A Dog Named Butts

Good morning, y’all. Well, I can hardly contain my excitement, the big day is finally here. It’s just hours until our fearless lads take the field of combat against the semi-nerds of Vanderbilt University in beautiful downtown Nashville. GO DAWGS!!!!

Speaking of good dogs, it’s time to introduce a very important member of the Lite family, our dog Butts. If you believe urban legends, and the stories my Daddy told, then Butts is directly related to the family of dogs that are bred to be the mascot of the University of Georgia, UGA.

For those of you that have been living in a cave, or Alabama, let me tell you about the lineage of the fine beasts bred to be the standard for the University of Georgia. The candidates for mascot are purebred English bulldogs bred by the Seiler family down in Savannah, Georgia. The candidates are culled for the appropriate qualities of a mascot and only the finest examples of bulldogs are allowed to take the field to represent the University.

As you can imagine, the “seconds” still command a very high price, I hear as much as $5,000 per dog. Obviously, an animal of this quality is as out of my reach as the Kentucky Derby winner, which begs the question, how did I come by a potential cousin of UGA himself?

The story goes that Daddy was down in Savannah servicing his “Gentlemen’s” vending machines when he happened into a card game, as was his habit. Lightning strikes every now and again and this time it struck Daddy. He was cleaning up every hand. Well, they get down to the last game and this old boy is out of cash, but he does have something of value. A genuine Seiler bulldog pup. Daddy’s aces and eights prove to be the dead man’s hand for the other fellow and Daddy had himself a celebrity. Daddy named the pup Halsey after a famous admiral.

Daddy treated Halsey to a life that was the envy of all of us. Daddy truly loved that dog, and it was a weird emotional thing to watch Daddy lavish such care and devotion on an animal. A famous animal mind you, but not a person, much less kinfolk. Anyway, they were a pair. When Daddy would get in his cups he’d called Halsey, Ballsy. If you’ve ever walked behind a bulldog you’d know why. Daddy took to breeding Halsey with suitable companions and we’d split the litters with the females owners. Halsey is long gone, like Daddy, but his progeny live on. My dog Butts is a great-great-grandson of Halsey.

Now people ask, “why’d you name your dog Butts?”, and I say it’s after one of Georgia’s most famous coaches. I endure the look of curiosity for a while, then I reply, “Wally Butts”, which helps some of them. Truth is, you can’t go to a tailgate, or a dog park, or anywhere in Georgia where there may be a congregation of canines and holler, “Dooley” and not be overrun by dogs. “Sanford”, after the stadium, is also becoming a popular name. You’ll never hear anyone hollering “Butts”. I don’t get it, where’s the love?

Wally Butts was Georgia’s most successful coach if you go by national championships, which I think we do. Butts has two, Dooley one and current coach Smart has 0. Coach Butts won the SEC title five times, current coach Kirby Smart has won once. Catch my drift? That’s why you don’t hear any dogs named “Smart”.

Coach Butts’ good name was tarnished back in 1962 in the Saturday Evening Post in an article that was contributed to by Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher. The article blasted Coach Butts for allegedly conspiring with Bear Bryant to fix a game. I remember thinking at the time that if Coach Butts had handed Coach Bryant the Georgia playbook it would not have changed the outcome of the game. We were that bad and they were that good. A libel suit was filed and the damaged parties were compensated, but still, a sad footnote to an illustrious career. I guess that’s why you don’t hear more dogs being named Butts.

Well, I got to get a few hours of sleep before starting my game day ritual. Me and Butts will be over here on the sofa if you need us.