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Willis, The Clumber Spaniel, Reunited With Owner After One Year

Willis, a 7-year-old Clumber spaniel, strayed from his home in Portsmouth, Va., just before Christmas last year and wound up in an animal shelter in Maryland. He's now back with his owner, Karen Martin, who now lives in Williamsburg. (Jay Paul)

From The Washington Post

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 – reporting Willis stolen, posting “lost dog” fliers throughout the neighborhood, visiting shelters, contacting animal rescue organizations. She had all but given up hope of seeing him again.

To read the rest, click here.

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