One woman's quest to find lost dog takes a new turn

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

It’s been over four months since Sam Fullam began her search to find her 5-year-old border collie mix Wilder, but a sighting close to home gave her new hope of being reunited with her beloved pet and best friend. 

On Tuesday, Fullam received a phone call from a woman in the Spring Garden Township area, one of the places Wilder might have been spotted several times in late June and early July. Fullam said the tipster saw a dog on Sunday that matched Wilder's description. 

Sam Fullam's dog Wilder, a border collie mix, has been missing since Fullam's car was stolen May 14 from Downtown York. Contributed photo

“She (said) when she was putting her trash out, a white dog with a dark face just booking it,” Fullam said. “She didn’t think a ton of it until her neighbor mentioned that she had seen the same dog. She said that the dog had stopped and kind of looked back at her and sure enough was all white body, dark face just around the eyes and the ears.” 

That matches the characteristics of Wilder, who went missing back in May when Fullam’s Audi Q5 was stolen with him in it from Continental Square in York City as she ran a quick errand. The car was eventually recovered in Philadelphia with no sign of Wilder. 

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Fullam said she believes the recent sighting might be credible since Spring Garden Township was the area where multiple possible sightings were made earlier in the summer. 

“That was when I was in York full time and spending every day looking,” Fullam said. "We were immediately out when those sightings happened, talked to all the neighbors, canvassed the area, and sure enough a ton of people had seen a white dog.” 

The next day, Fullam found out there was another border collie who looked like Wilder missing in that exact area. That dog eventually went back to its owner, Fullam said, but this new sighting gives her a new lead to follow.

“Unfortunately, we can’t really put a trap out until we have more patterns of this dog’s track and until we have a smaller radius,” she said.

Since her quest began this summer, many pet owners have shared encouraging stories on the Find Wilder Facebook page of pets reunited months or years after being separated. Fullam said those stories give her hope that the same thing will happen for her. 

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“From the beginning, the amount of people who have been so helpful has been amazing,” Fullam said. “Just in the past few days, the amount of people who have been doing all of their own research to try and be helpful and try and figure things out.” 

Those stories also have also given her insight into how dogs can survive out on their own, which also gives her hope Wilder will be found OK. 

“Throughout this experience, I have just learned how smart dogs are and how long they can survive on their own out in the wilderness,” Fullam said. “Those kinds of stories definitely give me hope, and there’s still a chance he is alive and taking care of himself.”