Applications to adopt Willa, the blind dog rescued after eight years of living alone in a patch of woods in south Conway, have poured in since her story was published, Willa’s foster mom said Wednesday.


Judi Standridge, Willa’s foster mom and Humane Society of Faulkner County volunteer and adoption coordinator, has been sifting through applicants from around the United States and Canada.


It has been about two weeks since Standridge took a catch pole to Willa’s woods to nab the dog that escaped numerous others’ attempts at capturing her.


In illness and with the complete loss of her sight, Standridge said Willa was able to finally be caught after she trailed the dog for some time, and Willa became tangled in a dense briar bush.


Standridge said she has 50 active applications to adopt Willa from individuals in Canada, Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, New Hampshire and several other states.


“They came from everywhere. Willa’s story was apparently carried far because I asked a woman in British Columbia how she heard about Willa and she said she read about her on the Internet,” Standridge said.


Willa’s foster mom describes some of the applicants as “true animal lovers” who make it a point to adopt dogs that by most standards are deemed less desirable, aging dogs with medical needs or physical impairments.


“I’ve had a lot of long e-mails and conversations with these applicants and I feel like out of respect I should give each of them attention. I want to make sure she goes to the right place and that she gets the best match for her disabilities,” she said.


Surprisingly, no applicants are Arkansas residents, said Standridge.
One of the women Standridge says is responsible for keeping Willa alive through the years the dog was unable to be wrangled, and after whom the dog is named, said she considered giving Willa a home once she was caught.


Willa Everts, a spry woman in her 80s, said she would adopt Willa if she did not already have one dog at home that prefers to be “an only dog.”


“Willa is absolutely sure that Willa the dog will be cared for and will go to an excellent home,” Standridge said. “She has done everything she could to get her this far.”


Whoever adopts Willa will not take on an easy case.


Willa, like a lot of dogs that enter the care of the Humane Society or find themselves at shelters, was found to be heartworm positive.


On Wednesday, Willa went with her foster mom to Hartman Animal Hospital to determine if she was healthy enough to start on a regiment of heartworm medicine.


Hartman, who did blood work on the dog when she was rescued, checked Willa’s liver again Wednesday.


“I’m hesitant because the patient still has respiratory disease, though her numbers with her liver are now normal. She’s not stable enough yet, and we’ve had severe liver involvement that has put her at a greater risk to have a reaction on the heartworm medicine,” said Hartman.


Willa is otherwise in “good shape,” he said, and can start being treated soon.


The Humane Society has set up “Willa’s Fund,” a $10,000 account to assist Faulkner County residents in treating their dogs for heartworms.


Standridge said the fund will be used by patrons of the organization’s Companions Spay and Neuter Clinic at Spring Hill.


“We’ve wanted to do this and now is a good time. Our efforts have been in spay and neuter, but this $10,000 will go to people who can’t afford to have their dogs treated for heartworms,” she said.


(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)