You can never be too cautious when it comes to looking after your beloved dog.
Nothing can compare with the feeling of being reunited with a dog that has gone missing. It's a time of feeling uplifted, relieved, and very thankful. Those emotions are even more intense if the reunion happens after a long time of separation, or if a great deal of distance has been crossed. Those are the truly amazing reunion stories that make the headlines. And because they're so wonderful and unexpected, they touch us all—even people who have no connection to the dog or his family.
Here are just a few of the remarkable and heartwarming reunion stories we've discovered.
Thank goodness for speeders
When a police officer in Texas stopped a speeder to give him a ticket, the last thing he expected to do was to find a missing dog. No the dog wasn't in the speeding car, but when the officer returned to his patrol car he found a dog sitting on the front seat. In his eagerness to give the speeder his ticket, the officer accidentally left the door to his patrol car open, which this Boxer took as an invitation to enter and make herself comfortable.
The Boxer and the cop hit it off and he took her home. That might have been the end of the story, but one day the officer saw a missing-dog flyer stapled to a telephone pole—and the photo looked just like his newest family member. Realizing that he couldn't keep the friendly Boxer if it was the dog in the photo, he called the number on the flyer, which led to a very happy reunion.
As it turns out, this Boxer was a rescue dog and quite an accomplished jumper, which is how she managed to get out of the yard where she had been playing. Her owner was heartbroken and put flyers up on every telephone pole within a half-mile of the house. When the wandering Boxer was returned to her home, her owner immediately had a collar made for her, complete with the address and phone number.
It makes you wonder: If that car hadn't been speeding…and if the police officer hadn't left his patrol car's door open…and if he hadn't noticed the missing-dog flyer…
Happy camper, happy reunion
What do you do if you find a friendly golden retriever wandering by, seemingly lost, as you're leaving to go on a weekend camping trip? One couple decided to take the dog with them. A lot of unplanned things can happen on a camping trip, but you never expect a fellow camper to show you a missing-dog listing on Craigslist with a description that matches your new four-legged camper. What are the odds?
This golden retriever managed to wander out of his yard when a contractor left the yard gate open. When his owners discovered he was missing, they began searching (they drove more than 100 miles), sending out e-mails, posting missing-dog flyers, and losing lots of sleep. And because their dog was microchipped, they alerted the microchip organization, which sprang into action. This pet ID and recovery service reached out to vets, animal shelters, and pet rescuers in a 25-mile radius. They also put their alert on Craigslist, where—luckily—it was seen by the camper who—luckily—happened to see the dog with the other campers who—luckily—found the dog and decided to take him camping.
It pays to have luck on your side, and the help of a dedicated and thorough pet-recovery service.
3+ families in a year-and-a-half
Dogs that have gone missing can be part of many families during the course of their wayward adventure. The case of this Jack Russell terrier is a perfect example. After digging out of his backyard—and losing his ID tag in the process—he wandered around until a woman found him and brought him to her home.
The Jack Russell lived with his new owner for over a year when, for some reason, she decided she didn't want him anymore. She then took the dog to a vet to be put down. Seeing that the pooch was healthy and only a few years old, the vet refused. Fortunately, the vet's assistant took a liking to the dog, and the Jack Russell now became part of her family.
Things were going along just fine—until the big thunderstorm. It seems the Jack Russell was terrified of thunder. He got so scared, he jumped through a screen window to escape. Once on the outside, he wandered around until he found shelter in front of a house. The family that lived there saw him and brought him to their veterinarian's office to have him examined. The vet noticed that the Jack Russell was microchipped, which led to a phone call to the humane society where he was registered. The humane society then called the Jack Russell's original (and very heartbroken) family. They had spent several months desperately searching for their beloved dog, and they thought they would never see him again.
The phone call from the humane society led to a very emotional reunion, one that was a year-and-a-half in the making.
5 years and another Jack later…
This amazing story—which involves another adventurous Jack Russell terrier—starts and ends in England, with a middle that takes place in Ireland.
Jack the Jack Russell terrier lived with his owner near Newcastle Upon Tyne—until they went on vacation in Ireland. It was there that the small dog went missing and stayed that way for five years.
Little is known about Jack's five-year hiatus on the Emerald Isle, but we do know that his owner, who reluctantly had to return to England, was devastated by the incident. The feeling of loss didn't fade and, about year later, he adopted one of Jack's siblings, also naming him Jack.
At some point during the intervening years, the original Jack was found wandering in Ireland and sent back across the Irish Sea to an English shelter where, it was hoped, a loving family would adopt him. The staff at this shelter noticed that their new arrival had a microchip that listed the contact information of his long-lost owner.
Yes, they were very happily reunited. About two days later, Jack #1 and his owner were playing one of their old-time favorite games again. And Jack #2? He’s very much a part of the family and when someone calls “Jack”, they both come running.
Move over Gilligan! This pooch has you beat!
Perhaps the most amazing of these amazing reunion stories began in the shark-infested waters off the coast of Australia. An Australian cattle dog was enjoying a fun day out with her family on their boat when the seas turned choppy and she fell overboard. Her owners searched for her in the surrounding water, but to no avail. Heartbroken, they headed for port, thinking that their beloved dog had gone under, perhaps caught in the boat's strong wake.
Australian cattle dogs are known for their energy, intelligence, and strong work ethic. All that came into play—and an ability to do the dog paddle for five nautical miles. Somehow this intrepid, resourceful, and very fortunate (not to mention very wet) Aussie managed to swim to an island. This island, which was inhabited by only a few people and native animals, became the dog's home for the next few months. During this time, spurred on by the need to survive, her innate hunting instincts took over: the island's wild goats became her main source of nourishment. Eventually the Aussie was captured by rangers, who believed she was a feral dog.
Many of these amazing reunion stories involved a certain amount of luck, and it was lucky that the dog's family back home happened to hear the news story about the rangers finding an Australian cattle dog on the island in the areas where they had been sailing on that fateful day. Could this actually be their long-lost family member? The odds were against it (miles and miles of rough, dangerous seas had to be crossed, and a family pooch had to learn how to become a vicious hunter) but, thankfully, the odds don't always dictate the way things will turn out.
When they were reunited, the dog recognized her owners and was enormously happy to see them. It took awhile for the Aussie to make the transition from feral dog back to family dog, but with love and patience, miracles can happen. Just like the miracle of a dog surviving so many life-threatening situations.
The moral of the stories
If one lesson is to be learned from these amazing tales, it's that you can never be too cautious when it comes to looking after your beloved dog. You may think your pooch is safe in the yard, but dogs are excellent diggers and jumpers, and they're very alert when a gate is accidentally left open.
And if you've ever doubted the importance of microchipping and the need for a strong collar with identification tags, you now have some amazing reasons to think otherwise.
Sometimes, despite every precaution you've taken, unfortunate and unplanned things happen—like sudden storms at sea. Should your dog go missing, it's comforting to know that pet ID and recovery services are there to help you extend your reach by making robo-phone calls, sending mass e-mails, and alerting the appropriate agencies for miles around.
If you find a lost dog, there are a number of things you can do, such as taking it to a shelter or vet to check for a microchip. However, lost dogs may be scared and weary, so they should be approached correctly. Our article What to do if You Find a Lost Dog, goes into this in more detail.