Waylon Comes Home

A two-week saga has come to a happy ending, but I’m sorry to say I can’t tell but a fraction of the story. The star, the hero, the protagonist, the guy who knows what really happened — he’s not talking. He can’t talk. He’s a dog.

My friends Betsy and Kevin returned to Martha’s Vineyard late Wednesday, December 14, with their new dog, Waylon, a handsome springer-Lab mix. Waylon’s first 10 months had not been easy. He’d had a foster mom in Rhode Island for the previous three weeks. That was pretty much his first clue that some human beings could be trusted.


Waylon slipped away from his people that first night. Waylon went missing. The word spread rapidly, by phone, e-mail, word of mouth, and Facebook. Posters went up with Waylon’s photos and Kevin and Betsy’s phone numbers. People started calling in with Waylon sightings. A young boy called to report that he’d spotted Waylon while riding a bus on County Road, Oak Bluffs. The bus driver called a little later, to make sure that the kid had called.

Waylon's range

The sightings helped establish Waylon’s range. Betsy and Kevin live in the Vineyard Hills area of Oak Bluffs, east of Barnes Road. Waylon was seen in the adjacent Tower Ridge subdivision and as far south as County Road. Several people spotted him in the Hidden Cove subdivision, which lies between the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road and Sengekontacket Pond. Travvy and I spent an hour or so on Monday, December 19, strolling the deserted byways of Hidden Cove. Maybe Waylon would be curious about another dog passing through? Maybe Travvy would notice something that the humans didn’t? Neither thing happened, but my blog “Seasonal” was inspired by our walk.

Waylon's crate

I didn’t mention in the blog what took us to Hidden Cove. The last thing anyone wanted was well-meaning people searching for Waylon and maybe freaking him out. Kevin and Betsy had set up Waylon’s crate near the house that Waylon seemed to be coming back to. They showed up to feed breakfast and supper, and to leave treats around the area. They saw more and more of Waylon, but Waylon didn’t want to get too close. Waylon wasn’t lost, exactly. Waylon just didn’t want to get caught.

I and others used Facebook to post updates for Vineyard people, but the postings reached far beyond Martha’s Vineyard. Before long Waylon had a fan club across North America, and even across the Atlantic.

Two weeks almost to the hour after he disappeared into the night, Waylon came home. Sighs of relief and shouts of jubilation were heard across the island, and probably across the continent. Waylon, it seems, did pretty well during his walkabout. Betsy thought he maybe looked a little thinner, but he was healthy, sound, and perky. Dogs, it seems, can do pretty well foraging for themselves and sleeping outside when it rains or the temp dips to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Travvy, I’m pretty sure, wouldn’t mind changing places with Waylon the Wanderer.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
This entry was posted in dogs, Martha's Vineyard and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Waylon Comes Home

  1. kevin j cusack says:

    Waylon is home and seems happy. He is most affectionate with our wood stove ( actually i think he is in love with it (( at least til spring )). He seems to be adjusting well to home life and sticks by my side every time i move. Last evening i went out for a couple of hours only to find upon my return Waylon at the back door with a wagging tail upon my entry. He even offered a paw.
    After two weeks in the brush day and night / rain and cold, I think he finds this life style ( home ) just a little more appealing. I know Betsy and I do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks to all for the love and support through this current Waylon adventure
    kevin j


    • Kevin –

      Glad to see a happy ending to this story. On another note, I believe I used to work with your sister, Cindy, at Verizon Wireless in Woburn, MA. She mentioned that you lived on the Vineyard and were involved in the building trades. I am a seasonal resident of Oak Bluffs.



  2. Pam Coblyn says:

    Great reportage…I love the suspense and details. I know this wonderful news is shared by so many who share a Vineyard connection and the strong tradition of caring and involvement. I know that in time, Waylon’s psyche will be healed by the Island Magic and he will rejoice that he landed on MV with his loving forever family.
    Was the crate set up on Stone Pound Way? I’m trying to pinpoint the bed of pine needles and those trees.


    • The crate was set up next to #44 — not sure what road it is, but IIRC it’s Hidden Cove Way or something like that. That was the house that Waylon kept coming back to. There’s a crossroad just to the right of the house, and the crossroad (don’t know its name either) leads down toward several ponds.


  3. Susan says:

    So glad that Waylon was recovered. My heart went out to his owners and to all the folks who have worried about him. A good ending.


  4. Marie-Lynn says:

    SO glad he made it home! Every week it seems I get sent emails from rescue networks in my area with similar stories; usually it’s rescue dogs who escape and warily hide out for days or weeks because they haven’t learned to trust humans yet. Not all have such happy endings, alas.


    • There are some advantages to living on an island! OTOH, a fearful and hardy dog could easily elude humans indefinitely even in the relatively small area Waylon was roaming in, Fresh water isn’t hard to find, and there’s plenty of food out there for a scavenger (especially in the wake of deer-hunting season), not to mention hordes of rabbits and squirrels, and wandering fowl of various kinds.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.