PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s a reunion more than a decade in the making.
On Feb. 28, 2007, Dutchess somehow got out of her yard in Florida. More than 12 years and 1,000-plus miles later, she has been reunited with her owner right here in Pittsburgh.
WATCH: Owner and dog reunite!
When Dutchess got lost in Florida, she was just a puppy; now the long-lost Fox Terrier is 14-years-old.
The happy reunion took place Friday afternoon at Humane Animal Rescue on the North Side.
“I’m just so happy to have her back. I cried so many nights without her,” said Dutchess’s owner, Katheryn Strang. “I was at work, and my son, who was 12-years-old accidentally opened the door in the afternoon after school one day and we never saw her again.”
Shelter officials say Dutchess was found on Tuesday under a shed in Carnegie.
The dog was shivering, hungry and “in serious need of a nail trim.” The person who found her brought her to the Pittsburgh shelter, where they scanned her for a microchip.
Unbelievably, Dutchess’s chip showed she was registered to Strang, who is a resident of South Florida. HAR called Strang who told them, “I can’t believe you’re calling me right now. I can’t believe this is happening.”
Strang told shelter officials that she lost Dutchess in 2007. She put up lost posters and tried to find her pup, but could never track her down.
No one knows exactly where Dutchess went or what she did in all that time and along all those miles, but Strang is thrilled to be getting her dog back. She says she never lost hope.
“I held out hope because I paid for that microchip every year,” said Strang. “It was $15 a year, I wasn’t going to give up hope for that. Always hope.”
The shelter says Strang finished up the more than 18-hour drive today to reunite with Dutchess. It was a happy, emotional reunion, and Dutchess is going home to her family and lots of other dogs to play with, including Strang’s two other Toy Fox Terriers.
Humane Animal Rescue says in honor of the incredible story, they will host a Microchipping Special through the end of the month for area pets.
The special will be on a walk-in basis at the shelter’s North Side clinic or by making an appointment at the East End Clinic. For more information on the special, visit the shelter’s website here.