In November, Rev. William Miller found that his dog Wili had three months to live after cancer spread to his lymphatic system. Eight months later, the two of them drove across the country – called “Last Howlelujah Tour: Wilis Barket List” – and the duo’s last planned stop is this weekend in Las Vegas.
“He far survived that initial diagnosis,” said Miller, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Covington, Louisiana. “The last Howlelujah tour was an idea I had six to eight weeks ago. It would give us time to hang out and be together and enjoy each other because we know that every day is a gift and every breath is a moment of grace. “
Miller, author of “The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul” and “The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God: The Whole and Sacred Truth About Camp, Loving, and Living,” will preach at two services on Sunday in Mountain Presbyterian Church show, 8601 Del Webb Blvd.
During a dinner and book signing, Miller will give a presentation of his journey with his beloved 12 year old terrier mix.
Mountain View is accepting donations for the public dinner that goes to the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas. Miller raised money at every tour stop to help local animal welfare organizations. Around $ 7,200 has been raised to date.
Mountain View Presbyterian senior pastor David Dendy has known Miller for years and was keen to invite him to end the tour here.
“We are thrilled and honored that he is stopping here.”
A friend of Dendy’s and Mountain View, Daniel Neel, happens to be the Chief Finance and Development Officer at the Animal Foundation.
“We love working with other animal lovers,” said Neel. “We want to be a supporter of his work, but we’re just thrilled that he supports ours too. I can tell you that our 21,000 animals rescued last year will benefit greatly from any donation that results from this. “
Shane Jensen, the church’s administrative assistant, said about 115 had signed up for Sunday dinner by Wednesday. Salads, pasta, sandwiches and cakes are served.
“We would like to have as many people from the community as possible,” said Jensen.
A special part of the book signing will be the signing of books by Wili.
“He’s going to ‘pawtograph’ the book,” Miller said. “I have a stamp of his actual paw print.”
The Howlelujah tour began outside of New Orleans, which is where Miller is from, and the duo will have visited 16 cities in the south by the time they reach Las Vegas. They’ve been to churches, breweries, restaurants, and bookstores in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Miller said he adopted Wili – whose full name is Nawiliwili Nelson – as a puppy while living in Hawaii. Although Wili’s illness was a big part of the inspiration for this tour, he said he wanted to raise awareness about animal welfare and share the stories of his travels with his other dogs: Sam, Sinbad and Lili.
“Dogs have been a really important part of my life for a long time,” Miller said. “I think they reveal so much of the Creator’s wisdom.”
Contact Katelyn Umholtz at 702-383-0279 or kumholtz @ reviewjournal.com. Follow @ kumh0ltz on Twitter.