One thing that’s common to pet owners is that, regardless of whether they’ve got a dog, a cat, a lizard, a bird etc., they all love their pets deeply. Some of these furry – or scaly – companions can end up with people for years, and strong bonds can form between a pet and their family, which is why it’s so heartbreaking when one of them goes missing.
One man, in an effort to avoid such a heart-rending separation of pet and family, went above and beyond in his efforts to reunite a dog with its owner.
Jason Gasparik, from Charlotte, North Carolina, was driving along in March of 2019, when he noticed something. He soon realized it was a dog, running around the middle of the road.
A reluctant pup
It was clear to Jason that this dog, a black labrador, had been separated from its family, and he wanted to see if he could find out whose it was in order to return it. Unfortunately, the dog had no intention of going near Jason.
It wasn’t hostile, but was clearly scared and skittish. Another driver at the scene told Jason that they had also attempted to retrieve the dog, but had no luck. It was simply too nervous to go too near any of the bystanders.
However, Jason soon came up with an idea for getting hold of the dog. Although the dog was nervous it was still quite friendly, and seemed particularly playful. In particular, it seemed to follow Jason if he started running.
As such, he began jogging around the nearby parking lot in an effort to get the dog to follow him, which it did. After several laps around the lot, the dog began to tire out and eventually lay down. This was Jason’s chance, and he managed to take hold of its neck scruff.
Now having a handle on the dog, Jason decided it was time to find out who it belonged to. He took the dog to a vet, in an effort to find out if it had been microchipped.
It turned out that the dog – now identified as female – did in fact have a chip, but that it was not registered to any owner, putting Jason back at square one. Nonetheless, he wasn’t going to give up so quickly, and was intent on reuniting the dog with her family.
Having checked out whether or not the dog’s chip could be scanned and coming up with nothing, Jason had no choice but to take her home with him for the night.
Despite the somewhat hectic day and strange situation, the dog was still very friendly, playing with Jason and demanding attention. It was clear that, although she was somewhat confused and still apprehensive, she felt relatively at ease with Jason – and was certainly glad to no longer be by the side of the road.
Putting a call out
The chip avenue having led to nowhere, Jason’s next port of call was social media. He put out a post on Twitter, detailing his discovery of the dog and posting pictures of her alongside it – and asked people to share it.
It was his hope that the post would reach far enough that the dog’s owner, or somebody close to the owner, might see the post and get in contact. All he could do now was wait, and hope that the internet would work its magic.
However, Jason’s post didn’t seem to be offering any immediate leads, so he decided to take to the streets in an effort to find this dog’s family. He constructed a large sign using cardboard, before walking out to an area of Charlotte that saw a lot of traffic.
His hope was that, if the dog’s owner was a local resident, they might see him and the dog standing by the side of the road – which would speed up a reunion considerably.
Although his idea was solid, Jason felt a little silly holding his slapdash sign and a small dog. Nonetheless, he was gaining the attention of numerous people, which was exactly what he had been hoping to do.
There were some people who were a tad incredulous, assuming Jason might have been involved in some kind of joke – however there were also numerous people who offered Jason and the dog refreshments, and promised to get the word out. Although Jason had his misgivings, this tactic seemed to be gaining traction.
Although Jason’s street display didn’t drag up any results that day, he was determined to go out again the next day. This time, however, Jason received some good news. It turned out that word had managed to get to the right place, and someone had contacted the dog’s owner.
A short while later, Jason was meeting with Ed, the owner of the dog whose name was revealed to be Roxy! Ed had brought all the necessary authentication with him, so Jason gladly handed Roxy over, happy to have been able to facilitate such a reunion.
Keeping in touch
Jason was ecstatic at finally having reunited Roxy with Ed, but his story didn’t end there. Jason realized that, as Ed was getting on in years, he wasn’t able to walk Roxy as much as she had wanted.
As such – refusing to wash his hands of the matter – Jason offered to take Roxy for walks on a routine basis, which Ed gladly agreed to. Nowadays, Jason continues to keep in contact with Ed, and take Roxy for her regular walks, which she loves!
It was lucky for Roxy and Ed that their separation only lasted for a couple of days. Some pets that go missing can do so for months, or even years. This makes it even more remarkable when they manage to find their way back to their families, which can happen.
One family discovered first-hand that a reunion can happen even after you’ve given up all hope, after they were reunited with their lost dog after a whole 10 years!
The Suierveld family of Apollo, Pennsylvania, had a black labrador mix called Abby back in 2008, who they loved immensely. One day, however, after Debra Suierveld and her children had been playing happily with Abby, she wandered off during a brief moment when they took their eyes off her.
