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Adventures of Bill and Surf Dog: Wakulla County stray dog brings community together

Ochlockonee Bay water tower of Surf Dog
Posted at 5:30 AM, Apr 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-10 06:48:17-04

OCHLOCKONEE BAY, Fla. (WTXL) — Everyday at Sunrise, Bill Russell's truck pulls up in front of the gate surrounding Ochlockonee Bay's water tower.

He's carry a bucket and plastic bag as he exits, looking around for something.

Then he calls out, "Buddy! Buddy come here". Not long after, a dog comes out of the corner as if he knew Russell.

"People call him surf dog but I just call him buddy," Russell said.

Surf Dog and Bill Russell

This is Surf Dog. He’s a stray dog that got his name from spending most of his time on Surf Road in Wakulla County.

Bill Russell is Surf Dog’s personal food delivery service.

"We have a weird relationship. I work for him," Russell said. "I started feeding the dog everyday four years ago. He's so mysterious about where he came from and where he goes."

Legend has it, he use to have a family that lived on Surf Road, which is why he spends so much time there.

He may be a stray dog, but more than 3,500 people on Facebook have adopted him.

The Adventure of Bill and SurfDude Facebook Page

The group, the adventures of Bill and Surf Dude is a place you'll find daily updates from Russell.

"It's sort of funny because I'm a retired fireman, but I have a job now. I have to write something about him everyday," Russell said.

Dozens of other fans also post on the page when they see Surf Dog wandering around town.

This page got the attention of Zelle Andrews two years ago.

"You have this stray dog here. He has made it through hurricanes, fireworks, crazy drivers, and he keeps coming back to Wakulla County, so I'm curious as to what keeps pulling him back," Andrews said.

Thinking about his whereabouts has made her imagination run wild, inspiring her new book about Surf Dog.

"It's just a fictional story of his adventures," Andrews said. "The people he encounters, the wildlife he encounters."

Surf Dog has even become a tourist attraction for travelers.

"They are curious about him," Owner of Panacea Treasury Gallery Annette Hoover said.

This is why Hoover started selling Surf Dog merchandise in her store.

The proceeds go to Cauzican Cares, a local animal shelter.

"He's our little hero," Hoover said.

The impact Surf Dog has made is now proudly displayed on the Ochlockonee Bay water tower.

"I love the dog," Russell said. "I look forward to him eating every morning."

Russell said if you're in the area and spot Surf Dog making his rounds, to admire him from a far and not feed him anything.

Bill feeds Surf Dog everyday and gives him monthly medication, so it's important that he's the only one who feeds him.