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.
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.
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.