blogRescuing Burt Reynolds

June 02, 2015
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Late night dog rescue with a happy ending.

What started out as a quick, late-night trip to the corner store turned into an intense animal rescue.

Down the street and over the bridge we went. As we reached the bottom of the bridge, there was a dog limping through a construction zone. We passed slowly, but noticed the animal was walking in-and-out of oncoming traffic, leading us to believe there was something wrong with its vision. Being the forever softy and animal lover, I asked to turn the car around. Now, I’m not a dog person, but this one looked like he was in trouble.

As we stepped out of the car, the dog kept walking into traffic, trying to avoid us. I had to pull out my high-pitched animal talking voice for this one. There I was, in the rain, trying to keep a dog, that was probably my weight, from getting struck down. After a few minutes, he was laying down in the backseat of the car, the squeaky voice tactic worked. He was wet and smelly, but I was relieved that he was safe. Then, the “What do we do now?” set in.

Once we arrived back home, we opened the car door and anticipated he would jump out. No such luck, he wouldn’t budge. We tried food and water, he wasn’t moving.  I was freaking because I helped rescue a dog when I was a kid and ended up with scabies...no fun! My heart wanted to just grab him and pull him out, but my brain was all “You’re going to get scabies if you touch him!”. After about an hour, he came out and made his way to his temporary home.

When morning came, the reality of the situation hit home. This was an older dog and wouldn’t likely be adopted if taken to animal services. It was go time. We HAD to find the owner. I couldn’t let him be put down.

The night of the rescue, I had posted photos and information to Lost and Found Pets of Hillsborough County. As of the following afternoon, I had no leads. I made flyers and sent them to Humane Society and Animal Service, still nothing. We even tried to find a caring person who could potentially foster him, no bites. Once night fell, we had made the decision that the dog had to be taken in the following morning. So, we washed and brushed him to get him looking proper. That was no easy task as he was a bear of a dog, with thick bushy fur. During the cleanup, we started thinking of names, as if we could keep him. We started with Smokey, because he was dark and looked like a bear. Then that went to Bandit, because of Smokey and The Bandit. In the end, I said we should just call him Burt Reynolds, and that’s where it stayed.

Feeling defeated, I went inside to check to see if I had received any new information. To my delight, I had gobs of people saying they recognized him and a voicemail from the owner. She lived not 10 minutes from us and was able to pick him up just after his bath. The most interesting part was that his name was Bandit. I was overjoyed to see him returned to his family.

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