Bud, the Carson City celebrity golden retriever known for "driving" a Model-T pickup, has met a heart-wrenching end as the victim of a hit-and-run truck driver.
Friday night, the 7-year-old canine ran across Airport Road toward a group of children and the scratches and rubs he knew he would receive.
A red pickup, that witnesses said may have been going 50 mph, ended Bud's life and drove on after striking the dog.
"We had just got home from shopping," said the dog's owner Bill Williamson, "and I called him out of the truck and went inside. I thought he was following me."
Just the day before, the speed limit on that stretch of Airport Road had been raised from 25 to 35 miles per hour.
"We call it 'airport speedway,'" said Williamson, expressing concern for the many children and seniors out on the road.
Bud had been the official escort of Santa Claus during the annual Carson City Christmas-tree lighting and the Nevada Day Parade since he was a puppy.
Officially named Bud Weiser, son of Duke, the dog belonged to Williamson since the pooch was 7 weeks old.
An article about Bud appears in the September-October issue of Nevada Magazine.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Williamson was notified by Purina Mills that Bud had won the national pet talent search competition. The local competition, which he won earlier this summer, was organized by S & W Feeds.
Bud would have received $10,000 and 10 years worth of dog food at a Purina award ceremony that was being planned, Williamson said.
Bud is the third dog that Williamson has trained to "drive." Williamson and his other pets appeared on the "Hee Haw" and "Real People" television shows, National Geographic, and other programs and publications. The dogs sat in the driver's seat with their paws on the truck's steering wheel.
"All my life I've had a dog except for two or three years at a time in between," Williamson said. "I loved training them. I just wanted to make them smarter than me."
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