29 December 2013

The Legend of Bootypants, Part I

No one knows when the legend of Bootypants actually began, but our best guess is that Booty was born around February 1997.  Years later, we decided to make February 14, 1997 Booty's official birthday.  We don't know what she did for the first year-and-a-half of her life, but in the summer of 1998 Booty found her way to Peck Ranch near Van Buren, Missouri, where she met some of the women working on a seasonal bird crew.

As a puppy at Peck Ranch in Missouri (1998), Bootypants hadn't even learned how to sit correctly!  She always sat on her hip with both back legs to one side.
As fate would have it, Scott was working on a seasonal botany crew stationed at Peck Ranch that same summer.  When a woman named Summer from the birding crew brought a scraggly, emaciated blue heeler mix with mange, conjunctivitis, and numerous ticks back to the ranch, everyone immediately fell in love with the goofy dog with the black "bootypants."  The summer wore on, and although Red (the other stray dog that showed up that summer) wandered off, Bootypants didn't.  Each day the crews would return from the field expecting Bootypants to no longer be at the ranch, but each day she was still there.  Eventually, someone bought a bag of dog food and started feeding her.

A scrawny Bootypants as a puppy with floppy ears at Peck Ranch in Van Buren, Missouri (1998).
With the end of the summer came the end of the field crews' stay at Peck Ranch.  Some of Scott's coworkers were going back to college.  Others were moving on to another seasonal position in another location.  A few weren't sure what they were going to be doing after the Ozark seasonal positions ended.  Scott, on the other hand, had recently accepted a job in northern Indiana and expected to be there for a while.  Everyone agreed that Bootypants couldn't be left there after she had become accustomed to being fed at the ranch, so Scott made the decision to take Bootypants with him.  He didn't know it at the time, but this would turn out to be one of the best decisions of his life.

It wasn't a difficult decision for Scott to take Bootypants with him to Indiana!  Photograph by Bryn Scriver (1998).
After making this decision, Scott took Bootypants to the local veterinarian.  A bath, some pills, shots, and eye drops later, Scott returned Bootypants to Peck Ranch with just a few days remaining before the drive back to Ohio prior to moving to Indiana.  Booty apparently didn't care for the bath, because the next day after work Scott returned to the ranch to find Booty covered in engine oil.  Nothing another bath couldn't take care of!  Around that same time, Bryn Scriver bought Bootypants a leash and some hard rubber toys.  Booty responded by taking the toys into a wooded area and burying them.  No one ever saw those toys again.  Those who know Booty couldn't help but wonder if this was a clue as to Booty's life before Peck Ranch, where she might have had to fight for food and hide anything she could get.  On the last day that the field crews were at Peck Ranch, Booty grabbed a shirt from Justin Thomas' bag and chewed a hole in it, and she stole his underwear from the back of his truck.  Again, the underwear were buried in the gravelly Ozark soil, never to be seen again.

Bootypants and Scott on one of their last days in Missouri (1998).
All of these things, as well as vomiting and defecating when she rode in a vehicle, were part of the Booty charm.  However, before the 13 hour drive back to Painesville, Ohio, Scott gave Booty motion sickness medication, and she made it the entire way without an accident.  Scott and Booty spent their first night together in a smoky Illinois hotel room.  Booty must have been scared, not knowing where she was or what was going on, but you never would have known.  Just as with everything else in her life, she adapted very quickly.  Booty then spent the next week with Scott's parents, brother, and sister in Painesville while Scott got settled and found a place to live in LaPorte, Indiana.

Booty often sat like this in her favorite (nasty) chair, as she did in 1998 in LaPorte, Indiana after a bath.
While in LaPorte for the next six months, Bootypants settled into a life of digging holes all day long while Scott was at work and running laps from room to room through the apartment when people came to visit.  Booty was a good student, learning commands such as sit, down, shake, high five, and everyone's favorite, "bang, dead dog," very quickly.  However, she didn't really bark at all for the first several months that Scott knew her, so she didn't learn "speak" until a bit later in her life.  One of Booty's most unexpected tricks occurred on an evening when Scott had picked up a Pizza Hut pizza for dinner.  Up until that time, Booty had never had "people food" and wasn't much of a begger.  Scott put a couple of pieces of pepperoni pizza on a plate that was on the counter a good four feet off the ground.  Scott walked away, and when he turned around Booty leapt up, cleanly took one piece of pizza from the plate, and proceeded to run into another room to eat the pizza.  She never did anything like that again in her life.  During the snowy winter of 1998-1999, Bootypants learned how much she loved being in and playing in the snow, especially when it was so deep that it made it difficult to walk through.

