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Finding Willy: Missing Weyburn dog safe after month on the run from drones, quads, traps

Saskatchewan volunteers pursue pooch-at-large for a month
WATCH: For the past month, volunteers in Weyburn, Sask., have been searching for an escaped rescue dog. The canine had his pursuers chasing up the wrong tree — until July 8.

For the past month, volunteers in Weyburn, Sask., have been part of a search, even bringing in a drone, to track down an escaped rescue dog.

The pup, however, had his pursuers barking up the wrong tree — until Wednesday, that is.

Willy is a one-year-old mutt.

At the beginning of June, his foster mom, Kassandra Nilson, put Willy outside while visiting family. She made sure the gate was latched before going inside.

“Five minutes later I come back outside and the gate’s wide open,” she said with an exasperated sigh.

“I don’t know how this little dog managed to open the gates and escape for a month.”

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Volunteers immediately started a search. Prairie Sky Dog Rescue, from whom Nilson was fostering Willy, said dogs escaping isn’t anything new, but they’re usually found within hours.

“Over 20 people (searched),” said volunteer Jeannine Kater.

“We had some quads, we had a drone, we had live traps, people on foot looking for him.”

The search was extensive over the past four weeks, Kater said, and Willy had his pursuers playing fetch.

One minute he’d be spotted on someone’s acreage, then be back in Weyburn before anyone could catch him.

“Every night we’d spend a couple hours just out there driving four or five different vehicles or even more sometimes,” said Nilson.

“We almost caught him so many times but he just outran us.”

People would report seeing Willy in their fields, drinking from their pools, on their decks, and once he was spotted eating gophers.

Kater joked it was like he was taunting them.

“He was sitting there, just like, ‘Hi, you’re not getting me’,” she laughed.

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Finally, on Wednesday, someone just outside Weyburn was able to lure Willy into her house and called the dog rescue.

“Surprisingly he just has a little bit of a smell to him and quite a few ticks, but other than that he’s fine,” said Kater.

Willy is now staying at Kater’s house. He’s a little shaken from his ordeal, Kater said, but she said she suspects if he had the chance he’d be back outside.

Willy will be moving to live with his new foster family in Regina.