Last week, we happnened to be visiting Iowa, where Dori Butler, author of The Buddy Files, lives. We knew Dori had a big black dog named Mouse, just like Buddy’s friend in the books, and we wanted to meet him! Then Dori mentioned that Mouse was a shelter dog. Since October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, it seemed like a good time for Dori to write about how Mouse came to her house…
Meet Mouse! by Dori Butler
Three years ago, unbeknownst to my husband, I started reading online profiles of all the dogs that were in animal shelters within a 120-mile radius of our house. I sensed that Molly, our 14-year-old cocker spaniel wasn’t going to be around much longer. I also decided I wanted to get involved in a pet partner (i.e. therapy dog) program, so I was also searching for a dog that would have the right temperament to be a therapy dog. I figured I’d find the dog first, then worry about bringing my husband on board.
I came across a profile that read: Mowgli never met a human or animal he didn’t like. He was a golden retriever mix, 9 months old, and housebroken. That all sounded promising. I talked to the shelter people on the phone (they were 30 miles away) and then they made an appointment to bring Mowgli to our home. They wanted to meet everyone in our home, both two-footed and four-footed, before we filled out any paperwork to see how everyone got along.
When Mowgli walked into our house for the first time I thought, “Oh, boy. He’s BIG. Really big.” Then he walked over to our kitchen table and rested his chin on it…which, if you’re a BIG dog, is not the way to make a positive first impression.
But there was something about those warm, brown eyes. And he definitely had all the qualities you look for in a therapy dog. He was friendly, confident, smart, and eager to please. My kids took to him right away, especially when he caught a treat in his mouth. He got along well with Molly and our cat (well, he liked the cat; the cat wasn’t so sure about him). And despite the fact my husband wasn’t convinced we absolutely needed a second dog at this point, I could tell he really liked this dog. He liked him more than I expected him to.
We decided to go ahead and adopt him!
Let me introduce you to my dog, Mouse.
Yes, Mouse. “Mowgli” and “Molly” sounded too similar, so we changed Mowgli’s name. To Mouse. My kids liked the irony of a big dog named Mouse. But the idea wasn’t originally theirs. They stole the idea from science fiction author, Jim Butcher, whose hero Harry Dresden has a big, gray dog named Mouse.
Just the facts:
Breed: 50% Golden Retriever, 25% English Setter, 8% Parson Russell Terrier, with a little Akita, Border Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle thrown in
Date of birth: February 29, 2008
Date of Adoption: November 26, 2008
Weight: 100 pounds
Favorite Food: BUTTER! cheese, apples, hot dogs, liver treats
Favorite Activity: greeting children at the bus stop on our morning walk, visiting people, being read to at the library, playing hide and seek
Favorite Toy: Kong wubba…and any plush, squeaky toy
Favorite Tricks: bringing in the newspaper, turning the light on or off on command, retrieving any of his toys by name, retrieving leash, putting toys away (okay, that’s Dori’s favorite trick, not Mouse’s)
Favorite Way to Get in Trouble: digging in the yard
Claim to Fame: the inspiration behind the Buddy Files
While there is a big, black dog named Mouse in the Buddy Files books, my Mouse is more like Buddy than he is like Buddy’s best friend. In fact, I would go so far as to say my Mouse IS Buddy. Mouse lies at my feet every day when I write. Whenever I’m unsure what Buddy would say or do next, all I have to do is look into Mouse’s eyes. The answer is always there.
October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. Please consider contacting your local animal shelter or rescue group this month and find out how you can donate supplies, money, or time. If you have room in your home and your heart, consider adopting a shelter dog this month. Shelter pets really do make the best pets!