Soon after moving to Indiana, Booty's right ear began to stand up, while her left ear was still floppy.  She loved the snow, and there was plenty during one storm event in winter 1999 in LaPorte, Indiana.
In 1999, Scott moved to an apartment in North Liberty, Indiana.  Up until that time, Bootypants had spent the days outside on a run, with the garage door open and her Dogloo in the garage.  You can imagine Scott's concern in moving to an apartment where Booty would have to spend the entire day in the house, considering that she was so full of energy as to dig holes (numerous holes) during the day when she lived in LaPorte.  On the first day at the new apartment, Scott came home from work at lunch to see what the damage was, but there was none.  From that day forward, Booty seemed to calm down and grow out of her puppy stage. 

In 1999, Lindsay, Bootypants, and Scott hiked frequently at Potato Creek State Park in St. Joseph County, Indiana.  Although Booty was always on a leash during their walks, she was well behaved from the time Scott met her and never really needed a leash.
Booty was always very respectful of others' property.  Aside from Justin's clothes mentioned previously, there was never any damage to furniture, carpets, or other materials.  Apparently, however, Booty had abandonment issues (maybe another sign of her past life).  Scott would occasionally go out of town for work or to visit friends and would leave Booty at home or at a kennel.  Booty quickly figured out that a large duffel bag or a suitcase in the kitchen meant that Scott would be gone for a couple of days.  One day Scott was getting ready to travel and left his luggage in the kitchen while he ran an errand.  Booty didn't know that she was going to go with Scott on this trip, and Scott returned to find a torn up couch cushion.  This happened only once; Bootypants felt bad afterwards.

Booty was a little leery of opening presents at first, as she was in this photograph at Scott's apartment in North Liberty, Indiana (c. 1999).
It was while living in North Liberty that Scott and Bootypants first met Lindsay, and Lindsay quickly became an important part of both of their lives.  Scott and Bootypants would make frequent visits to Valparaiso University on weekends to visit Lindsay while she finished college.  On one of these trips, Lindsay was taking Bootypants in her car and decided that maybe it was a good idea to not feed Booty immediately before the car ride.  Bootypants never vomited or had an accident in a car again from that day forward, and in fact she began to enjoy car rides.  She quickly learned the words "park," "ride," and "Ohio."

By 2000, Bootypants had lost a lot of her puppy tendencies, and she had learned how to sit, as seen here in Painesville, Ohio.
Bootypants wasn't a fan of rumble strips.  On a trip to Ohio, just west of "dead man's curve" on I-90/SR-2, Booty woke from her sleep and jumped into the front of Scott's Dodge Shadow when the car went over the rumble strips, knocking the gear shift from drive into neutral.  Scott and Lindsay then learned to prepare Booty for the rumble strips prior to hitting them, and Bootypants never had an issue with rumble strips again.

Booty stared down the party pig after the infamous party pig night (morning), c. 2000.
While living in North Liberty, Booty met Sidney, a yellow lab who lived downstairs from Scott's apartment.  Sidney loved to chase tennis balls; Booty loved to chase Sidney and herd her back to Scott and Lindsay with the ball.  Scott and Lindsay really enjoyed watching both dogs do what they were bred to do, Sidney without regard to Booty and Booty without regard to the ball.

Booty didn't like posing for photos, but she was always a good sport, as seen here in Scott's North Liberty, Indiana apartment, c. 2000.
It was while Scott was living in North Liberty that Booty first demonstrated one of her other quirks.  When emergency vehicles with sirens would go by the house, Booty would howl along.  However, her "howl" was either at a frequency that humans couldn't hear or it was a mostly silent howl.  The howl was hilarious, dramatic, and difficult to describe.  It was somewhat throaty and airy, and it still isn't clear whether she was doing it to sound like the sirens or just to make people laugh.

Lindsay and Scott thought Booty needed a new toy, so they bought her a near life-sized "Lassie" for Christmas (c. 2001).
In 2002, Lindsay, Scott, and Bootypants bought a house in South Bend, Indiana, where Booty enjoyed having an entire fenced-in yard to herself.  It was here that Booty continued to make lifelong friends with new neighbors who were introduced to her.

At her first owned house (in South Bend, Indiana), Booty posed yet again (c. 2004).  By this time, both of her ears stood upright, and her body had filled out.
As Booty's 9th birthday was approaching, Lindsay and Scott got the idea that it would be fun to hold a surprise birthday party for her.  They realized that Booty was too smart and would have expected a party on her 10th birthday.  Plans were made, and many of Booty's friends made the trip to South Bend to celebrate with her.

One of the cakes at the surprise birthday party held for Booty's 9th birthday. Photograph by Bryn Scriver (2005).
No birthday party is complete without a birthday cake.  Lindsay ordered a "people food" cake specifically for the occasion (can you imagine what the baker/decorator was thinking making this cake?).  Some of Booty's friends were thinking more of Bootypants and made her a dog food, dog biscuit, Vienna sausage, and cheese stick cake.  Booty enjoyed both of these tremendously.

