It may always be a mystery how 7-year old Gidget, a Jack Russel terrier, went missing from her home in Pennsylvania and ended up nearly 3,000 miles away in Oklahoma. But, thanks to her microchip, she’ll finally get to go back home!
Gidget went missing from her Huntington, Pennsylvania home on April 22. Five months later, she was spotted by a former shelter volunteer wandering along a road in Tualatin, Oregon – about 2,700 miles from home!
Luckily, Gidget was microchipped, so workers at the Bonnie L. Hayes Small Animal Shelter in Tualatin were quickly able to identify her owner. Needless to say, her owner was shocked when she got the phone call that Gidget had been found.
“She was very surprised and excited,” Shelia Farrin, the shelter technician who identified Gidget, explained to The Oregonian. “She was like ‘I have no idea how she got all the way out there.'”
While it’s physically possible for a dog, even a small terrier like Gidget, to walk across the country in the length of time that she was missing, it’s unlikely that the 14-pound dog made the trip on her own.
Gidget was about 19 pounds when she went missing. A dog taking a 3,000-mile journey by foot, without a steady diet, would certainly have lost more than 5 pounds over 5 months. Additionally, shelter workers said Gidget showed no signs of trauma, is well-behaved, and happy to meet everyone.
They can only speculate as to how Gidget made her cross-country journey.
“Was it a long-haul trucker? Was it someone heading out West to start a new life? Did she make five stops?” said Jen Keene, the shelter’s education coordinator.
The only problem now was getting Gidget back home to Pennsylvania. Her owner, who wished to remain anonymous, desperately wanted her little girl back, but couldn’t afford the trip across the country to get her.
Though dozens of good samaritans stepped forward, offering to take Gidget back home – she’s small enough to ride in the cabin of a plane as carry-on luggage, it was the microchip company, PetLink, that stepped up to make the reunion possible.
PetLink will be covering all expenses related to getting Gidget back home.
“The company is working out the details today, but it will definitely be happening,” Deborah Wood, manager of Animal Services for Washington County, said in a statement Thursday.
While microchips can’t provide an exact location of your dog, should he go missing, they do provide a permanent way to identify him when he’s found. Thankfully, Gidget’s family had her microchipped and kept her microchip registration up to date and with current contact information.
(In fact, if your dog is microchipped, now’s a great time to log into your microchip account and verify that everything is correct!)