A Michigan family is finally together again – four long years after their, then 8-year old, dog ran away from home and vanished.
Bradley Wieferich thought someone was prank calling him when he received a voicemail that his dog, Bambi, who’d been missing for more than 4 years, had been found.
He returned the call to Lucas County Canine Care & Control in Toledo, Ohio, about 120-miles away. That’s when he learned that Toledo Police had found Bambi wandering alone and brought her to the shelter where staff scanned her for a microchip.
“She was very thin, but very sweet,” said Laura Simmons-Wark, community outreach coordinator for the county shelter. “Who knows where she’s been all this time. We have no idea how she made it all the way down here.”
Several years ago, the Wieferich family lost their beloved Golden retriever – and Bambi’s companion, Rusty, to cancer. After Rusty passed away, Bambi began escaping the home and running away. Although the family adopted another dog in hopes of providing comfort and companionship for Bambi, four years ago, she escaped again and simply disappeared.
The family searched for Bambi for months, but there was no sign of her. They believed that either someone had taken her or she’d died. They eventually gave up hope of ever seeing her again.
That was until they received the unexpected phone call last week. Now 12-years old, Bambi has changed quite a bit. In fact, when he first visited the shelter to be reunited, Wieferich walked right past her. “Her face had paled in color so much,” he said. But, as soon as they recognized each other, Bambi began howling her familiar greeting.
“I’m really amazed that she’s back,” Wieferich told The Toledo Blade. Although the children and their other dog are older and the family are living in a different house, they say Bambi is settling right back in – she even remembers her old training and tricks.
Simmons-Wark said Bambi’s family reunion shows the importance of microchipping and of keeping the information registered to a pet’s microchip up to date even after that pet goes missing. “If she had been scanned at any point in these four years, she could have been back home sooner,” she said. “So it’s also a good reminder that if you find a dog, take it to get scanned. Not all stray dogs are homeless; some are just lost.”