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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Willis Has Come Home!

As regular readers here know, Mr. AOW and I have cats. But we love dogs too!

On Christmas Day, the Washington Post ran this story of Willis, the Clumber Spaniel who made it home for Christmas.

If you enjoy reading stories with happy endings, this story is for you.

Read an excerpt in the continuation of this post:
A lost dog is finally home for Christmas: Coincidence, luck or something more?

Willis, the long-lost Clumber spaniel, was in just about the worst pickle a dog could be in: Lost, hundreds of miles from home, he had been put on the equivalent of death row at the Tri County Animal Shelter in Hughesville, Md.

Picked up by animal control officers in Charles County on Nov. 20, he was taken to the shelter, where unclaimed strays are euthanized. Shelter workers scanned Willis for an identification chip, but the one that had been implanted beneath his skin was not detected. So, a photograph of the haggard 7-year-old was put on the facility's "at-risk" list, which means a lethal injection could be imminent.

What happened next to Willis might strike some as just a series of improbable coincidences, or merely another example of the power of the Internet. Karen Martin thinks it was much more.

"The perfect timing, having so many people in the right place at the right time, people willing to go all out to help a stranger and her dog, is beyond comprehension," Martin told me. "It's nothing short of a miracle, as far as I'm concerned."

Willis was her dog. Four days before Christmas last year, the pooch went missing from her back yard in Portsmouth, Va., turning her holiday into a nightmare. She spent nearly a year intensely searching - posting "lost dog" fliers throughout the neighborhood, visiting shelters, contacting animal rescue organizations. She had all but given up hope of seeing him again.

Willis, meanwhile, had gotten himself to the Washington area. No one knows how or when he arrived. But once he was picked up and taken to the shelter, he quickly made a friend. Amy Howard, the animal rescue coordinator at Tri County, had placed Willis on the at-risk list - not to hasten his destruction but in hopes that someone might see his photo and be willing to adopt him and provide him with what she called a "forever home."


Somehow, Willis had journeyed more than 200 miles from home, and the time away had taken its toll. He had a fever, an injured eye, a respiratory infection and a skin allergy that made him itch so badly that he had scratched and chewed off patches of hair from his shoulders to his tail.

After several visits to a veterinarian, however, he's on the mend.

Martin, who now lives in Williamsburg, says she expects this Christmas to be as joyful as last year's was sad....
Read the entire story HERE.

So many times, a lost pet doesn't make its way home. I've endured that sorrow several times. The heartache of such a loss,particularly a loss without closure, is indeed bitter. Therefore, when one of our four-legged friends does come home after such a long absence, the human heart leaps for joy. Our sense of optimism is renewed once again!

With all that's wrong with the world, let us rejoice when a story of what's right with the world comes along. Such stories come along all too rarely.


  1. That's such a WONDERFUL story AOW! Thanks. I'm a huge dog lover, and I tend to give them our emotions. It breaks my heart that so many get lost and euthanized. We have a Puerto Rican wild dog (long story) and a Winn Dixie parking lot dog in our family.

  2. Thanks so much for a nice story on an otherwise "still snowed in" day!

  3. Nice to hear a good story.

  4. What a great story!

    Just this year, we lost a dear cat, Jack, to a bolt out the door. He came back, but backed out of his collar when I grabbed him and that was the last we've seen of him. He is chipped, so he's never made it to a shelter; I hope wherever he did wind up was good for him, the little sweetie.

    He deserves as much.

  5. I once had a beagle that disappeared when I was fourteen. Despite our best efforts to locate him, we never knew what had become of him. It is good that some pets do find their way back home.

  6. I do get weary from posting doom and gloom all the time. **sigh**

    Anyway, this is one of the best dog-comes-home stories I've seen in a while.

  7. I've never lost a dog. Unfortunately, all of our "lost" dogs when I was growing up were found dead in the road. Beagles don't see a car coming when they're in hot pursuit of prey. **sigh**

    Of all the many cats I've had in my lifetime, only one disappeared never to be found: Julius Augustus Caesar. We lived out in the country then, and I suppose that a fox or other predator got him. I remember searching for months upon months for Caesar. We never found even a trace of him.

  8. Wait! I did lose a dog once. He was a miniature collie named Smoky. He loved children. The last I saw of Smoky, he was up on the hill behind our house and frolicking with the children flying their kites. I think that Smoky must have gone home with those children. I hope so, anyway, because he'd have been happier with a house full of children as opposed to being on our farmette with no children but me for company.

  9. What a lovely story. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  10. A beautiful, heartwarming story, AOW-- thanks for that.

  11. I love dogs! They are furry angels who are sent among us. That's my theological theory and I'm sticking to it! :)

  12. Oh I love stories about doggies. I've tried to stay away from some of the negative stuff during the holidays and I love a happy ending.

    Right Truth

  13. Thank you, AOW, for this story-share.

    Although I no longer have cats or dogs, I do know their value as great companions to all of us.

    (Actually, I would love to have a little dog to watch over, who would help me get out and about several times a day, but my building has been owned by Moslems--who of course, will bristle at a dog even entering this building!).

    The Creator gave us many opportunities to show how good we can become, true?

    One of those traits is treating animals as one of our own. I truly wonder about the relationship between Bo, the White House dog, and his owner, the photo-op seeker, who brings the poor dog out only for pictures.

    I truly believe this animal is being abused by the First Family, who have seemingly placed his care in members of the White House staff.


    But...a very sincere wish to you and Mr. AOW for a wonderful New Year!


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