The woman said, "We need to get rid of a couple of dogs and wondered if you could help." Her mother had died. She had five little dogs she adored. Three of the five had found homes with friends or family but two shy and skittish little dogs named Widget and Max were still at her mother's house which was now sold and the dogs had to be removed ASAP!

These two little guys witnessed the death of their beloved owner. Their house was emptied, the lights were turned out and Widget and Max were turned out too, to a cold garage with a blanket and some food and water. This little four-year-old Coton De Tulear and his little 10-pound, 10-year-old Chihuahua buddy, Max, were left behind to deal with their grieving, broken hearts, huddled together each night trying to stay warm and ward off their fears of all the things that go bump in the night.

Max was easily apprehended but not Widget. Widget's hideout became the ruins of an old house blown down by a tornado. We set up a live trap amongst the rubble and placed hotdogs inside.

As we were turning to leave I heard a rustling in the brush. We caught glimpse of a little matted-to-the–skin white dog peering at us from several yards away, no doubt lured by the smell of hot dogs. We enticed, begged, sweet talked and offered bite after bite of our delicious cuisine hoping to win his trust. Eventually, he got himself backed into a corner of debris with no escape. Luci slowly moved in closer hoping to finally get him in her grasp when he made a run for it, darting by her. As he ran by, I dove on my belly to grab him. I thought, "If we don't get him, he'll die out here one sad way or another". I felt his teeth sink into my wrist and hands, as he was fighting for his life. What he didn't know was that I was too. After a bloody struggle he surrendered, going limp in my hands. Luci ran to the car and grabbed a blanket and a kennel. I was hurting and bleeding but Widget was safe and I knew I would heal. I just hoped he would too, inside and out.

We worked to gain his trust, slowly, day by day. Then the unthinkable happened...the gate didn't completely latch behind us one evening and Widget escaped into the night. We called and drove around and called and walked and called and called. He seemed to have vanished. For days we looked for him and at night we'd lay awake worrying, wondering if he'd fallen victim to wild animals, slow starvation or been hit by a car. We finally had to try and let go, forgiving ourselves, knowing we'd tried our best to save him.

That was last July.

A few weeks ago, one of our volunteers was talking to a friend who had just taken in a small white dog. This woman's friends had found the dog hiding in their bushes. It had taken two weeks to coax him out. With a great deal of patience and effort they won his trust enough to take him to the vet and the groomer. They could not keep him and asked if Jo would take him. She agreed, but only to foster not to keep for her own. She asked our volunteer if we would help find this shy little dog just the right home. As Miss Jo described this little vagabond, we began to put two and two together. Even though we thought after all this time it couldn't possibly be Widget, we had to investigate. The eyes, the set of the ears, the tail, the personality, the location where he was found and the time line confirmed that this was the same dog we had rescued and then lost so many months ago.

I sat down on the floor with him this afternoon with shear wonder and amazement, pondering all this little dog has suffered and survived. Tears filled my eyes as he happily greeted me at the door. He is truly little Widget, the wonder dog!

Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates.