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Jun 13, 2017

“The Last Howlelujah Tour – Wili’s ‘Barket’ List.”

If you search an on-line dictionary for the term “bucket list,” what you will find is a definition noting, “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” While most relate this list to human desires, there is soon to be an exception when Wili begins what is being called “The Last Howlelujah Tour – Wili’s ‘Barket’ List.

At the end of June, Wili, and his human, the Rev. Bill Miller, will take off from New Orleans, LA headed for Las Vegas, NV, with many stops along the way as a means of fulfilling Wili’s “barket” list. Wili, a 12-year-old terrier mix, has been Miller’s four-legged companion for the past 11 years. Last November, Wili, (Nawiliwili Nelson- an homage to Miller’s affection for Hawaii and Willie Nelson) was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma and given only three months to live. Some eight months later, after surgery, chemotherapy and lots of love, Wili is still wagging his tail.

“I remember the day he was diagnosed with cancer,” Miller said. “I broke down and sobbed because Wili and I have this unbelievable bond. The purpose of this tour is to enjoy and appreciate the time we have to together and help others ponder the gift of life, the gift of God and the gift of Dog, which I believe is God’s greatest gift.”

If Miller sounds a bit spiritual there’s a good reason. Miller is an Episcopal priest who leads a large congregation in Covington, LA, a community just outside of New Orleans. Miller is also a humorist author who has penned two books, The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul and The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God: The Whole and Holy Truth About Lager, Loving and Living. It’s those books and his desire to spend quality time with Wili that has this duo on the road. 

Miller and Wili will leave New Orleans, LA, one of Miller’s two favorite cities in the U.S., and meander through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and end the tour in Las Vegas, NV, his second favorite city in the U.S.  Along the way, Miller will speak at churches, bookstores and breweries and also sign books. The Gospel According to Sam is a collection of thirty animal stories for the soul, dedicated to Miller’s Airedale, Sam, a "wounded healer" who survived a house fire that burned off his ears but couldn't extinguish his spirit. Thoughtful and funny, stories include: “Dog Spelled Backwards,” “Bite Me” and “A Lighter Shade of Tail.” Miller’s humor continues in The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God, where readers will find chapters’ titled: “Brewed Over Me and Distill Me,” “O Lord, Chicken Soup for the Hooters Girl’s Soul” and “WWJD: What Would Jesus Drink?” Wili is featured in the Beer Drinker's Guide as his adventures, and inadvertent spiritual insights, are captured in a story devoted entirely to him and titled “My Wili.”

In addition to enjoying time together, and eating a lot of barbecue Miller and Wili also hope to raise awareness about animal rescue. 

You can learn more about Miller and follow the Wili tour via Miller’s Facebook page at:

Friday, June 30      St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77008 
                                6:30 p.m. – Reception
                                7:00 p.m.  – Presentation

Pup Squad Animal Rescue has been designated the recipient of a fundraiser that will also take place. Proceeds from Miller’s book sales as well as donations will go to Pup Squad, a non-profit that rescues orphaned puppies and nursing litters and matches them with permanent adoptive homes. The organization also works with other community rescue efforts to promote spay/neuter, adoption and humane animal care to ultimately reduce the number of animals euthanized in Houston and surrounding areas.

Miller and Wili will appear:

Friday, June 30    6:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s, Houston
Saturday, July 1   9:30-11:30 a.m. at Tejas Chocolate and Barbecue, Tomball
                           5:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, College Station
Sunday, July 2     9:00 a.m. at St. Thomas, College Station
                           10:30 a.m. at St. Francis, College Station
Monday, July 3     6:30 p.m. at Pearl Snap Hall, Georgetown
Tuesday, July 4    2:00-4:00 p.m. at Barrow Brewing Company, Salado (beer paring with dog stories)