The dog cake made by Anne and Bert for Booty's 9th birthday party.  Scott might or might not have helped Booty finish the cake.  Photograph by Bryn Scriver (2005).
On the day of the party, Scott kept Bootypants downstairs with the door closed for the hour or so that people were arriving.  Scott and Booty could hear noises upstairs, and Scott could tell that Booty was getting very anxious.  Finally the moment came when Lindsay opened the door.  Bootypants bolted up the steps and first into the kitchen where people had packed the room and were blowing noisemakers and yelling "surprise!" and "happy birthday!"  Booty quickly greeted each one of those people before running into the living room to do the same.  That was one happy dog!

That's one happy dog, at her surprise party when she realized how many people were there to see her.  Photograph by Bryn Scriver (2005).
Scott and Lindsay quickly realized that Booty had more friends than they did.  The states of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, California, and possibly one more were all represented at Booty's surprise 9th birthday party. 

Another shot of the birthday girl in the scarf that Bryn made for her.  Photograph by Bryn Scriver (2005).
On most occasions when Scott and Lindsay had friends over, Booty would stay awake for a while but she would eventually go to bed before the others or leave them on their own to have fun.  On her 9th birthday, however, Booty understood that it was her party, and as a result she stayed awake and interactive the entire time, until everyone had gone home or to bed.  This was possibly one of the most fun and exciting days of Booty's life.

A favorite Bootypants photograph in South Bend, Indiana (c. 2005).
Bootypants liked having company at her house, but she also often traveled with Scott and Lindsay.  She would join in on regular trips to Ohio and Illinois, always eager to see family and friends.

A Booty Burrito (c. 2005).
Scott and Lindsay went on a lot of camping and birding trips in the early 2000s, and Bootypants always was excited to join them.  Booty made trips to various camping and birding destinations in Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio during her life.  She particularly enjoyed hanging out with everyone by the campfire, but also looked forward to going on walks in new places.

Booty loved to camp, as seen in this photograph at Hardin Ridge in Hoosier National Forest in 2005.
Another of Booty's favorite pastimes was going for walks or hikes, especially when they involved going to new places with new smells.  On some occasions, Scott and Lindsay would take Booty off-trail with them, as was the case at Holaday Fen in Marshall County, Indiana.  While Scott investigated the flora and Lindsay looked for birds, Booty enjoyed the fresh air and the animal tracks while marking her territory repeatedly.  Unfortunately, Booty learned the plant Rice Cut Grass (Leersia oryzoides) at Holaday Fen, resulting in her first trip to the emergency vet for a cut on her cornea.

Booty loved to hike, as seen at Holaday Fen in Marshall County, Indiana (2005).
Booty's next emergency vet trip came during a Christmas trip to Ohio in 2005.  While visiting Scott's parents, Scott took Bootypants out for her evening bathroom break and they were rudely greeted by the dog from next door, which was loose.  Scott was trying to fend off the dog while he was unknowingly lifting Booty up by her leash, leaving her belly exposed.  Scott didn't realize that the other dog had bitten Bootypants until they got back inside and saw blood dripping on the floor.  At the emergency vet, Booty's belly was shaved and the wound was cleaned, but the vet couldn't put in stitches because the wound had to drain.  As a result, Booty had to wear a cone for a couple of weeks so that she wouldn't lick the wound as it healed.

Booty hated her cone, but it was necessary to help her belly heal after her encounter with another dog the day after Christmas 2005.
Stay tuned for The Legend of Bootypants, Part II, coming soon.


ben said...

Great post.

Kirk said...


Beth said...

I'm really enjoying the story of Booty. She sounds like she was a fun, unique, and totally sweet dog!

emcee lama hawk then said...

booty is even more epic and legendary then i could of ever imagined!

Moraine Nature Preserve said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Bootypants lived a long, great life. We hope you guys find peace.

Katie said...

I adored reading this and seeing the pics from Booty's birthday party on Oakside. You were right, she would have suspected one for her 10th, but not her 9th. Boy we tricked her. That was a great time. So many wonderful memories are still with me of Booty and I thought of her often. I still will. I spent the afternoon trying to find the pictures from Halloween where we posed together. No luck but I am sure she is being a stinker and just hiding them from me for now. They will turn up. Miss you Booty.

Scott Namestnik said...

Thanks everyone. Hope to post the second part of this later this week.

Katie Cole said...

Love this Scott!! She was a pretty awesome dog!!!

Scott Namestnik said...

Yes, she was.

Heidi Millard-Lewis said...

I remember when you told me you had found her when, in reality, I think she had found you. Such a special dog with a sweet story and a beautiful collection of photos. Thank you for sharing these memories with us. Love and peace always.

Scott Namestnik said...

Thanks Heidi. Lindsay and I really enjoyed going through all of our Booty photos and stories in the process of putting these posts together.