Saturday, April 18, 2015

Great reunion video of Texas dog being returned from McHenry County Illinois

Last night one very lost dog got her own fairy tale ending in Austin, Texas when she was flown home from McHenry County, Illinois. Philia is a year old Siberian Husky and she disappeared from her Austin home in July. Barely two weeks later she was scanned at McHenry County Animal Control and was discovered to have a Home Again microchip registered to her owner, Jodi, in Austin.

Now came the problem, how to get Philia back to Jodi? Jodi put posters up when Philia disappeared, but she was bewildered to hear her dog was in Chicago. The dog could not have walked there! Luckily for everyone, Philia was at McHenry County’s municipal shelter, which has one of the highest “return to owner” rates in the country. Over half of the dogs that end up there, end up back home again. There are maybe a dozen shelters which can boast that. So, McHenry staff saw having a dog that belonged across the country as a problem to be solved.

The veterinarian on staff, Dr. Lisa Lembke, contacted Susan Taney, Director of Lost Dogs Illinois(LDI.) LDI is an all volunteer website which helps reunite lost dogs by providing assistance to people who have lost and found dogs. In turn, Ms. Taney contacted Lost Dogs of Texas (LDOT), which performs the same service for Texas residents. (Disclosure, this writer is the Director of LDOT.) There were some communication issues because Philia’s owner Jodi is deaf. LDOT just made sure everyone stayed in touch and knew what was happening.

McHenry County staff kept Philia happy and healthy for over five weeks while trying to figure out how she could get home. Transporting a dog is expensive and could not be covered by a municipal shelter. Philia’s owner was between jobs and here is where Philia found a second champion. Home Again microchip company heard Philia’s story and offered to pay for her to fly home.

Yet again Philia got lucky. Dogs can’t usually fly cargo when it is summer in Texas. However, Delta has a “Summer Live Animal” program which allows animals to fly into some cities, including Austin. Dogs fly cargo, but are put on the plane last and taken off first. They stay in air conditioned vans during any layovers, which Philia did in Atlanta.

When she arrived in Austin last night, Philia walked tentatively out of her crate into the arms of her family. Jodi brought her son and a friend and that dog went crazy dashing from one to the other and licking their faces. It was a perfect happy ending. Even the Delta agent wanted to see it and stayed after her shift.

How did Philia get from Austin to Chicago? We will never know, and truthfully, that is not near as interesting as how she got home.


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