Lilly’s best friends

Spa­niard’s Bay fa­ther­son duo team up with Ger­man shep­herd to help find miss­ing dog

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA

Clarence Wil­son and his 17-month-old Ger­man shep­herd Wilma have had a hand in a few for­tu­nate mis­sions find­ing lost dogs.

Their most re­cent ad­ven­ture came ear­lier this month in Con­cep­tion Bay South. On New Year’s Day, Jo-Lynn Butt’s young Sheltie Lilly es­caped through a fence as the town’s fire­works were be­ing set off.

Jo-Lynn shared an emo­tional video on so­cial me­dia of her­self cry­ing as she searched for Lilly in Kel­li­grews. A photo of Lilly was shared thou­sands of times on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Clarence and Wilma had helped track down two dogs pre­vi­ously. He has three dogs in all (the other two are former rac­ing grey­hounds Mia and Crana), and they’re trained to bring each other back home.

“(Wilma) has tracked my son be­fore,” ex­plained Clarence, who lives in Spa­niard’s Bay. “I’ve had him go in the woods. We were in the woods be­fore just in for a walk, and she’s come across moose and tracked moose right on to where you can see them.“

Word of mouth got him in­volved in the search for Lilly but, due to his work com­mit­ments, he couldn’t get in­volved im­me­di­ately. He asked Jo-Lynn to get a group to­gether for Sun­day, Jan. 8.

Lilly was last spot­ted Jan. 2 but, as luck would have it, a new sight­ing was re­ported the morn­ing of Jan. 8. Clarence, his son Noah — who at­tends univer­sity in St. John’s — and Wilma were al­ready en route when Lilly was spot­ted and ar­rived in C.B.S. shortly af­ter 8 a.m.

They fol­lowed Lilly, and then re­al­ized she had moved on to a dif­fer­ent street. They tracked her down again and, with so many peo­ple around, Clarence ad­vised peo­ple to con­trol their emo­tions, as there was a strong like­li­hood Lilly would take off again.

That’s just what she did. Lilly scooted un­der a fence near the fuel tanks in Long Pond.

Clarence, Noah and Wilma kept try­ing.

“Wilma cut her off, be­cause (Lilly) was go­ing to go around me, be­cause what­ever I put (Wilma) on — it’s the herd­ing in­stinct — she’ll keep it from pass­ing and keep it in a cer­tain area,” said Clarence.

When Lilly at­tempted to move around a build­ing, Wilma caught up with her and man­aged to get in front of the lost dog.

Lilly turned, man­aged to get past Noah and un­der the fence again.

With peo­ple com­ing to­wards the fence, Lilly turned again, with Clarence and his crew wait­ing for her.

The lost dog went for a run around one of the tanks, and when she did, an­other man (Ed) help­ing with the search met Lilly on the other side.

“He just snatched her up, brought her down the hill, and then he passed her un­der the fence to me.”

At this point, Clarence made sure Wilma got to smell Lilly and un­der­stand she did a good job.

“She as­so­ciates good with what she has done, with catch­ing the an­i­mal,” he said.

Once Jo-Lynn ar­rived, Clarence passed the dog to her and told her to hold on tight.

“At first, Lilly didn’t know who (Jo-Lynn) was. I’d say it took about 30-40 sec­onds be­fore you could see her start to make the as­so­ci­a­tion. Be­cause the dog was just ter­ri­fied af­ter be­ing gone for a week . . . She had a pretty good run, and she was in re­ally good shape too.” Over­all, Clarence felt good about the ex­pe­ri­ence. “It’s nice to help peo­ple out, and I love do­ing that stuff any­way. As you can tell, the dogs are spoiled!”

It’s nice to help peo­ple out, and I love do­ing that stuff any­way. As you can tell, the dogs are spoiled!

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/TC ME­DIA

Left: Clarence Wil­son with his 17-month-old Ger­man shep­herd Wilma.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Clarence Wil­son, far right, passes Lilly to her ex­cited owner, Jo-Lynn Butt. Lilly was miss­ing for seven days.

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