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Published: Monday, 5/3/2010

'BlockHead' adopted by former police chief


An Olde English Bulldog who was turned in last month to the Lucas County Dog Warden has found a new home in Oregon thanks to publicity generated by a naming controversy.

The jowly white bulldog with brown spots was one of three dogs at the pound who were creatively named by Pound Manager Bonnie Mitchell. She called him "BlockHead" for John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, although the name was changed once her superiors found out.

Mr. Block took no offense and said he hoped the situation could help the homeless dogs find new owners. Ms. Mitchell named the other two dogs - lab mix siblings - for a Blade reporter and Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop.

Olde English Bulldog adopted by former Oregon Police Chief

The following morning, April 22, former Oregon Police Chief Tom Gulch opened his Blade to the story and photo of BlockHead. His wife, Vicki Gulch, recalled how he turned to her and remarked, "Look at that face. Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?"

The Gulches had been without a dog since they had to put down their French sheepdog and bi-chon frise because of illness and old age.

So Mr. Gulch wrote down BlockHead's cage number before going in to work as a manager at the Lucas County Sheriff's Office. Shortly afterward Mrs. Gulch drove to the pound on South Erie Street near downtown Toledo to adopt the bulldog, arriving minutes before the office opened at 9 a.m.

But excitement turned to disappointment when Mrs. Gulch discovered that someone was ahead of her in line for BlockHead.

Vicki and Tom Gulch speculate that Winston formerly belonged to a truck driver because he loves to ride in vehicles. They decided to adopt him after seeing his picture in The Blade. Vicki and Tom Gulch speculate that Winston formerly belonged to a truck driver because he loves to ride in vehicles. They decided to adopt him after seeing his picture in The Blade.
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Though she had called the office first to inquire about the dog, a Toledo man was at the door before she was. Mrs. Gulch said she was very grateful when the man allowed her to take BlockHead after hearing how much it meant to her.

On meeting BlockHead, Mrs. Gulch was immediately impressed by his friendliness and mild manner. Yet she was also taken aback by his physical strength.

"The first time they gave me his leash he dragged me clear across the room," she recalled.

Mr. Gulch picked up BlockHead on April 23 to take him home. Although young English Bulldogs can go for more than $1,000 in private adoptions, Mr. Gulch paid just $75 in standard fees, which included neutering.

Next stop was the Gulches' veterinarian, who gave their new 68-pound bulldog a clean bill of health and estimated his age at three years.

Then came time to give their new dog a name. The Gulches settled on "Winston," for renowned British statesman Winston Churchill.

"I thought of things that are English, as he is an English bulldog, and one of the most outstanding personalities in English history was Winston Churchill, so it just seemed to apply," Mr. Gulch said.

The Gulches have now had Winston for a little more than a week and report that he loves playing on their 10-acre property in Oregon and has proved the most loving and obedient dog they've had. Nevertheless, he is rather stubborn.

"He's an extraordinary dog but he's a bullheaded dog - he's very stubborn and you need to show him who's boss," Mr. Gulch said.

The Gulches are curious to know why Winston's former owner gave up such a wonderful dog. Dog warden records show he was turned in April 12 after someone found him near Bennett Road and Waggoner Boulevard in West Toledo.

Mr. Gulch speculates that he may have belonged to a truck driver because he loves to ride in vehicles and will sometimes refuse to get out. Mrs. Gulch agrees.

"Today was a two-hour car ride and he still wasn't happy," she said, laughing.

Mr. Block said he's happy to learn how quickly "BlockHead" was adopted. He noted how he nearly named his own basset hound "Winston" before learning that it would be a female. So instead he named her "Clementine" for Clementine Churchill, Mr. Churchill's wife.

"They absolutely got a top-notch dog," Mr. Block said. "I'm thrilled that he's in a wonderful home with a wonderful family, and I'm sure that he'll be a wonderful companion for a long time."

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com or


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