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From Wags to Riches

Every dog has a tale to tell, but none more than Judy and Rob Dewing’s adopted dog Gus.

His story began Oct. 5 on Engle Road in Coupeville, where Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes found the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix abandoned and cowering next to a bag of dog food.

Hoping to track down anyone who might recognize him, Barnes brought the dog — then dubbed “Norton” — to the Whidbey News-Times office for an impromptu photo session. The forlorn photo was featured in the paper under the headline, “Who abandoned me?”

His 15 seconds of fame over, “Norton” was then transported to the Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation (WAIF) shelter in Coupeville where he would wait patiently until he found a new home.

Enter Judy and Rob Dewing of Freeland.

Avid animal-lovers, the Dewings had recently lost their beloved 16- and 17-year old dogs to old age and cancer.

“We didn’t think we were going to be able to replace those dogs,” Rob said. But that was before they met Gus.

“We were driving up one day and I said ‘Let’s look at the dogs,’” Judy remembers. “He just caught our eye. It was an instant connection.”

And when they mentioned to friends and neighbors that they’d adopted a dog from the WAIF shelter, everyone said “Oh, that must be the dog we saw in the paper.”

That came as a surprise to the Dewings, who had no idea that their new pet had been quite the media darling. With “Norton” — by then renamed Gus — in tow, the couple drove up to Oak Harbor to see the famous photo for themselves.

Today, barely a month after his abandonment, Gus is living the good life in Freeland with the Dewings and their four cats.

Though many would say Gus is quite the lucky pooch, Judy disagrees.

“We’re the lucky ones, really,” she said. “He’s the perfect dog.”

Although the Dewings’ cats are still a bit wary of Gus, they

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