I can’t imagine there’s a much better feeling than being reunited with your lost dog. It’s like seeing the end of The Wizard of Oz times ONE MILLION. “There’s no place like home” is right, sister! Every lost and found story is different, ranging from heartwarming, to humorous, to downright crazy, but the one thing they all have in common is a yappy ending. So sit down, grab a hankie, and prepare to FEEL.
Diana knew the rigors of her residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City would take its toll, so to keep her company, she adopted a 30-lb., black and tan Mutt mix named Zoey (pictured above) from an adoption agency in Puerto Rico. The pair bonded quickly, and loved learning about each others’ peccadilloes. One cold Sunday morning in October, Diana’s dad was walking Zoey through Central Park when, spooked by an approaching dog, she pulled out of her collar, and took off. What happened in the next week is a story you won’t believe.
Diana and her family’s hunt for Zoey began immediately, including plastering thousands of “Lost Dog” posters all over Manhattan, several Craigslist ads, false leads, and a potential sighting underneath the George Washington Bridge. And the search crew seemed to grow by the day—volunteers from a local adoption agency distributed posters, even the Chief of the Central Park branch of the NYPD helped in the search.
“One day I was hanging a poster outside of a church when these little old ladies came up, gave me a hug, and told me they would ask Jesus to find my dog,” says Diana, pictured with her pup below.
Exactly one week to the hour since Zoey had gone missing, Diana and her mother were waking around East Harlem looking for her pup, but really just chatting about how they would memorialize her, perhaps a burial in the backyard with her toys, or donating her crate to a shelter, when her phone rang and a mysterious woman said she thought she had their dog. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up, particularly after all the prank calls we got, so I told her to snap a photo and send it to me. It was my Zoey.”
A lovely couple had recovered Zoey limping along in Riverside Park not far from the George Washington Bridge, put a scarf around her neck to guide her along, and, on their way home, stumbled across Diana’s poster. The rest is history. Diana nursed her baby girl back to health (Zoey suffered three pelvic fractures on her journey) and they’ve been together ever since.
“To this day, I call every person’s number when I see a lost dog poster,” says Diana. “I tell them not to give up hope.”
Another pup, an Australian Cattle Dog named Sophie (pictured below), went on a death-defying odyssey of her own, one that took her from the shark-infested waters off the coast of Queensland, Australia, to a remote island where she survived for four months by hunting goats and evading predators. How did she get here, you ask? Sophie was enjoying a day out on the boat with her family, when she fell overboard into choppy waters and disappeared.
Her owners spent the rest of the day searching for her, but eventually came to believe that the wake of the boat had overpowered their pup. Turns out that Sophie was quite a prodigious swimmer in fact, and had paddled five miles to St. Bee’s Island. Nearly half a year later, local rangers captured her, and she was reunited with her family who had reached out to the rangers after hearing the story in the news. And so concludes the best episode of Survivor ever.
This next story might not do much to strengthen your trust in strangers, but it will prove that no matter how much time has passed, it’s still possible to recover your pup. On a balmy afternoon in West Austin, Texas, three-year old Marie was out on the porch holding her brand-new, poodle puppy Frenchie. Her mother, who was careful to show Marie how to handle the pup, had stepped inside for no more than two minutes, when she heard Marie crying, ran out, and listened as her daughter told her that a strange man had ran up to the porch, plucked Frenchie right out of her hands, and drove away with pup inside. The story seemed nearly impossible.
Nevertheless, the family searched for Frenchie for weeks, finally conceding that the pup was gone. Then, two years later, Marie’s Godmother was driving past a house in the next neighborhood over, when she spotted a poodle tied up to a tree. Trusting her instincts, she untied the dog, and took him back to Marie who knew instantly that it was Frenchie. Later that day, the vet confirmed it was in fact her long-lost pup.
Of course there are the more humorous renditions of this lost and found story, including that of Holly, so named because she was adopted over Christmas. One spring day, while her family was doing yard work, Holly, a friendly black lab, set out to roam the wooded acres behind her house, which had become one of her favorite pastimes over the past five years. While she was at the edge of the property, a man drove by in a pickup truck, and, assuming she had wandered from home, picked Holly up and put her in his car with the intention of either rescuing her, or returning her to her owners.
“It was almost closing time at the dump, and he wanted to get there on time, so he just took her for the ride,” recalls Kim, Holly’s owner.
Once he got there and inspected her collar, however, he realized that the address on her tags was in fact the location where he had picked her up. Both Holly and her chauffeur returned with their tails between their legs later that day.