By Valerie Trumps
Pet owners use social media, hang flyers on phone poles, post for help in classifieds, and even go door-to-door in search of their lost furry friends. Sometimes it works and owners find their beloved pets. Other times, what some might call a miracle is all that stands between a pet coming home and being lost forever. And then there are the times when it is the pet who fearlessly makes its way back home. Here are 10 heartwarming and hope filled stories of lost pets who have found their way home.
When Mark Wessels had to give up his young dog, Bucky, because his community in South Carolina banned dogs, he left Bucky with his father in Virginia. But Bucky decided he wanted none of that and trekked the 500 miles back to South Carolina on his own. Once there he found a safe temporary home with a friendly yellow lab named Hannah and from there it was only a matter of time before a vet check found his microchip and he was reunited with Mark.
Holly, a 4-year-old domestic tortoiseshell, became separated from her parents, Jacob and Bonnie Richter, while vacationing with them 190 miles from their home. After fireworks scared her into running out the door, the Richters worked with local authorities and handed out flyers to try to find her but were unsuccessful. Sixty days later, emaciated and too weak to meow, Holly wandered into a neighbor’s yard close to her home, was taken to the vet and scanned for identification, and was then happily reunited with her owners.
After the previous loss of a pet bird, Fumie Takahashi taught his next bird, a budgie named Piko-Chan, some very useful words—most notably his address. After Piko-Chan strayed too far from his Yokohama, Japan coop and was intercepted by police, the bird told them where he lived and was quickly reunited with his clever owner.
Manuela, a red-footed tortoise owned by the Almeida family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, went missing in 1982. But 30 years later, Leandro Almeida discovered her beloved turtle while clearing out an old room that had been used for junk storage. Manuela had been nestled among the junk the whole time, presumably living on a diet of insects.
When Brittany Wallace outgrew her beloved childhood horse, Scribbles, she thought she had found the perfect home with a woman who promised that Scribbles would be safe and loved. Brittany visited her old companion frequently, until the day when she disappeared. The woman refused to give her information on Scribbles’s whereabouts, but eventually Scribbles was found — a picture of her, bleeding and injured, had been posted on a Facebook page; she was on her way to a meat slaughterhouse. Thankfully, there is a happy ending, which you can read more about here.
Ginger’s “dad,” Jamie, lost contact with Ginger, his basset hound, when his ex-wife took custody of her at the time of their 2003 divorce. Ten years later, Ginger was an adoption candidate at a local shelter after being surrendered by Jamie’s ex. Jamie recognized her description – even without a photo – while browsing the listings. At their first meeting after all those years, Ginger came right over to Jamie, kissed him, and hasn’t left his side since.
Ginger, a four-year-old, one-eyed cat, escaped from his cage while on a visit to the veterinarian. He then spent ten days in frigid weather, braving a blizzard and busy roadways to make his way back home — five miles from the vet’s office.
The O’Donovan family lost their dog, Buster, after he high-tailed it out of their home in Belle Harbor, Queens in New York City following Hurricane Sandy. With no electricity and no Internet, Ms. O’Donovan could not do a proper search for Buster. By chance a rescue worker who kept track of the nightly euthanasia lists recognized Buster and texted Ms. O’Donovan, who rushed to the shelter just in time to save Buster from his morning appointment.
When nine-year-old Turner went missing the Hafner family feared a coyote had eaten him. Fortunately, the Hafner’s were rewarded for their diligence. Two years later a rescue group found the 11-year-old cat five miles from his home and located his owners thanks to Turner’s microchip implant.
In what could only be dubbed a “Christmas Miracle,” Abby the blind, mixed breed dog made her way through miles of frozen Alaskan terrain until she found a warm home to take her in. She had become lost during a snowstorm, but amazingly had not suffered any of the effects of the freezing temperatures. Abby had no microchip, but Mark May, the dog musher who found her and took her in, successfully used social media to track her family down.