Posted by: nauticalchronicles | March 21, 2012




This past week, Louise and I received an outpouring of concern regarding the callous and apparently inhumane treatment Butch received from Peter and Mary; while they were in Florida, he was left in doggy day care where he peacefully passed away in his sleep. As you might  guess, there is a lot more to the story about Peter, Mary and theirGerman Shepherd, Butch.



You will remember that after their boat fire in December, Peter and Mary were forced to move in with their friends in Leominster. Deb and the General’s dog Bella and Butch did not get along well, so Butch was sent to doggy day care. However, he was not sent to “a kennel”; he was accepted into the Hydrant Regency; “where your dog stays to play while you go away”.

Hydrant Regency

It is a very expensive, very exclusive, ultra-modern extended care spa for four-legged family members; it is located on seven beautiful acres near the Newburyport Turnpike and the Rowley Country Club in Rowley, Massachusetts (they were going to be bringing their new boat back to Salisbury soon so Rowley worked well for temporary housing for Butch); not a shabby kind of place! He received plenty of attention, spent much time with his new friends, ate only the finest foods, swam daily in the pool and, though he did miss his new owners” (to be explained), he wanted for nothing. His nighttime sleeping quarters were equipped with a couch AND a color television. A webcam keeps owners current with their pet’s activities, and the “hotel” has pet pick-up and delivery service.

Even with “the dark cloud” hanging over Peter and Mary, we have never met such a positive-minded, energetic and caring couple, each willing to do anything for anyone…anytime. They seem to bounce back from adversity better than anyone we know; they accept what comes their way with grace and dignity. They wear their emotions on their sleeves; we always know where we stand with them. They can be trusted to do “what’s right”, always…and they were hurt to hear that some believe they didn’t treat Butch fairly. After receiving this outcry of concern, we got the rest of the story from them regarding Butch.

Butch was born in Berlin, New Hampshire in 1996. He was the runt of the litter of five puppies, and was easily sold to a lovely and loving elderly couple, Mitch and Judy. They lived on a large tract of land just outside of town and, since there was no leash law, Butch was free to roam; but he was always home for dinner. He could often be seen near the local pizza take-out or on the playground of the local elementary school, much to Judy’s dismay since she once taught there.

Today, of course, we have “invisible fences” and electronic devices which are used to train our pets in proper behavior and manners. In those days, in rural New Hampshire, owners simply used a rolled up newspaper to gently swat the puppy when his behavior was inappropriate. This tried and true method worked well; Butch was obedient, good with children and a model of what “a good dog” should be. In fact, when Butch was four years old, Mitch and Judy were approached by the American Humane Association to see if they would consent to Butch joining in their Animal Assisted Therapy Program. Unfortunately, during the waiting period, Butch managed to bite the newspaper delivery boy; the news carrier, unaware that Butch had been trained with a rolled up newspaper, opened the front screen door of Mitch and Judy’s home to throw the paper into the living room. Butch, of course, was only defending his home from this unauthorized and unwarranted intrusion by an unknown person. His application to the Assisted Therapy Program was immediately revoked; due to this unfortunate misunderstanding, his opportunity for community service was lost. He did, however, make up for this indiscretion the following year.

While  Mitch and Judy’s grandchildren were visiting, Butch was able to lend assistance to what could have been a terrible tragedy.

Two of the grandchildren were sleeping in the spare bedroom one night when the nine-year-old boy woke to find a large black spot on his pillow. When he turned on the light, he found that it was blood. His grandmother was alerted and discovered a cut on the boy’s head, the cause of which was not immediately apparent. The cut was cleaned, the pillow was replaced and they all went back to sleep. A short time later, the boy again awoke, this time to the sound of scratching somewhere behind the chest of drawers. Again, he turned on the light. He saw what appeared to be a shadow run from the chest of drawers to the wash basin stand. He became frightened and woke his younger sister who was sleeping in the other bed. Together they decided they should bring Butch into the room to assist them in discovering the source of the scratching. Butch was called into the room, and the door was closed behind him. For a short period of time, Butch had no idea why he had been called into the bedroom…then he heard the scratching.

All hell broke loose. The shadow scurried from place to place; Butch followed growling and barking; the hair on his back was standing up. The shadow turned out to be a large rat! Both grandchildren were now standing on the beds, yelling. Butch chased the rat around the room, knocking over drawers, chairs, nightstands. Butch’s nose was bleeding, either cut by the furniture or cut by the rat. At one point when Butch caught up to the rat, he grabbed it, fitfully shook it and let loose. The flying rat managed to hit the boy in his head on its way across the bedroom. After one final attack by Butch, the rat lay still on the floor. The room was in shambles with blood on the walls, beds and furniture. After the final assault, an eerie quiet returned to the house.

Of course the grandparents, Mitch and Judy, had slept through the entire episode having taken out their hearing aids. Once alerted to what had transpired, they were able to clean up the mess, restore order to the house and box up, in a ladies shoe box taken from the closet, the offending rat; the animal was needed for testing by the local lab for possible rabies; during the night, the boy had been bitten on the head while he slept. Due to the definitive actions of Butch, the rat had been caught, allowing it to be tested. Since the test results were negative, the grandson did not need the invasive series of rabies shots…And this was how Butch was able to make amends for his biting indiscretion from the previous year.

Butch lived a long and rewarding life with the elderly couple in Berlin until his folks became too old to continue caring for him. Their children were forced to relocate the couple to an assisted living facility in Concord, New Hampshire, and none could continue to care for Butch;  so, after 14 years in Berlin with his family, Butch became a ward of the state.

Lindsey, who lives in Derry, New Hampshire, heard Butch’s story through her friend Bob and was told that the dog was now at the Concord NHSPCA. Since she already had two other dogs, she felt she could save Butch from being euthanized, and was willing to take him into her home. Butch spent that year, his first real retirement year, lazing in the sun in Lindsey’s back yard either in the cool grass or on her deck under the pergola. A car accident caused Lindsey to give up her dogs; her resulting injuries precluded her from giving them proper care. Being a wealthy widow, she was able to avoid sending them to the NHSPCA by agreeing to pay foster parents to continue care-giving to her beloved pets, especially to Butch who was now in his golden years.

Last November, at fifteen and a half years old, Butch was sent as a foster dog, to Rye, New Hampshire to live with Lindsey’s friends…Peter and Mary. His “new owners” gladly accepted Butch onto their boat and into their home and their hearts.

The rest of the story we know. Peter and Mary had Butch for four months; two of which were spent between Rye, New Hampshire and Leominster, Massachusetts (having survived the boat fire), and two of which he spent in full retirement, in the pampering luxury of the “Hydrant Regency” in Rowley. He had lived a long and satisfying life, “some of it magic and some of it tragic but a good life all the way”. He will be fondly remembered by all who knew him, and is missed by everyone,  including Peter and Mary.

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man



  1. the whole butch storyline is upsetting….. 😦
    of course, keep in mind, lassie was a banned show in my home!
    i would become too distraught with worry for lassie!!
    i know….i know…i am the one with issues!!
    back to the adventures of the two legged species…. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful story. It was like a Hallmark story, and brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that Butch lived such a loving life.,

  3. Thanks Captain; beatutifully crafted and a tribute to all care givers, and those who watch over our four leggard friends!

  4. Thanks, Captain and First Mate, for including us in your chronicles!! BUT we don’t wear hearing aids, YET!

  5. Love a good dog story – that “rat” part sounds a tad familiar, though 🙂 Love ya, Betsy Lee

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