On Oct. 28, we lost an important and loving member of our family, our dog Mr. Wilson. He was hit by a car in Chatham Borough and died almost immediately.
Since many people, including residents, business owners and police departments in surrounding towns knew Wilson, we wanted to extend our condolences and thanks to you all for being an important part of our lives.
About a week before Christmas in 2007, I innocently stopped by Petco to get some guinea pig food, not realizing that the Eleventh Hour Animal Rescue was having a "Pet Adoption Day." I met a volunteer from the Rescue whose name was Chris McNeill, (McNeill is my maiden name, so I thought that was an interesting twist of fate). Chris was being dragged around the store by a big black dog. He told me what a hard time he was having finding a home for this unruly dog who was found wandering loose in the streets of North Carolina and ended up here at Eleventh Hour Animal Rescue in NJ. The dog was not housebroken, chewed everything he came in contact with, jumped on people (usually knocking them over) as soon as he saw them, played with his mouth fully open all of the time, with drool that hung down the side, and weighing in at about 130 pounds (dry).
Despite those slightly negative behaviors that would deter most homeowners with small children, Chris did mention that this dog loved all people and animals he met and really “just wanted to have fun.” We saw something special in him; a kind, gentle soul that needed a loving home. Later that day, my husband and I took him home and we eventually named him Mr. Wilson.
Thanks to 6 months of obedience training classes from St. Huberts Animal Welfare, Mr. Wilson was able to live in our home with us, unleashed and uncaged when we left the house. He was about a year old when we adopted him and would have turned 5 years old this week.
Everyone who came in contact with Mr. Wilson loved him. He helped many children and adults who had originally been afraid of dogs to realize that dogs can be very kind and gentle. Children who would visit our home petrified of dogs would leave our home that same day showing their parents how proud they were because they could not only pet this large beast, but also walk him by themselves on a leash! Mr. Wilson touched everyone in a kind and gentle way and always left a lasting impression.
There was one thing we could not seem to break him of, however, and that was his spirit to wander the streets, unleashed, usually running between Chatham Twp., Borough and Madison. The more we tried to get him to come to us, the further he ran. After he got tired, he would just go up to someone’s home (or inside if the door was open) and lay on the floor, exhausted from his latest adventure. A tag on his collar read “please help me get home” with our address and telephone number printed on the reverse side.
Mr. Wilson expanded our social circle enabling us to meet the most kind and loving people we would have ever imagined. If you are one of those individuals who helped get Wilson back home to us in the past, please accept our gratitude once again. We know you enjoyed his visit and have an interesting story to tell about that big black dog who ended up surprisingly in your kitchen, deck, front porch, garage, bed, or even in the meat aisle at Kings (thanks to the automatic door).
As I don’t have to explain to most of you who have pets, there is a tremendous void in our family. From cuddling for a nap, running alongside our bikes, watching Wilson jump on the trampoline, or even drinking out of the toilets (which Wilson thought were his personal water bowls), we will miss everything about Mr. Wilson.
Oddly enough, Wilson left this world the same way we know he entered it, wandering free with a big smile on his face.
On behalf of our family, we extend our condolences and thank you for being there for Mr. Wilson when he needed help getting home. We especially want to thank Officer Mike Gianone who got to know Wilson over the years and was able to be there as a friend to comfort him when he died.