Add to that his ample girth, thick, squatty legs and an underbite that leaves a couple of his bottom teeth sticking out over his upper lip, and Brutus can only be described as somewhat homely. And at maybe two feet tall, he weighs a solid 75 pounds.
But Brutus is loved by almost everyone who meets him, children and adults alike, and he has scores of fans on Facebook.
Brutus is, after all, a full-grown English bulldog and the official mascot of Beeville’s Animal Shelter on Cook Road.
“I’ve got people coming over here just to see him. They bring him gifts,” said Animal Control Officer Lupe Valdez.
Brutus also has lots of friends at City Hall, the Beeville Police Department and municipal court.
He is one lucky pup, Valdez said. “He’s become the face of the Beeville Animal Shelter.”
“I’ve had him since he was a puppy,” Valdez said last week as Brutus chased his little blue squeaky toy around the floor of the shelter office.
“I actually got him from Iowa. I always wanted an English bulldog.”
Brutus has been Valdez’s best buddy for almost a year now. “He’ll be a year old next month,” the animal control officer said.
“I feel blessed to be able to bring him to work with me.” But then, why would a dog not fit right in at an operation that specializes in finding good homes for animals?
“Adoptions have increased,” Valdez said of the operation he’s been running for about a year now. He started at the shelter about three years ago when George Keilmann was in charge. He was promoted to senior animal control officer when Keilmann left to become a ranch manager.
“I hold them longer than they did in the past,” Valdez said of the dogs and cats at the shelter. “The city manager (Deborah Ballí) gave me permission to hold them longer.”
In fact, Ballí is not only an animal lover. She’s one of Brutus’ biggest fans.
Valdez also releases dogs and cats to other shelter operations in an effort to place more animals in homes. He also accepts animals from those shelters when they need help in finding a home for a pet.
The officer also tries to hold at least one adoption clinic a month at the shelter. Those events bring out many folks looking for a companion or guard dog.
Those visitors often get to know Brutus, and that is where many of his fans got to know the frisky fellow.
Valdez said one of the best steps he has taken since taking charge of the shelter has been to launch the City of Beeville Animal Shelter site on Facebook. The site has lots of friends.
That one social network endeavor has made pet lovers from all over South Texas aware of the facility.
These days, Valdez said the shelter is the focus of folks looking to do volunteer work and to help out the shelter.
A recent food drive at the Walmart Supercenter brought in more than $1,800 in cash donations and more than a 1,000 pounds of pet food between 8 a.m. and noon.
Brutus was there, of course. And he made a lot of new friends.
Valdez welcomes visitors to stop in at the shelter or check out the Facebook page to learn more about the operation.
There are many really good opportunities for residents to find a perfect companion.
Valdez and Brutus would be the first to try to convince folks that a dog or cat really is man’s best friend.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.