A dog missing ten years is finally about to return home. This heartwarming story of uniting “Charlie,” a German Shorthaired Pointer, with his owner comes out of Birmingham, Alabama, and contains a lesson for all dog lovers – protect your pet with a microchip registration, and even if a decade goes by, your lost friend may one day be home again.
Reports The Associated Press on April 29: “Tracy Dove assumed the worst after her 1-year-old dog named Charlie disappeared in 2006. Days without the animal turned into years, and Dove figured the brown-and-white pointer was dead.”
But two hundred miles to the south of Birmingham, in a town called Brewton near the Florida border, Charlie had taken up residence on the steps of a local church. A phone call from a concerned neighbor to an animal rescue clinic led to Charlie being picked up and taken to the Spring Hill Animal Clinic in Mobile, where a worker found his microchip.
“We often get dogs with microchips, but often the information hasn’t been updated and the phone numbers don’t work,” commented animal rescuer Renee Jones said. Jones is also the director of Souls on Board Rescue Ride, a nonprofit organization that promotes adoptions at Petsmart and Petco locations in Florida. “When the number worked, it was pretty wild.”
Fortunately for Charlie, Dove, whose son was only eight years old when Charlie disappeared, kept her locator information up to date. When the call came that Charlie, who is now 12 years old and sports quite a bit of gray in his muzzle, had been found, Dove broke down into tears.
“I was shocked, overwhelmed. I cried,” Dove said in an interview with the AP on Thursday. “It’s amazing. 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.”
Dove believes someone who wanted him as a hunting dog stole Charlie from her home back in 2006. “It’s an expensive hunting dog. We just kept him as a pet,” she said. “He was a spoiled rotten pet.”
The road back home for Charlie however will not be easy. The lost dog has a cancerous tumor is his chest, which will need to be removed. Charlie is currently at the Springhill Veterinary Clinic, according to WKRG News out of Mobile, Alabama, where he is recovering after having the mass taken out.
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Dove said she planned to travel to be with Charlie until he is well enough to make the trip home. “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,” she said. “And then he’ll be my dog again.”