VERNON - He has a few cuts and his paws are in rough shape, but Willis the dog has made it back home after leading his owner on a wild goose chase throughout Vernon for the past three days.
Willis, a ten-month-old brindle pitbull, was found today, Dec. 29 after escaping from a yard on Boxing Day.
His worried-sick owner, Robynn Ferroux, got a call this morning that someone found a dog matching Willis’ description.
“I just raced over here, and it’s him,” Ferroux says, choking back tears.
Willis bolted from Ferroux’s parents yard in the area of 25 Street and 39 Avenue, near Bean to Cup, around 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 26.
Photos and a description of the missing pup were shared on various Facebook pages, including the Vernon Community Forum, where people began posting sightings of Willis in his red harness. Based on the tips, Ferroux tracked Willis across the city.
“He first left by Bean to Cup, then was spotted at Hillview Golf Course, then Middleton Mountain through to the college... Then he crossed the highway and was by the army camp for a while,” Ferroux says.
Already a timid dog, Willis was clearly distressed by the ordeal and no one could get close enough to grab him.
Willis was later seen running along Highway 97 towards Kelowna, and then by Fulton School, before heading out to Coldstream.
This morning, resident Marie Lawrence was walking her dog when Willis approached and followed them to the Coldstream dog park.
“Being a dog lover, I brought him home with me. He came right in with no hesitation,” Lawrence says.
She gave him some food and phoned the local radio station. It didn’t take long before Ferroux was on her way.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how many people helped us. I am so overwhelmed by the kindness,” Ferroux says.
One Facebook post has more than 400 comments on it, with numerous people posting sightings and complete strangers volunteering to search their neighbourhoods.
“It’s amazing,” Ferroux says.
Her first order of business is to get Willis checked over by the vet.
“His paws are in rough shape and he’s got a couple cuts,” Ferroux says.
She says it’s remarkable that he survived three nights in an unfamiliar place in freezing weather — especially since he prefers the couch to the cold.
“He’s a giant baby and doesn’t even want to go outside in the rain,” Ferroux says. “He doesn’t enjoy the cold or the elements.”
After his big adventure, Willis will be kept on a tight leash for awhile.
“He’s not leaving my sight,” Ferroux says.
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