Who's Wilson? Our icon, muse, and favorite eye-patchy smiler. You see his face everywhere, but you might not know how he came to be the charismatic face of Plenty of Pit Bulls.
We asked Wilson's mom, Julie, to share the story.
One day back in January 2012, as we driving through our neighborhood, we saw a white dog skulking along the side of the road. He had a funny 'swingy' gait (sort of s-shaped, like a snake). We didn't stop as we just assumed he was 'attached' to his owner who was down the road somewhere. Then the next day we saw him again as we were out walking our two dogs - he was way ahead of us, turning a corner. We stopped to chat to a neighbor who said they had also seen the dog as it had camped out in their back yard the night before (they are not dog people, so they didn't go out to see him). So now we knew he was a stray.
Wilson, the night Julie and Craig found him
We finally get him into our back yard by throwing treats ahead of him and keeping hold of that lead. By this time it's 7.30pm on Saturday night. The vet is closed until Monday, ACAS is closed until Tuesday - he is clearly staying the night.
We decided to leave him outside in the yard so we didn't have to deal with him 'meeting' our two dogs. That didn't work. I was so worried he'd get out, I kept popping up every half and hour to see if he was still there - he was, in the same place every time, curled up in the dirt by the back gate. We decided that in the interests of sleep we should get him in the kitchen. Another 30 mins later we finally persuade him inside (my how the tables have turned, these days he will always choose the comfort of the AC over hanging out in the yard).
I can't totally remember the sequence of events from here but we took him to the vet and established he had no microchip, then posted pictures of him all over the place.
So we call ACAS on Tuesday and they come and get him. We watch them put him in the van, a bit teary eyed, and make sure to get his ID number so we can keep track of him over the next few days.
It's now Valentine's Day. As 'luck' would have it, his is 3-day hold is up, he's passed his temperament test but failed his health test (heartworm), which means he's going to be euthanized. Urgh.
Wilson in his Valentine's Day ribbon
My husband is away so I call him to discuss the situation. We agree we cannot let him die.
I send a message to the rescue from whom we had adopted our last dog. No reply, but someone called Anna jumps in and tells me that they have no spare fosters but if we would be willing to foster ourselves, she can arrange for him to be 'pulled' (lots of strange lingo in those early days).
Well. I absolutely did not want a third dog - even temporarily - but I couldn't see any alternative.
So on Wednesday February 14th 2012 I go to ACAS to rescue a dog. He is wild looking, filthy dirty and hyper. I felt like I'd bitten off more than I could chew (not a concern he shared, naturally).
That night, with this strange animal in a crate in the kitchen and my other two dogs sniffing furiously under the kitchen door, I sit down to watch Bridesmaids. I'm at the bit where the maid of honor is on her sofa watching 'Castaway'. Tom Hanks is drifting out to sea on a raft - and he wakes to realize that his only friend, Wilson the football, has come loose from the raft and is bobbing further and further away. 'Wilssssooooooon'.
And so he was named - Wilson - the castaway.
First week was a nightmare....
- Rotating dogs between house and yard, so we could introduce them the slow way (thank god that worked - he LOVES the two girls, though they wouldn't notice if he left tomorrow LOL).
- Trying to walk a wild animal who had clearly never had a lead put on, let alone been taken on a walk (he leapt and bound like a deer, dragging me behind him for a block before I decided enough was enough).
Right away we started doing adoption days (we were more than keen to revert to a two dog household) - only that was even more of a nightmare. He lunged and snarled at the other dogs from the moment he got out of the car at 11am until the moment he was put back in at 5pm. I spent hours standing by his crate, ready with the water spray, but after several such Saturdays we decided this wasn't the best place for him to be - too stressful for all concerned.
And so he became a social media dog.
He got lots of fans and lots of likes on his posts - but for some reason an entire year went by and nobody filled out an adoption form (I have come to believe he was writing spells during this time to conjure up a foster failure).
Then Anna got a spot at Petco for adoption events and we decided to try him again because he'd been doing so well at the Sunday training classes (courtesy of his amazing advocate, Kristy Schmidt). It took one weekend of being in Petco -- with Wilson being an angel in his crate and giving me the big eyes, as if to say "Mum - are we really having to do all this all over again?" -- for us to decide we'd rather spend our Saturdays hanging out with him on the patio than hanging out with him in Petco.
And so it came to pass that Wilson was officially adopted on April 1st 2014 - and is now living happily ever after in an air conditioned house in the Duckpond with his two sisters - what one might call a successful foster failure conjuring.
Happy Days from here on in
And fame to boot.
- Julie Knox