A family dog that had been missing for 10 years, and was presumed dead, was found just 250 miles away. The dog was old and sick, but reunited with his original family.
As WMBF (Myrtle Beach) reports, Charlie, a German Shorthaired Pointer, went missing from his family home in the Alabama town of Brewton way back in 2006. As days turned into weeks with no sign of Charlie, his owner, Tracy Dove, assumed he was dead.
Even though Charlie’s owners had implanted him with a microchip, and even though they had diligently kept their information updated on the missing pets database, they heard nothing from him.
Fast forward to this week; Renee Jones, who considers herself an animal rescuer, heard about an aged, stray dog that was found lying on the steps of a church in the Alabama town of Brewton, which is about 250 miles away from Charlie’s original home.
Renee and other volunteers took the dog to a Mobile animal clinic. Veterinarians there scanned the animal for a microchip, which is a routine procedure at many veterinary clinics these days. They found the chip, saw a phone number on the database, and made some phone calls.
Miraculously, the veterinary clinic was able to get into contact with Charlie’s owners, who had diligently kept their contact information updated in the database.
Jones says that Charlie’s story illustrates the importance of not only microchipping pets, but, just as importantly, being diligent about keeping your contact information up-to-date in the database. If you’ve lost a pet and he’s found, but no one can get a hold of you, then your pet is still lost.
“We often get dogs with microchips, but often the information hasn’t been updated and the phone numbers don’t work. When the number worked, it was pretty wild.”
Meanwhile, Charlie’s owner, Tracy, was shocked to hear about Charlie after all these years.
“I was shocked and at first I thought ‘This has got to be a scam’ because it’s been 10 years. They sent me a picture and I talked with them, and it’s my Charlie.”
Unfortunately, Charlie is a little bit worse for wear. He’s been missing for 10 years — almost a lifetime for a dog. He’s older, grayer, and he’s got a cancerous tumor on his abdomen.
— Canoe (@Canoe) April 29, 2016
An online fundraising account has been set up to cover the dog’s surgery, and he’ll have to spend a little while in Mobile while he recuperates. But, once he’s on the mend, he’ll be re-united with his original family to live out what time he has left.
“He’s too weak and sick to make the trip home, so I am going to stay down there with him until he’s well enough to come home. And then he’ll be my dog again.”
What happened to Charlie in those 10 years he was missing? No one can say for certain, but Tracy suspects he was stolen. Charlie’s breed is a popular and expensive breed of hunting dog; although, Tracy and her family kept him as a family pet and not a working dog.
“It’s an expensive hunting dog. We just kept him as a pet. He was a spoiled rotten pet.”
While Charlie’s story is uplifting and inspiring, unfortunately, far too many missing pets don’t make it home. You can help increase the odds of your missing pet making it home by considering having your pet microchipped, an inexpensive and routine procedure that your veterinarian can perform with a simple office visit. Once you microchip your pet, it is equally important to make sure you keep your contact information updated.
[Image via Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens]