WURLing Weekend

Oak Park, IL to Millington, NJ and Morristown, NJ to Crystal, MN January 13 – 15, 2006

What happens when two young Wheaten boys need to get to their foster and forever homes far, far from where they are located? Wheatens In Need volunteers and other friends of Wheatens get in their cars, open their homes and get the job done!

Wheaten boy #1, nine month old Burney, was at home in Glen Ellyn, IL. He was running the house and his family, expecting their first child, was unable to manage him. I visited Burney at 7 months and agreed that he needed a good bit of remedial training. Unfortunately, I had a foster much like Burney and was unable to take him on. Since no other foster homes were available in the Midwest, Mike Marzo in NJ agreed to take him after the first of the year.

Wheaten boy #2 had endured a hellish life in his two short years in NJ. Left outside most of his life with no training or socialization, he was abandoned in the backyard when the family moved out of state two weeks before Christmas. Concerned neighbors called the police, however, Sammy, as he was known, had gotten out of the yard before he could be rescued. After being on his own for approximately ten days, he was picked up by a good Samaritan and taken to a local shelter.

Jean Kuhn, a volunteer at the shelter and WIN foster mom grabbed him as soon as he was neutered and ready to go. She knew just who needed this needy little boy; Pam Allen, another WIN volunteer had just lost her Seamus to illness. Only one problem – Pam lived in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN.

Burney’s WURL was set up for the weekend of January 14/15, weather permitting. His original family surrendered him to Mary Summerfield in Oak Park, IL early Saturday morning, then Mary and her husband, Michael O’Neal drove to South Bend, IN to meet Cynthia Fett from Sheltie Rescue who delivered Burney to Ann Crowel in Toledo, OH. Ann, who had to race back from a meeting at the Motor City Wheaten Club in Detroit to pick up Burney, drove him on to Parma, OH to Rob Salmon. Burney overnighted with Rob and his family. Early Sunday morning Rob drove him to the Pittsburgh area to meet Ellen & Marty Klinzing who had volunteered to come from their home in the eastern area for the weekend in order to transport Burney to the PA/NJ border where Mike Marzo picked him up and took him home into foster.

About four days before Burney’s WURL was to begin, Jean started organizing Sammy’s (renamed Declan) WURL. Several folks from the Burney WURL doubled up and drove segment for Declan too and soon his itinerary was complete! On Friday the 13th, Jean drove Declan from Morristown, NJ to eastern PA to hook up with Ellen and Marty and their two Wheatens. They all set out for Pittsburgh, overnighted at a local motel, then left early Saturday morning to drive Declan to meet Patty Kelly in Streetsboro, OH. After a scenic tour of Ohio, courtesy of a wrong turn on the interstate, they returned to the motel in Pittsburgh to await Burney’s arrival Sunday morning. Patty drove Declan all the way to eastern IN to hook up with Mary and Michael who had previously handed off Burney in South Bend. They took Declan back to Chicago to spend the night at their home with their Wheaten and husky.

Early Sunday morning Dee Robbins and Tina Thomas picked up Declan from Mary drove him to Madison, WI where he was handed off to Karen Nelson. Karen had the pleasure of driving him to the Wisconsin Dells where Declan was introduced to his new mom, Pam and Lynda Kochevar for the final leg of his journey to Crystal MN.

Both dogs traveled well and arrived at their final destinations within a couple of hours of one another early Sunday evening. Even the weather gods smiled down as both WURLs – 2153 miles of WURL – went off without a hitch! It was quite a start to 2006.

Tina Thomas

Note: Check Wheaten Success Stories for the rest of Declan’s story. We anticipate Burney’s story will appear in due course as well.