Some time back we showcased a story about Maggie, a Golden gal remembered at DIRKS FUND Golden Retriever Rescue. Well, today I learned about another incredible story at their site, about Willy.
Willy and his family reunited today, January 26 at 3:30 p.m. at Kennelwood on Mason Lane in Ballwin, Missouri. It was a long time coming. Welcome home!
The miracle of Kindness to the least of all creatures has a way of coming round full circle to touch many hearts and teach lessons of compassion. This is the story of an elderly Golden Retriever, Willy: loved, lost, reclaimed to love but lost again, rescued once more when he thought, perhaps that his luck had finally run dry, and finally, miraculously found again—truly found again.
You see, Willy has had many adventures in his life. He was first loved by a family who called him Cujo. His family was moving homes in St. Louis when, by accident, a gate was left open. Willy (formerly Cujo) and his companion dog were lost. While signs, and calls, and a network of friends were able to return the companion dog, Willy was never found. The heart broken young daughter (Kayla) who loved him so, promised never to forget him and every year, set out a Christmas stocking for him—never giving up hope that one day love would bring him home.
Well, six years came and went. Willy’s life went on. Somehow he found himself in the home of an elderly woman in Columbia (over 2 hours from his home in Saint Louis). When the elderly woman became ill she was taken to a nursing home. Willy was found alone in her home but(having lost yet another companion), he was carted off to the Humane Society—left to what would have been likely euthanasia for this gentlemanly old dog. This ignoble sentence was just not meant to be, as he was once again found but this time by the Saint Louis Golden Retriever rescue group: Dirk’s fund.
Poor Willy, having grown mostly deaf through many ear infections, with only matted fur and a broken toe to show for his years, didn’t have much to win him favors but Dirk’s Fund has long seen the value of love given to old dogs and then returned in kind. So, Willy was to find good veterinary care, caring foster home and anonymous internet fame in a posting on the site: Dirksfund.com.
You might guess—the rest they say is history. Perhaps karma, perhaps just the enduring wish of a little girl and a lonely Christmas stocking, perhaps just miracle of kindness coming round again, Willy made the long journey home, but not before sharing his love where he could and finally, coming home to Kayla and her family. Who can say how Kayla and her family found the website, how Willy made it to Columbia and how the Saint Louis based rescue society found him there, saw a dog worth saving only to bring him back to St. Louis and eventually home again. There are many words for this but best of all is love.
Here is a news article about this incredible tale:
A tail-wagging happy ending
By Kim Bell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS COUNTY — The Barczewski family gathered around the aging golden retriever Friday, eyed him up and down and had no doubts. Sure, he was skinnier and graying a bit, not the spry 7-year-old “Cujo.” Cujo sneaked out of their ungated south St. Louis backyard in 2000 and disappeared.
But the telltale signs were unmistakable: white hair in the shape of a heart on his forehead. White hair on his toes, and that special way he used to greet people by rubbing up against them like a cat might do. “It’s a miracle,” said Noreen Barczewski, 41. “We found him!”
Cujo, known more recently as “Willy,” was reunited with his family in a homecoming orchestrated by Dirk’s Fund, an area rescue group. The dog somehow ended up in Columbia, Mo., 120 miles to the west in the home of an elderly woman. When the woman was sent to a nursing home, the dog was sent to the Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia.
Bob Tillay, president of Dirk’s Fund here, spotted the dog on an adoption website and arranged to have Willy brought to St. Louis. Tillay’s nonprofit has found homes for more than 900 dogs in the last decade, and Tillay couldn’t pass up this one. The website cooed: “Sweet old man! He knows how to sit and shake.”
The dog’s ears were so infected he couldn’t hear. His coat was so matted he had to be shaved. And Dirk’s Fund paid to have some cysts removed. The group put his picture on the adoption section of Dirk’s Fund website last July, then took him to a nursing home in Clayton to serve as a pet of the residents. But Tillay took the dog back after a few weeks because the the dog would only urinate off leash, and the nursing home had no fenced yard. The dog’s picture went back up on the website.
A week ago, Noreen Barczewski’s brother-in-law, Michael Barczewski, went to the website on a fluke. He’d been looking for a dog to adopt and saw the picture of the old dog with the white heart mark and white feet. Michael and his wife, Gail, had been the original breeders of Cujo. He recognized the dog immediately.