My family has always loved dogs, and we don’t know what to do without one or two furry family members under foot. We adopt them, and treat them like they are one of the kids.
Six years ago, we adopted Boots from a home shelter in Tuttle, OK. He had been a stray in that town, and was only about five to eight months old. The rescuers son had named him after the monkey on Dora the Explorer.
The first thing I noticed about Boots is that he was a friendly dog, who immediately got along well with my brother’s Pit Bull, Adrian, and my children. After introducing him to Adrian, we brought him home, where he became an beloved member of our family.
Boots always came running to greet us when he heard his name being called. He would escort me down the driveway and then offer one goodbye bark at the end and head back for the house. Each school morning, he would walk my children and their friends to the bus stop… and wait patiently for them to return home.
During the day, you could find him hanging out with our horse, keeping her company. Or maybe he’d be playing with his friends, the dogs that lived next door on his way home from the bus stop. He even made friends with the lady that lives next door while playing with her pets. Sometimes the lady’s dogs and a dog that lived further down the street would follow him home for an extended play date.
There was never a problem with this, as far as we knew.
Some days, he could be found lying in the middle of the kitchen while his Aunt Kelly prepared some lunch, or snoozing under the dining room table while she ate. He would walk with her from her house to our house and back, or down to the mailbox, keeping her company all the way.
He also enjoyed going places in the car whenever we invited him. All we had to do is open the car door and call his name.
When my husband ran an mechanic’s shop near town, Boots would go to work with him.
And at the end of the day, when he would hear the bus backing up to turn around and head to town, he’d run to greet the kids and gallop down the driveway with them.
He loved to go prancing through our new pond, and would follow us anywhere we went.
At supper time, you could always find Boots back in the kitchen, helping with the cooking — as he snoozed, or rolled over on his back for a belly rub.
He slept indoors at night as often as he wanted, always laying on the landing near the bottom of the stairs, or on the sofa, or under the table… just wherever it was comfortable for him. Sometimes, he would cuddle up with the cat.
On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and opened the front door to see if Boots was nearby. This was one night that he’d decided to sleep outside. Sure enough, Boots was sitting on the front porch. He came in when I called him and ate breakfast while I finsihed getting ready for work. When I left at 6 a.m., Boots went back outside with me.
This is the last time I saw him.
Aunt Kelly stepped outside to feed our horse around 7:40, while my son, who had overslept, prepared for school. She said one of our neighbor boys came up to the porch to wait for my son, and Boots sat with him. Since my son was running so late, Kelly offered to drive him to school. So my son went to let his friend know. His friend had already left for the bus stop, and Boots had walked with him to the corner just up the dirt road where the bus always stopped.
When Kelly returned home from taking my son to school, Boots was no where in sight.
He did not return home that day.
When I arrived home from school, I called out to him, and received no response. Normally, he would come running from the dirt road, or around the side of the house. But no response.
When my husband arrived home he drove around the neighborhood, looking for Boots and asking our neighbors. None of the neighbors had seen him, although one suggested that another neighbor on the other side of us would shoot dogs he saw on his property.
We walked around our property on Thursday, looking through the trees in the wooded areas, thinking maybe Boots got injured by a deer or another wild animal and just couldn’t make it home.
I put flyers up in the local convenience stores, an ad on Craigslist, and in a lost and found pets group on Facebook.
One nice lady thought she’d seen him a mile or so away. We looked all around the area, but no Boots.
Another lady reported that a local rescue group had picked up a dog matching his description from the Norman Animal Shelter. We contacted the group, but that dog had been picked up before Boots went missing.
We still held out hope that maybe he had gotten lost and someone had taken him in during the cold snap, that they would go to the store, see the poster, and call us.
Finally, on Sunday night, we found out what happened.
Remember that neighbor who had suggested another man might have shot Boots?
It turns out that the neighbor’s own son had shot Boots for sniffing around his trash can, which was sitting out for trash day. Apparently, this is how his family deals with dogs who get into their trash. They shoot the dogs and then throw them in the dumpster or in a lagoon.
Nevermind that their own dog does the same thing — and then brings his trash into our yard. We just pick it up and chalk it up to dogs being dogs. Hey, even people throw their trash out.
We have called the sheriff and the district attorney, who have said that without evidence, there is nothing they can do. A civil suit would cost more than we could receive, and it’s not about the money.
This is why I have setup this website — to educate others about what happened to Boots, to shed light on these tragedies that happen so frequently to families in our country, and to try to prevent more senseless abuse.