Six years ago Cujo, an energetic seven-year-old Golden Retriever, ran away from his owners’ back yard in St. Louis when a gate was accidentally left open while they were moving. Somehow he ended up at the home of an elderly woman 120 miles away. When she went into a nursing home, Cujo, now called Willie, was sent to the Humane Society.
Even though older dogs seldom find homes, he was put on an adoption website where he was spotted by Bob Tillay, president of Dirk's Fund, a Golden Retriever Rescue group, who brought Cujo/Willy back to St. Louis. His ears were badly infected, his coat was so matted he had to be shaved, and he had some cysts removed from his eyes. Eventually he was taken to a nursing home to be a pet for the residents.
But that life seemed to be too sedentary for Cujo/Willy, He needed a yard to run in. Back he went to the Dirk’s Fund website.
Then by a fluke, last week Michael Barczewski just happened to be looking on the site. Barczewski was the breeder of Cujo, and the dog had gone to his brother’s family. He recognized him immediately by the white heart mark on his forehead and the white on his paws.
Kayla Barczewski was only 4 years old when the dog disappeared, but she insisted on hanging his Christmas stocking every year. Now a fourth grader, she had been confident he’d someday come home. “I had something in my heart and I knew he wasn’t gone.”
Whether it’s a miracle as her mother says, or fate or just coincidence, Cujo, now a little slower and grayer at thirteen, is back to live out his life with his family and the little girl who kept hanging up his Christmas stocking.