Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Redington Beach family doggone happy to have their beloved bulldog back

Rod Buck loved his bulldog. But after returning from his ninth tour of duty in the Middle East and retiring from the military, Buck somehow was reminded by Wini too much of the military life he had left behind.

So in March, Buck decided to give her to the Humane Society of Pinellas, despite the protests of his wife and son.

About four months later, the family missed her so much it contacted the animal shelter's director, wondering if it could recover their dog.

Wini, though, had already been adopted. Twice, in fact. The first new owners had returned her to the shelter earlier this month because she was so lethargic. A few days later, someone else adopted her.

Buck explained his change of heart to executive director Barbara Snow. She called the new owner and asked him whether he would consider returning Wini. Legally, he was under no obligation.

But Wednesday, the family and its beloved Wini were finally reunited.

"They had no reason to do that," said Buck, 40, of Redington Beach. "It was legally their dog, and that could have been where the story ended."

It is uncommon for someone to want a pet back, but it does happen once in a while, Snow said.

Usually, new owners are sympathetic. The Humane Society does not pressure anyone to return an animal.

Buck wondered about the reunion. Snow had said there was a chance Wini would not recognize him.

But when she saw him at the shelter, Wini broke the grip on her leash and bounded to her old master.

She "plastered him with wet kisses over his neck, his face, his ears," Snow said.

The staff was teary-eyed.

"There were no words that needed to be said," Snow said. "The dog said it all: 'I love you and want you back.' "

Buck had struggled with depression after his retirement in 2007. He knew that while he lived in comfort in Florida, many of his colleagues were risking their lives in the Middle East.

Wini had been an occasional work companion at Fort Benning, Ga. Maybe not seeing Wini would make him feel less guilty, he thought.

"In my state at the time, it made sense," he said. "In a search for answers, I was willing to try to give that dog away."

Time passed, and he told his wife, "I feel horrible, too. It's one of the worst mistakes of our lives. I'm sorry."

Wini was so loved when she lived with them that Buck and his wife Malena, 39, called her "daughter." She was a surprise birthday present to Buck when he returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment in 2004. They named her Winifred.

The couple and their son Andrew, 10, missed her so much on their wedding anniversary on July 8 that they broke down and contacted the Humane Society.

The next day, their dog was back.

Wini adores her family. No one can enter the house unless her owners are present, the family said. Arguments cause Wini to bark miserably until they end.

The English bulldog also loves to play. She cannot pass a Gatorade bottle without chewing it to bits, or let a soccer ball roll by without sinking her teeth into it.

Despite the time away, Wini soon fell into her old routines. She's gone through three Gatorade bottles since coming back.

Seeing her dog for the first time when she came home from work, "it just felt like she had never left," Malena said. "She's a great dog."

Redington Beach family doggone happy to have their beloved bulldog back 07/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2008 2:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival wraps up with Above and Beyond, more at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    The first numbers trickled in on Sunday, and they didn't look great.

    Louis the Child performed at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium on May 28, 2017.
  2. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  3. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  4. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  5. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.