From Rappahannock with love

Wes heads West, leaving everybody happy

American Foxhound “Wesley” as he appeared in the Rappahannock News last month when he was finally put up for adoption by RAWL. Courtesy Photo of RAWL

Faithful readers of the Rappahannock News will recall the smiling face of Wesley, a handsome young American Foxhound featured in the April 25th edition of the newspaper as being available for adoption through the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) in Amissville.

Wes was found shivering April 6th on Quaintance Road between Woodville and Slate Mills, where a kind lady picked him up, got him warm, then turned him over to the care of RAWL with the hope of reuniting him with his rightful owner.

At the same time, a similar hound made its way to RAWL. Both dogs appeared healthy and well cared for, to the extent that Shelter Director Patti Want thought this would be one of those happy ending rescues where the relieved pet owner shows up, thanks everybody profusely, then takes the dogs to home sweet home.

“They were wearing collars,” Want points out, suspecting they could even be brothers. “They were really nice boys — so nice that I figured somebody was absolutely missing them. So I held them back from being adopted for twenty days.”

Not sporting any ID tags, RAWL in time named the hounds Wesley and Willard, although the former charmed everybody so much he was nicknamed “Mush.” The veterinarian who examined Wesley weighed in the dog at 70 pounds, estimated his age to be 1 to 2 years, and deemed him “well-behaved, medium energy, and fine with other dogs and cats.”

American Foxhounds like Wes are known to be excellent pets, easy to house train, loyal, emotional, even funny. Bottom line, they love the home life.

As it was, at the same time RAWL was attempting through normal channels to locate the dogs’ rightful owner — with no success — a family in far off California was mourning the loss of its mix Walker Coonhound, named Shasta. The family had been spending a good deal of time searching the online site Petfinder for a new dog, which is how Want first discovered them.

“And I told them about Wesley, that he was going to be available, that he was wonderful, laid back, a really good guy,” Want recalls.

RAWL allows for out-of-state adoptions, but only after all of a dog’s medical boxes are checked. Beyond that, adopters must submit verifiable veterinary references, along with other required information.

“And you have to meet the dog, we don’t ship blindly,” stresses Want.

Wouldn’t you know that on a Saturday three weeks ago, two members of the California family flew to Virginia to meet Wesley and Willard, although Want previously suggested that she thought Wesley, aka “Mush,” would be a better fit.

“They met both dogs, spent two hours with them here, and then took them on a field trip to Culpeper,” she says.

And as Want figured might happen, Wesley was chosen to become the newest member of their family.

Fast forward to Tuesday, May 21st, and with his health certificate and other papers in order, Wesley was driven by Want to the United Airlines Petsafe Cargo area of Dulles International Airport, where he climbed into a travel crate to begin his new California adventure.

Wesley arrives on the West Coast to meet his new family, a far cry from Quaintance Road and a happy ending for all involved. Courtesy Photo by RAWL

“We made sure everything was just right,” assures Want, whereas RAWL promptly posted on its Instagram site: “Wes is leaving for beautiful CA via a big jet airplane!!”

A successful flight that was immediately followed up with photos from California once Wes was safely on the ground and in the loving hands of his ecstatic new family.

“They walk on water,” Want describes Wesley’s new owners.

“Whenever I have stories like this, or other extraordinary adoption stories, it outweighs the bad,” she says. “It reminds you of all the good things that such a little place like RAWL can do.”

Oh, and as for Willard, he’s been adopted locally and was last seen wagging his tail.

About John McCaslin 469 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at

1 Comment

  1. A wonderful story about amazing people. I live on Kaua’i and had the pleasure of fostering a beautiful hond Cerberus, that this couple made possible to fly to California and find a new home with a loving family. He even gained a sister dog Lizzie (also from Kaua’i). Wes will be loved beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

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