110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Hatfield
posted May 3, 2010 - 9:28:13am
This is the tale of Buddy, a golden-Lab mix, and how he went from life on the lam to the lap of luxury with his new family, Mike and Jeannie Boyd of Brandywine.
Or, as friend and co-rescuer Bonnie Durham put it, “Buddy went from hell to heaven.”
Sometimes, it takes just about a whole village to save one animal. With Buddy, they succeeded.
Brandywine residents noticed Buddy hanging around the Brandywine Shopping Center in early 2009.
Some of the neighbors, including the Boyds, Gail Carter and Durham, began feeding the dog. Buddy was hungry and took the food, but didn’t let anyone get too close.
He would go back and forth across U.S. Highway 17, from the shopping center to the parking lot of a closed bank. The humans worried he would get hit by a car. They tried to cajole the dog to come with them, either on foot or in a vehicle.
Distrustful Buddy remained aloof.
Buddy even recognized the Volusia County Animal Control truck that came his way after a few people complained about the dog.
Animal Control officers tried to shoot Buddy with a tranquilizer dart one day, in their efforts to capture him. After that, Buddy ran from any white truck.
The residents, worried Buddy would be taken to the pound and euthanized, made an arrangement with Animal Control: Carter and Durham set up a “Buddy” account at Countryside Animal Hospital, so Buddy could be taken there for care and future adoption by someone in the group, if Animal Control officers should capture him.
One day, a car did clip him. Buddy disappeared for a good while. Then, he turned back up at the shopping center, the bank, and another favorite haunt — a ravine in Brandywine.
The residents continued to feed him and bring him fresh water.
Mike Boyd said many people beyond the immediate circle of Buddy followers were feeding the stray dog.
“We don’t even know everybody who was feeding him,” Carter said.
Durham would buy Buddy hamburgers and chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s.
Buddy always looked sad as the people left, but he still wouldn’t go with them.
“He was his own worst enemy,” Durham said.
After a while, he would let one person at a time pet him, but he couldn’t get up the nerve to go with anyone.
The Brandywine crew believes the continued non-threatening attention, along with a cold winter and a health concern, changed Buddy’s mind.
“He was tired of being on the run,” Durham said.
“He was ready for assisted living,” Mike Boyd added.
A life change
Here’s how it happened:
On April 13, the Boyds went to feed Buddy.
“He finally came up and head-butted me,” Mike Boyd said.
Buddy let Mike hug him.
The dog even started wagging his tail — a first.
Buddy starting following the Boyds as they walked away.
They walked to the home of friend Lillian Alonzo, who has a fenced backyard. Buddy followed them through the gate.
Another neighbor, Davina Cueto, has two Great Danes, so she’s used to handling large dogs. She came over and managed to get a lead over Buddy’s head.
With some coaxing and pulling, the crew got Buddy into a van and took him to Countryside Animal Hospital.
As Buddy states on his new blog (http://caninecouchpotato.blogspot.com), “The doctor poked and prodded, stuck me with needles, shoved something up ... well, let’s not go there, pulled a bunch of ticks out of my ears (that hurt worse than the needles!), and subjected me to various other indignities. But I liked her, so I didn’t object too much. Then, it was on to my new digs.”
Buddy’s taking antibiotics for an illness caused by tick bites. He had a mild case of heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquito bites, and now takes heartworm medication.
Otherwise, the dog, who’s 3 or 4 years old, seems in good health.
He settled right into life with the Boyds and loves being a couch potato, hence the name of his blog: “Confessions of a Canine Couch Potato.” Owner Mike Boyd helps Buddy with the computer work.
Buddy also loves his growing collection of stuffed animals; he greeted The Beacon at the door carrying one of them. He enjoys the comfort of his new life, complete with his own dog bed and two cat companions. It’s a big change. He gets separation anxiety, crying if both of the Boyds leave the house without him.
The Boyds discovered Buddy responds to basic training commands. He is friendly and affectionate. The Brandywine crew believes Buddy had been someone’s beloved pet, long ago.
Buddy legends float around Brandywine. According to one, his owner was in a bad car accident near the bank, and Buddy ended up loose. He remained near the bank, hoping to find his owner.
Another story is that Buddy’s owner had a heart attack at the shopping center, and Buddy was left alone and heartbroken there.
No one has been able to confirm either story.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brandon Haught checked dispatch records for the months around Buddy’s appearance and found no report of a heart attack or crash in the area involving a dog. Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol couldn’t find anything, either.
What is easy to discover is that Buddy is a delightful dog, who deserves a good home.
And, he found one.
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