Denton the Dog

Tom, Kathy and Denton at the vet in Denton, TX. Right before his ride to his new home.
Tom, Kathy and Denton at the vet in Denton, TX, right before his first ride to new home.


Denton the Dog

Posted 10/21/13

On October 14, 2013, five months to the day we lost our beloved Chocolate Lab, Bubba, we rescued Denton from the Denton Animal Shelter, Denton, TX.  The staff at the shelter said he’d been there almost a month, played well with the other dogs and was friendly and outgoing, so they couldn’t understand why he kept getting overlooked.

Denton at his new home.
Denton at his new home.

Overlooked. That’s all I needed to hear. Plus the shelter was full, and his days were numbered. So I asked to see this dog the staff called Ranger, a stray that appears to be about three years old and we think is part Chocolate Lab, part Catahoula. Even before I saw him, I knew I would call him Denton, named after the town where he was rescued.

When I looked into his eyes, I saw a lost soul that needed a loving home. I told my husband, Tom, “He’s the one that Bubba sent me.”


Before leaving the house that day to visit the shelter, I stood in front of Bubba’s photo and asked him to send me another loyal friend, a dog that needed a family.

Cuddling with Bubba, the heartbeat of our home. He was 9 when he left us unexpectedly on May 14, 2013. My dad died five days later.
Cuddling with Bubba, the heartbeat of our home. He was 9 when he left us unexpectedly on May 14, 2013. My dad died five days later.

I touched Bubba’s collar and tags, ran my fingers over the cedar box that shelters his ashes, and asked for his blessing.

Denton came to us not knowing a single command, but he is a smart dog and he is learning to sit and stay. On Wednesday he gets his first bath.

Denton's new game: He takes his squeaky pumpkin to top of stairs, drops it, then chases after it as it rolls down stairs. Did this three times in a row on his sixth day in his new home.
Denton’s new game: He takes his squeaky pumpkin to top of stairs, drops it, then chases after it as it rolls down stairs. Did this three times in a row on his sixth day in his new home.

While he can never replace the huge spaces Bubba occupied in our home and hearts, Denton is already filling the void with doggie kisses, cute antics, and that rattle of tags that only comes from the sound of a happy dog.

Denton at the dining room window. He loves to watch the neighbor kids play across the street.
Denton at the dining room window. He loves to watch the neighbor kids play across the street.










 Update 12/3/13:

We just got Denton’s DNA test results back from Wisdom Panel Insights. He is an American Staffordshire Terrier/Rottweiler Mix with shades of Catahoula Leopard Dog! Not one trace of Chocolate Lab in him like we originally thought. Our family vet also thinks Denton is between one and two years old, a little younger than originally thought. We will never know where Denton spent his days before a citizen brought him to the shelter. But here’s what we know: He is happy to have a home, a family who loves him, and chattering squirrels to chase.

From Lithograph "Motherly Secrets" by Thomas C. Rodgers. Used with permission.
From Lithograph “Motherly Secrets” by Thomas C. Rodgers. Used by permission.


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Author of the novels The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately & Seven Wings to Glory. Former contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Future work represented by agent Diane Nine, Nine Speakers Inc.

31 thoughts on “Denton the Dog”

  1. I love this! And I love the picture of him holding his squeaky pumpkin. I can’t believe he was in the shelter for a month with all that obvious sweetness going on in him, but I guess he had to stay around so you could find him. (Does he really enjoy wearing his leash, or is that a training technique?)

    1. Hey Kris – I know, it’s so hard to believe that he was overlooked continually for several weeks. He is very smart, so we are staying on our toes to train him. We’ve kept him on leash in the house and out in the backyard since he came home last week (except when he’s in his crate). We may take him off leash tomorrow and see how he does. 🙂

      1. Oh Kathleen! This brought tears to my eyes. So glad Bubba helped you find precious Denton! He looks like such a fun boy who no doubt realizes how lucky he is to be your Denton. Just loved the pictures!

        1. Hi Donna – Thank you for taking time from your day to read my blog post about our newest member of the family. You’ve had a lot going on in your life, and I very much appreciate that you spent a few moments reading about Denton. Thinking of you.

  2. You, Tom, and Denton make a fine team. That boy already looks at home and he’s playing, too. I know he won’t fill the place left by Bubba, but these words moved me deeply: “When I looked into his eyes, I saw a lost soul that needed a loving home. I told my husband, Tom, ‘He’s the one that Bubba sent me.’” Looks like Bubba made a great selection. I look forward to watching your relationship grow.

