Just before New Years Eve, I took a little drive for Love-A-Bull . . . to Log Cabin, Texas. The object of my road trip? This guy – Macky Mack.
Two days prior, a kind dog-lover had posted the Examiner article to Love-A-Bull’s facebook page, and once we saw it, there was an instantaneous explosion of emails among us: “Can we take this dog?” “We have to take this dog.” “We’re taking this dog.” “I already emailed and called Chief Nutt.” And in a blink, I boldly raised my hand to volunteer for the transport, and was on my way.
Arriving at the police station in town, I noted that “Log Cabin” is not just a name – the picturesque sprinkling of tiny buildings that house all city functions are all actual log cabins. I called Chief Nutt, and he said he’d meet me in a jiffy. “I really appreciate y’all,” he had told me in an email the day before.
Chief Nutt first met Macky while writing a citation for his caretaker for an expired rabies vaccine and no required dog license. Macky was a chained dog, living his life in a barren dirt circle with a 10 foot diameter. Over the following months, the Chief returned a few times to visit Macky. Once to issue another citation for licensing, another time to demand a shelter be constructed for the dog – in the dead of winter.
A lifelong dog lover with a pack of dogs of his own plus an occasional foster, Chief Nutt had never been fond of pit bull type dogs. But when he got the call from Macky’s neighbor saying that the dog had grown thinner and weaker over the past few weeks, he hopped in his truck and headed right over. After a brief negotiation with the caretaker, Chief Nutt learned that she had stopped feeding him because her son – Macky’s owner – had stopped sending money for kibble. Chief Nutt swiftly charged her with animal cruelty and convinced her to surrender Macky.
Ordinarily, there is a three-day “stray hold” period at the police station’s holding facility, after which the dogs are taken to the county humane society and put up for adoption. But the three days came and went, and two weeks later, Chief Nutt was still hanging on to Macky. As the days rolled on, he grew more and more fond of Macky. “He’s just a big pussycat,” he told me. The Chief didn’t want to surrender him for fear that he would be euthanized. So Macky Mack stayed, and Chief Nutt wondered what would happen next.
While a widely-read Examiner article inspired more than 3,000 phone calls to the humane society pleading for help for Macky, no donations came in for his care and no rescue stepped up to take him. About a week later, we got the facebook post.
When I arrived in Log Cabin on December 30th, Macky was prancing around in the large play yard, soaking up the sunshine and letting out an occasional confident, celebratory woof. By this time it was not only Chief Nutt who was infatuated with him, but of several other city employees who were not accustomed to falling for stray dogs. There’s just something about Macky Mack.
He was a little shy at first, doing a few fly-bys before finally plopping his butt down and requesting a good scratch behind the ears. He daintily took treats from my hands and leapt and bounded around after a kong that I produced from my bag of tricks. Under Chief Nutt’s care, Macky had become a happy dog.
As we talked, Chief Nutt fondly scratched Macky Mack’s ears and boasted about how far he had come in just a few weeks. How much stronger and more confident he seemed, and how much weight he had gained. He brought out Macky’s girlfriend – a sweet little blue-and-white pit bull type girl with enormous floppy ears — to show me how gentle and dog-social he is. Watching the two of them run around together and hearing her own sad story (she was picked up as a stray on Christmas Eve, bleeding, reportedly having been shot), I knew that I was heading back to Austin not with one new Love-A-Bull, but with two. Oops!
When I asked, the Chief admitted that Macky was the first pit bull type dog he had ever really liked, but quickly followed that thanks to Macky, he was sure there would be others. Macky had started to change his mind.
What I love perhaps the most about dog rescue is how frequently you see this type of snowball effect in action. One person’s tenacity and hope against the odds –in this case Chief Nutt’s – can be enough to save a life. When the Chief decided to let Macky into his heart and give him a few more days, he changed the course of Macky’s life forever. From now on, Macky will be swaddled in love. It never would have been possible without Macky’s hero, Chief Nutt.
Before we took off, I passed along a few little gifts to Chief Nutt from Love-A-Bull – a thank you card with Chick’s photo on it, a beautiful pit bull calendar, and a t-shirt to remember us by. We exchanged hugs and promises to keep in touch, and the Chief joked that if we didn’t get out of there soon, he was going to cry.
Macky got a good pep talk before we loaded up in the car for the long ride back to Austin. I respectfully walked away to let them have their privacy, but I think I heard the word “proud” in there somewhere.
Macky snoozed peacefully on the three-hour drive to his new home –a long-time Love-A-Bull foster who could take both dogs– in Austin. Upon arrival, he was crowned with a new name for his new start: Nutty Brown — a tribute to his personal hero, Chief Wayne Nutt.