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?Read the entire story HERE.
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....
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.