Debra was shocked and incredibly worried, frantically wondering where her dog was. She couldn’t see Abby anywhere, and couldn’t believe that she had managed to disappear after only a few moments.
Fearing the worst
The Suierveld family began an intense search for their 1-year-old dog, all over the town of Apollo and the surrounding area. They were desperate to find the dog that they loved so much, but nothing they did seemed to work.
They were unable to find her while searching, and failed to turn up any leads from people who might have seen her wandering around. After months without any success, they reached the heartbreaking conclusion that Abby had been lost forever.
A call from the blue
Imagine Debra’s surprise, then, when 10 years later she received a call from an animal shelter in Apollo, claiming to have her dog. She was sure that the animal shelter was mistaken, not least because she could see her two dogs in the house with her.
However, when the shelter told her that the dog’s name was Abby, realization struck her like a bolt of lightning. Debra could hardly believe what the shelter was telling her – that they had found her precious dog after 10 years!
Lost and found
It turned out that Abby had been spotted by a random civilian, a mere 8 miles from where she had gone missing a decade earlier. This stranger brought Abby to the animal shelter where they immediately checked to see if she had a microchip.
Once they found her details they called Debra right away, to deliver the unbelievable news. Debra made her way to the animal shelter immediately, unable to believe her luck at being reunited with the beloved dog they had lost so many years ago.
The most surprising thing about Debra’s reunion with Abby was that the dog was in very good shape, despite having been a stray for 10 years. It was the opinion of the animal shelter that someone had at least been taking basic care of Abby over the last decade, even if she had not been living with them.
Debra was hugely grateful to whichever stranger, or strangers, had helped her dog survive all those years, as it had made this tearful homecoming possible.
Debra took Abby right home, hoping that she would be able to re-acclimate to her old environment without too much trouble. She also made sure to contact her daughter, Carly, who was away studying at college when the miraculous return occurred.
Carly had just as much trouble believing that it was real as her mother had, but was nonetheless delighted. After losing her dog at the age of 12, Carly was heartbroken, and never could have imagined that the day would come when she would see Abby again.
Fitting right in
Luckily, Debra need not have been concerned about Abby’s settling back in, as she made herself at home without a moment’s hesitation.
Abby made friends with the other two dogs without any trouble at all, now having two friends to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t go missing again. Not only that, but Abby actually remembered the tricks that Carly had taught her all those years ago – although she might be a little too old for some of them now!
Although it seems like dogs might be the natural culprit when it comes to disappearing, it’s by no means unheard of for a cat to go missing for a while as well.
Sometimes this is no big deal – after all, cats are normally very independent, and might well wander off for a few days before coming back the same as ever. However, one woman from New York had a cat who went for a decidedly longer walk, going missing for 11 years before being found again!
Carol O’Connell was an employee at the SPCA in Dutchess County, New York, who realized that her work had ended up coming home with her. One day, Carol spotted a cat who came by her house, and thought nothing of it.
However, the cat continued to return, appearing around Carol’s house for over three years. Noticing that the cat was looking worse and worse each time it visited, Carol realized that it must have been a stray, rather than a family cat wandering around as she had previously thought.
Making a connection
Carol decided to help the cat, but had a fairly big task ahead of her. Although it was near her house, it wasn’t entirely comfortable coming near her.
As such, she had to spend time gaining the cat’s trust, until it was eventually happy to interact with her properly. It took a couple of years, but Carol was finally able to get it to come into her house. Working at an SPCA, Carol had access to a chip scanning machine, and borrowed it to see if the cat had a family.
They find out it has a family
To Carol’s surprise, the cat did have a chip, and it had the details of a family on it! She immediately set about getting in contact with the family listed on the chip’s details – the Welz family, from Dutchess County, New York.
When Carol told the Welzs that she had found their cat, named Tiger, they found it hard to believe, as he had gone missing 11 years ago! Nonetheless, they were extremely excited to hear that he was safe and sound, and promised to come get him right away.
The cat is home again and happy
Before long, the Welzs had made their way to the Dutchess County SPCA, and were finally reunited with Tiger after more than a decade. Remarkably, Tiger was in excellent condition, despite 11 years of stray living.
The Weltzs were extremely grateful to Carol for winning the trust of their cat, and finally returning him to them. Although they weren’t sure whether Tiger would be able to settle back into his old home, he became comfortable with no trouble at all, and it was as if he had never left.
Chip chip hurray
Having a pet go missing is one of the worst fears of any family, as it can be devastating to lose the little life that loves and depends so much on its family.
While these stories were all happy endings, that was the case because Roxy, Abby, and Tiger had been chipped. Chipping pets is a vital way of making sure that should they go missing, their absence is a only a short one – and that even if they go missing for years, they can still be reconnected with their families.