Web Extra!

Butch was just a pup when he disappeared from the backyard of the Simmons home in the 300 block of East Quincy Street in Riverside over three years ago. Tied to a stake in the yard, the little Rottweiler was enjoying the company of Malibu a fully grown Siberian husky.

The fence wasn’t complete, but Kerry Simmons said there was no way the puppy just walked away. She’s convinced he was taken.

Now Butch – all 85 pounds of him – is back home a day after the Kerry and her husband, Matt, got a call from the Lake County, Indiana, Sheriff’s Police animal shelter in Crown Point.

“Matt picked up the phone and someone asked him if he had a dog named Butch,” said Kerry, who overheard the conversation on Monday morning.

Police discovered the microchip the Simmones had implanted under Butch’s skin.

“I drove down there to pick him up,” said Kerry Simmons.

“They were ecstatic,” said April Godra, community liaison for the Lake County Animal Adoption Center. “They never thought they’d find him again.”

According to Godra, Butch was found in unincorporated Calumet Township, near Gary, on someone’s front porch at 7:30 a.m. on Monday.

“We got a call that there was a large dog sitting on the porch, and they were afraid because the kids had to go to school,” Godra said.

They didn’t need to fear. A sheriff’s officer coaxed Butch into a fenced backyard and fed him treats until the director of the Animal Adoption Center arrived. Butch appeared to have been well cared for, Godra said.

While no one knows for sure how Butch ended up in northwest Indiana, Godra said that Rottweilers are sometimes taken from yards and used as bait dogs in fighting rings or as fighting dogs. Butch does not appear to have suffered that fate, however.

“Or, since a full-blooded rottweiler is an expensive animal, sometimes they’re taken to be guard dogs,” Godra said.

That was partly the reason the Simmonses, who have three children, got the baby rottweiler over three years ago.

“I’m on the road a lot, and I’ve had Rottweilers all my life,” said Matt Simmons. “They’re very loyal and protective.”

The family owned another Rottweiler for a short period of time after Butch went missing, but it didn’t last. Matt wanted to get another one, but Kerry nixed the idea.

“I guess it was your lucky day yesterday,” said Kerry to her husband Tuesday afternoon outside their Riverside home.

Mattia, the Simmonses’ 11-year-old son, said he remembered Butch as “just a little puppy when we first brought him home. He was very cute.”

When Mattia got out of school Monday afternoon, Kerry was waiting outside with that pup, now fully grown.

“Mattia saw us from way off and started running to the car, yelling, ‘Butchie!'”