    1. Hi Elaine – I bet Willow and Denton would be great friends. 🙂 Maybe they are writing about us when we aren’t looking. LOL! Seriously, thank
      you for all your support since we met shortly after I lost Bubba and my dad. You have been such a blessing to me. Now to go read your latest blog. I seem to be behind everything the last few days since we brought Denton home. He needs lots of training and I can’t leave him alone (sort of like when the boys were young). 😉

      1. I’m so excited that you have a new “love” in your life … And so does Denton.
        Happy tail wags & belly rubs!

        1. Starlene – Lover of all creatures great and small. It takes a very special person to try and save the life of a little mouse, and your good deed has not gone unnoticed. That little creature felt love in his final moments.

  3. Kathy, I loved the write up about you and Tom getting Denton. He will be such a good companion with his sweetness. Since he is part lab, he should be easy to train. Enjoy your new “love.” Keep us updated on things he is learning. Love and hugs to you.

    1. Hi Johnnie Dale – So glad you like Denton. We are all adjusting even better than I thought. He is a very polite dog, considering that he had no training. He’s smart and is a quick learner. Wonder if you’ve many “Johnnie Birds” in your yard this time of year. Love you.

  4. Oh Kathy..what a beautiful story and a very lucky dog! These beautiful 4 legged animals are not “just” a dog or cat..they become part of our family. Thank you for sharing that touching story about Bubba and your Dad as well. Take care my friend and enjoy Denton 🙂

    1. Louise – Thank you for mentioning Bubba and my dad. I’ve been wanting to write about both of them in a future blog post. Not sure when I will do this but stay tuned. Dad’s death was expected but Bubba’s was not. So I was still in a state of shock when Dad died five days later and we left to go home for his funeral. More to follow on this I am sure.

  5. Kat,

    Denton wasn’t overlooked. Bubba was waiting for you and Tom to choose Denton. I an so happy that you have a wagging tail in your house again. Bubba is proud!

  6. In these few words I felt the pain of your loss, and the promise of a new life with Denton(I love that name).
    You were led to this lovely guy. Bubba knows that you will love him, and that he will love you

  7. Kathy this brought tears to my eyes, when you said you asked for Bubba’s guidance! He sure gave it to you. Denton is already making you giggle from the sounds of his pumpkin antics. I have a hunch he’s going to win the battle of the leather sofa. 🙂

    1. Geri- I kept remembering about your dream when Shadow came and stood by your bed with Misha in tow. I had that vision in my mind when I invoked the spirit of Bubba and asked him to send us a special friend that needed a loving family. BTW – I still remember a blog your wrote from Russia when you mentioned that you sometimes thought you saw a glimpse of Shadow rounding a corner of the house. I believe.

  8. Dear Denton, we’re notorious Airedale and Boxer people, but I have also admired a Staffordshire terrier who resembles an American Bull Dog which we in the neighborhood would have been so close to the breed of dog Jack, was who belonged Laura Ingalls Wilder when she was a child. Her home is here at Mansfield and there may also be a picture of Jack in the museum.

    1. Dear Miss JudyAnn – My mom said to tell you thanks for reading and commenting about my heritage. Since Mom likes to read anything related to writers, I’ll tell her to check out the information about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s dog, Jack. She said to also tell you thanks for your awesome support. Your new friend, Denton. 🙂

  9. “He’s the one Bubba sent me.” I misted up at those words, thinking of the wonderful dogs who have passed on, especially our last one who died prematurely from cancer. They leave huge holes and bigger legacies. Your blog touched me so much. And I needed it today. I’ve been thinking a lot about Doolittle lately, remembering those last days. My pack is sweet, loving and fills our home, but there are empty spaces in the heart for those gone. This was the seven year anniversary of losing my parents. My dad died on Thanksgiving day in 2006. So it’s been a mixed holiday for me since then, but your blog reminded me of how much love we have in our lives and to be grateful for it. Thank you, Kathy.

    1. My Dear Bonnie – Oh, I am so glad you found comfort in my blog about Denton and how Bubba’s passing led us to adopt a dog that needed a loving home. I think we needed Denton as much as he needed us. Of all the days I chose to update the blog, I unknowingly chose the seventh anniversary of your parents’ passing. You have been through so much the last few years, and I’m a grateful that you are still writing and having fun with your beautiful granddaughter, the one and only, Miss Liberty. All my love to you, Kathy

  10. Denton is just a little boy in a fur coat and I can tell he loves his new Mama and Daddy, and I can see they are proud of their new boy. Enjoy the love. No doubt Bubba had a paw in this choice.

  11. Denton seems to have a good mix. I will look up the American Staffordshire Terrier. I thought he looked sort of like a Rottweiler. He is a blessed dog to have such a family as you and Tom. So happy for all of you that Denton came into your life. He’s a happy dog!

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