Teri Vance: Blimey! Three-legged dog wins pirate pup contest

Butters, a 13-year-old yellow Lab, has a T-shirt that says, “I’m kind of a big deal.”

She proved that statement true once again Wednesday when she took home the Crew Favorite award at the Scallywaggers: Puppies Pirate Parade contest at the Brewery Arts Center.

Honestly though, she was kind of a shoo-in — or at least a peg-leg in.

The Lawsons, of Fallon, adopted Butters from a Lab rescue in 2008 when she was 2 years old.

“She was already really well-trained,” said Aly Lawson. “Her personality was really sweet.”

It was two years later when she lost her front right leg in an unfortunate accident.

She was riding in the back of the pickup truck on a trip down to the river in Pensacola, Fla., when she jumped out.

“She saw a squirrel or something and forgot where she was,” Aly recalled. “She took a flying leap.”

Along with some cuts and scrapes, Butters also ended up with a paralyzed leg.

When they were convinced sensation would not return to the limb, the veterinarian recommended amputation.

“He explained to us that dogs have no sense of vanity,” Aly said. “They totally adapt.”

And Butters did.

“She ran a 5K with me a month later,” Aly said. “Of course, she’s slowing down now, but she’s done so well.”

For the Scallywaggers competition, a fundraiser for the Carson Animal Services Initiative, Butter’s costume seemed obvious.

“We wanted to make her a peg leg, but I’m not crafty at all,” Aly confessed.

So she turned to Patchwork Giraffe, a cooperative space in Carson City for anyone to learn, create, buy or sell custom-made clothing, accessories, homewares or any other item of the imagination.

The staff there sewed a replica peg leg, attached by a velcro strap.

“They made it so high quality,” Aly said. “It’s even reinforced. They did a great job on it, and they made the handkerchief as well.”

The event was held in conjunction with the Carson City Classic Cinema Club’s pirate-themed movie night featuring “Hook.” The movie nights have coincided with the Brewery Arts Center’s summer attraction of Wheeled Food Wednesdays with food trucks available in the parking lot.

The dogs paraded around the block then walked a plank-like catwalk (or, more appropriately, the dogwalk) for final judging.

Awards were given for first and second place in the big-dog category — Best First Mate — as well as for small dogs —Best Captain.

A show of audience applause selected Butters as Crew Favorite.

Aly wasn’t so sure Butters was surprised by the adulation.

As a military family, the Lawsons have moved across the country and abroad.

“No matter where we go, she usually steals the show,” Aly said. “She’s used to getting a lot of attention.”

It works out just fine for Jules, 4, who walked Butters through the parade.

“She’s such an attention hound, she loves any chance to be in the spotlight,” said Aly, pointing out that Butters is a gentle and loving playmate to Jules and her little brother Cole, 1.

After all the excitement, the family is ready to relax with the movie-themed prize — a popcorn bucket filled with treats for humans and dogs.

They can kick back knowing Butters already has her Halloween costume picked out.


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