Cecil’s story was one that we hear way too often. The couple that owned him were both very career driven People, and once two human children came along, they found that they no longer had much time for the family dog. So at age 8, Cecil suddenly found himself homeless and was surrendered to rescue.

Around the time that Cecil was waiting to be admitted to the WIN rescue program, Gwen Arthur received a phone call from a woman in North Dakota who had euthanized her elderly Wheaten, and shortly thereafter lost her husband to cancer. She was anxious to have some canine companionship again and Gwen thought that an older dog might be a good match for her. Cecil immediately came to mind.

I agreed to foster Cecil and to contact Linda in North Dakota to see if she was interested in adopting him. Without hesitation, she jumped at the chance to have a Wheaten in her life again.

Cecil’s situation was slightly unusual in that we knew where he would be placed before he entered into foster care. His surrendering owners had said that he was a quiet, mellow dog and we felt that his sojourn as a WIN dog would be a brief one. He still had to be fostered for at least two weeks so I could evaluate his temperament first hand, and to allow time to organize a WURL from New Jersey to North Dakota.

When Cecil came to my home, he was trembling with fear. He explored the house a little bit and quickly discovered that the bed in my spare bedroom was a comfortable place to nap. He would come over to me and request an occasional hug, but for the most part just wanted to be left alone. Within a few days, however, the requests for hugs became more frequent. Eventually the requests became demands, and before I knew it, he was sitting in my lap while I watched TV in the evenings. He even began to play with my dogs; 15-month-old Rory was determined to play with this newcomer and was not taking no for an answer. It was truly heartwarming to watch Cecil come out of his shell and rediscover life’s many pleasures.

I didn’t waste any time in organizing the WURL. Linda was anxious to adopt Cecil and we all wanted to get him to her before any inclement weather hit the Midwest. WIN had never undertaken such a long WURL (nearly 1,600 miles in total), but the Blue Boy WURL of August 2001 had been done between Calverton, New York and Cold Spring, Minnesota. We were able to use much of the same route and many of the same participants for Cecil’s WURL.

It took two weekends to complete the WURL. The first weekend got him as far as Oak Park, Illinois, where he spent five more days in foster care with Mary Summerfield and her family, before continuing on to Cold Spring, Minnesota the following weekend. Cold Spring was the home of Lois Wolf, who had adopted Blue. Cecil spent a night at her house, which served as the meeting place for Cecil and his new mom Linda, who drove from Leonard, North Dakota to Cold Spring to bring her new companion to his forever home.

It was love at first sight when Linda and Cecil were finally brought together. There was not a dry eye to be found when Lois recounted to the rest of the WIN volunteers how this quiet, reserved Wheaten approached his new guardian and offered her his paw, and then proceeded to bestow upon her some sloppy Wheaten kisses. It was immediately obvious that each was going to fill a void in the other’s life. We all wish Linda and Cecil many years of happiness together.

Rob Horgan
Cherry Hill, New Jersey