crate to fly was not something we even considered. So we decided to drive. He’s a great traveler and we rigged up a way to keep him safely in the back seat. (He’d much rather be up in the front, preferably sitting on the driver’s lap!) He loved the trip and was great in the motels we found. Once in Pebble Beach, he really enjoyed being outside. It had snowed every week for seven straight weeks in Denver and was unusually cold, so California was great. The elderly lady we stay with while there, just loved Lucky! She would laugh every time she saw him cause he’s so happy and friendly. The cat, who lives there, however, wasn’t as thrilled and we saw very little of her. We could take walks along 17 Mile Drive and one day had enough time to drive down Big Sur. He enjoyed romping on Pfeifer Beach, would have loved getting in the ocean but we hadn’t thought to bring towels or anything to dry him off. Next time!
Lucky weighs just over 60 pounds now, his coat is soft and beautiful and he’s a happy, healthy dog who’s very much loved and who loves back! It’s astonishing when you consider what he went through what a sweet dog he is.
Thanks to all the wonderful people at the shelter in Utah for saving his life, to the entire family of friends with ESRA for helping with his rescue, and to the Max Fund and their staff for continuing his great care and letting us adopt him.
There is now a website being constructed for him and his friends. The web address is: www.luckywilliebutler.com. Visit when you get a chance, sign in, and leave your message. We also plan a page for pictures of your Springer and your comments.