Tears still well up when Jimmy Nation talks about his dog Brutus. "I just miss him so much," he says between sobs. Nation lost his 11-year-old Staffordshire terrier the night of Aug. 4. He had mowed the lawn that day, and opened a yard gate he had never used before. He forgot to close it.
"I let him out in the back yard later that night, and when I went to let him back in, I realized what happened," Nation says. He ran and drove through the neighborhood calling for Brutus.
Nation went to Animal Control and to animal shelters in search of Brutus. He and his girlfriend, Lisa Creamer, passed out 1,500 fliers near his home.
"There's been a lot of people who said they saw him, but it wasn't him," he says.
"First I was scared that someone got him to fight him. He's not mean at all, so he would get hurt in a fight. He's really scared of stuff. He wouldn't hurt anyone."
Nation says he found Brutus through an ad in the newspaper. He went to the seller's house and saw the puppies playing. But the one that caught his eye was off to the side. "He wasn't even playing." Nation paid $400 for him. "That was 11 years ago," he says.
Now, Brutus is about 90 pounds with a big head and cropped and pointed ears. His eyes are a light orange-yellow. He has a red coat "like a redhead person's hair. Really red, especially red in the sun," Nation describes. "But his face is getting gray since he's older."
He also has a white chest, a small white spot on his muzzle, white on the very tips of his toes, and a few strand of white hair on his tail. "He looks like a show dog," Nation says.
As a reward for finding Brutus, Nation, who is a tattoo artist at Andrea's Tattoo in St. Petersburg, is offering free tattoos for life. "I can get money, too, if they want to do that instead."
Coping with Brutus' absence has been difficult for Nation. "I just try not to think about it. I can't think about it," he said.
If you have any information about Brutus, call Jimmy Nation at (727) 459-6562.
From the classifieds: Dog — Lost 11-year-old pit bull. Answers to Brutus. Red hair, red nose w/white chest. Lost at 38th Avenue N & 49th Street late on 8-04-08. I've had him since he was a puppy and I've been crying the whole time he's been gone. He's VERY gentle! Please help us! ... I need him. (727) 459-6562. REWARD for safe return, no questions.