LI Woman Penning Book On Lost Dog's 4th Of July Fireworks Journey

PATCHOGUE, NY — Like many small dogs, 10-year-old Prince Butler dislikes loud noises.

Over the years, he developed a pattern of running to his owners for swaddling in a blanket. It seemed to be the only way to calm him down.

And despite being owned by relations of the world-famous Grucci fireworks family, Prince has never been a fan of the displays, so his owners keep him away from shows.

Find out what's happening in Patchoguewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

But they haven’t been able to control illegal fireworks, and when the summer season rolls around with neighbors setting them off left and right, the Butlers have had their hands fit to be tied.

This past July, Prince bolted from their Patchogue yard, having been sparked by the less-than-symphonic sounds of illegal displays resonating throughout the neighborhood. He was on his own for three days before he was reunited with them just before the big day itself — the Fourth of July — after someone found him hunkered down in a boat.

Find out what's happening in Patchoguewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

It’s a tale that Danielle Butler is now penning into a children’s book with the working title of “A Sailor’s Saga, Memoir of Prince Butler.”

The long-haired, white chihuahua had been let outside to relieve himself in the family’s secured yard just before 9 p.m. on July 1, but he was scared off by the sound of fireworks, Danielle Butler told Patch.

“He is very afraid of loud noises, and he shot out of our yard,” she said.

Neighbors chased him, trying to get him back through Davis Park or the Sandpit Marina, and then up Beach Lane, down Patchogue Avenue, and finally back by the family’s nearby house, but they couldn’t get the terrified little guy.

The good Samaritans watched for about 15 minutes, and he seemed like he was trying to get to his house, but their efforts were in vain.

He was also seen jumping in the bay and then swimming across to Sandspit Marina, where he got out of the water and was running around the parking lot, not to mention back at the house trying to get inside the yard at one point.

Butler said that despite Prince’s small stature, she was not worried at the time that he might have fallen into the bay or met with some other nefarious means because he’s lightning fast.

“No, he’s pretty resilient,” she said, adding that she was worried “that maybe because he’s such a sweetheart of a dog,” somebody would find him “and just keep him and just not try to get him back to us.”

Butler admitted it was highly ironic that her family’s dog went missing under the circumstances.

Her family owns Grucci fireworks, and her mother, Donna Grucci Butler, is the former president of the company before selling it to her cousin, Felix Grucci.

The family performs synchronized shows all over the world, from grand openings to window reveals and New Year’s Eve, even presidential inaugurations. But the summer season has always been stressful for Prince. He’s afraid of loud noises, including thunder and mufflers on cars.

So adding fireworks can sometimes be too much for him.

“My mother is deathly afraid of fireworks, which is ironic considering that she was the president of the firework company,” Butler said. “To this day, she hates them.”

But illegal fireworks are hard to get away from over the summer, as they are bought out-of-state and then set off in neighborhoods, particularly around the Fourth of July. Despite public service announcements by the family as well as law enforcement, they proliferate the south shore area, according to Butler.

“Let me tell you, here we live right in Patchogue, and they’re all around us,” she said. “People are shooting fireworks.”

Donna has been battling ovarian cancer for the last four years and Prince has served as a very intuitive service dog, who keeps her nausea and other medication side effects in check, according to Butler.

Amid all the family’s stress, they were contacted by scammers looking to profit from Prince’s disappearance, Butler said.

One person told the family that they had Prince but wanted money in return, then another person told them that a neighbor had him and wanted money for more information, she added.

Click Here:

Prince was finally found July 3 by a friend visiting a neighbor.

The dog had hundreds of people looking for him after the Butler family blasted his photo all over social media.

The friend was coming back on a paddle boat on the Patchogue River, when they saw him inside a dilapidated boat near Harbor Crab and they realized there was a resemblance to the dog on the flyer.

“What he must have done was run from our house and then kept running,” she said. “He ran down Patchogue Avenue and west through the boatyard on Campbell Street. And there was a boat at the end of that street and he jumped on that boat, and it must have been where he hunkered down for three days.”

He was found “all huddled” in the cabin of the boat before being scooped up to safety.

He was in good health, though he did lose 1 lb., probably from not eating.

Butler imagines Prince got into the boat to hunker down because he is used to it from boating with her.

“I guess he thought that was a safe place for him,” she said.

In her book, Danielle will chronicle Prince’s journey from his home, through the community, and back home to his family. In the story, which will be from the dog’s perspective, she plans to touch on the subject of illegal fireworks and the damage they can do. In one scene, she plans to introduce Prince to a military veteran, who is suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, and is also scared of the fireworks.

The situation surrounding Prince’s journey is “highly ironic,” considering what her family does for a living, Butler said.

“I think a lot of people found a lot of irony in that in our message out there is don’t buy and do illegal fireworks,” she said. “Leave that up to the professionals who schedule them.”

The shows are held in public venues that do not require safeguarding animals.

“Versus John Smith next door who goes and buys a bunch of illegal fireworks and just starts rolling them out,” she said.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

Leave a Reply