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Wary of petting, dog relents in company of former, current master

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Patti did not approve.

Ten minutes after she awoke, she jumped the fence and ran into the woods.

Racked by guilt, Deems spent months searching, handing out fliers and buying ads in local newspapers. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote of her search in 2010.

Patti ended up 10 miles away in Apollo, at the home of Randy and Laurie Williams. The Williamses have horses, and the dog made it her responsibility to watch over them. The dog would not let the Williamses touch her, but they were determined to gain her trust.

In early 2011, they heard about Deems' search. We think we have her, they said in a phone conversation. Deems arrived and confirmed the dog was Patti.

She tried to trap her, but the dog, which the Williamses called Lily, evaded capture.

Randy Williams said she could stay, and he promised to care for her. Deems, consoled by the knowledge that her dog had chosen a loving family, relented and left.

For two years, all went well. Lily watched the property from a hill, coming to the house to eat food the Williamses left for her.

The dog never let them touch her, except once, when hunters fired guns nearby. Spooked, Lily hid in a dog house. Randy Williams leashed her and brought her inside.

"We petted her up for two hours," he said. "Then we left her in the garage for a couple hours when we went out."

When they returned, they found that Lily had torn drywall, wiring, and siding around a door. She wanted out.

"I took her outside on a leash," Williams said. "I petted her and said, 'You can come around if you want, or you can stay away. It's up to you.' I let her off, and that was the last time we touched her."

Until Saturday.

Though Lily never showed aggression to humans — she flees when people approach — a neighbor complained to the Armstrong County dog warden that Lily was off leash. The neighbor declined to comment.

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