Willy came to our house to live, in May of 2011. I had seen his picture in an ad on our internal web-site at work. He was a scrawny little terrier-type dog — with very sad eyes. The ad said that he was in need of a new home. I hit Reply!
I was put in contact with the dog’s owner, a young girl (twenty something), who had gotten a puppy she could no longer keep. She told me he was nine months old and that friends of hers were looking after him while she looked for a new home. She wanted to interview potential new families and then decide who would get him.
I appreciated that she wanted to find the best home for her pet — but I didn’t feel that big an attachment to the photo of her dog and we weren’t interested in entering into a competition. I wished her well but said we were no longer interested.
Our two old dogs had gone to cancer a few years before and we had been dog-sitting periodically to fill the void – but we knew that we needed another dog to join our family – and one that needed to be rescued, just felt right.
The following Sunday morning the girl called again. This time she was desperate – the friends who had been looking after the dog had dumped him at the pound without even telling her or letting her know there was a problem.
She said this was his third time at the pound and he was now classed as incorrigible. If someone didn’t take him today he was going to be put down. She had nowhere to keep him and asked if I still wanted him. I knew that she was trying hard not to cry.
Three strikes? I had never even heard of that for dogs. I told Kerry and he just grabbed the truck keys and said, “let’s go”.
When we met her in the parking lot at the pound, we told her we were not committing to keeping him at this point – but we would save him — and make sure he went to a good home. And we assured her that he would not end up back there again. She said that was good enough – but that she would find the good home — and then she went in to spring her dog!
She showed up about 20 minutes later with a copper-coloured bundle of energy in her arms. She and the dog sat on a bench on the other side of the parking lot with her back us – while she said goodbye.
He was amazing – just full of energy – like a trout on the end of a line – twisting and turning and jumping and kissing. Kissing her face – and her ears – and her mouth. He never stopped moving and wriggling and kissing. It went on for a long time.
When he settled down a bit – she brought him over to our truck. I felt so sad for her. She said his name was Bear and that he was nine months old. He obviously loved her a lot.
We drove her to the C-train and the kisses continued for the whole drive. She told us she would look for a new home right away. She thanked us and then she walked away. She never looked back. She didn’t even know where we lived.
I felt so sad.
The poor little guy didn’t even have a collar so we stopped and bought him one on the way home. It was the nicest one I could find – copper coloured – just like his fur. The leather was rolled and top stitched. I thought that wherever he went next, at least he would be well dressed.
It was still early when we got home. We fed him some kibbles and I took pictures of him with my phone.
He looked sad … he seemed to be trying to tell me something … just some sad story. Or maybe he was asking why we didn’t want to keep him?
He did not respond to the name Bear … not at all … not even a flicker.
Then the girl called again to say she had already found him a new home. I took down the contact information and told Kerry someone wanted the dog – a woman who had a dog that needed company in its old age.
I told him I couldn’t make the call because I was pretty sure that I would cry. So, he took the number and went to do the deed.
He came back a few minutes later and said … “I am not giving that dog to her … we are keeping him.”
Now I really thought I might cry — but from relief this time.
Kerry is the one who looks after our dogs. He walks them three times a day and trains them to go off-leash and takes them with him everywhere. He works from home — so he and the dogs are constant companions. I had not wanted to saddle him with a dog that I had chosen, but I was so happy to hear that he couldn’t part with him either.
Kerry said he was worried that the little guy wouldn’t get enough exercise and that such an energetic puppy wasn’t a good choice as companion for an old dog — and that we should just keep him – because he was exactly the dog we were looking for. I agreed.
We took him to the off-leash puppy park and he just went crazy. He ran around like mad and visited all the other dogs … and peed on everything … and he just wore himself out …. then he came home with us and crashed to sleep … just like a little kid. And he was never a problem. He just wanted to run. So we made sure he got plenty of time to run every day.
We called him Willy. I think he is the dog we have ever owned and we have had a bunch of great dogs … that we loved like crazy!! But Willy has his own special aura and everyone who meets him just loves him.
And he changed before our eyes. When we got him he was a short-haired terrier type and then he turned into a dog that grew hair everywhere … on top of his head … behind his ears …on the top of his paws … down the outside of his hind legs … everywhere.
He now looks like a miniature golden retriever. But he is just a mutt. A mutt that might have met a bad end if that young girl hadn’t made sure that her puppy found a good home.
When he first came to live with us he was scared of young men, I don’t like to think why. But our son Max and his friends all spoiled Willy with chewy toys and games of fetch and catch and now he goes crazy when Max comes to visit – like his big brother has come home. But Willy still runs and hides – in a closet -or behind a couch if there is any loud noise in the house. And he still has bad dreams.
We never heard from the young girl again. And now Willy greets me with a thousand kisses. He has so much love to give.
We are so happy we got that call that Sunday morning and that Willy became part of our family so he could join us to go looking for Dogs Behind Fences!
Did I mention that this all happened on Mother’s Day?