For a handsome Pit Bull, Ty (short for Tyson) and his family, October 11th, 2011 will always be a special day. That’s when they were reunited after Ty had been lost for almost 2 weeks. Let’s backtrack: I work for Pacific Coast Dog Rescue (www.pcdogrescue.org), one of the largest rescue organizations in the Los Angeles area. We house about 100 rescue dogs, some of which are special needs dogs who need regular medical attention. Consequently, I spend a lot of time at our vet, Animal Medical Center in Van Nuys, CA.
On September 30th, while I was waiting in the vet’s lobby, a man brought in a very sweet neutered male Pit Bull. The man had found him on the street nearby. No collar and no tags. (NOTE from the author: I have picked up about 300 dogs from the streets within the last 8 years. Only 4 of those dogs had tags and nearly none of them were spayed/neutered). But the dog seemed very well taken care of, he was in good shape and was pretty clean, as if he just had a bath.
According to procedure, the dog was scanned for a microchip. An AVID chip was located so the vet contacted the microchip company. The dog had been chipped to a woman who now lives in Colorado and had given the dog to somebody else. When that person was contacted, they claimed to have given the dog to somebody else. The number provided on the chip lead to one dead end after another.
So the options for this poor baby weren’t great: if he was brought to the shelter, he would most likely be euthanized after a few days (the six Los Angeles City Shelters and the six Los Angeles County Shelters euthanize an average of about 1,200 Pit Bulls PER WEEK). Since our rescue is full, and most other rescues are full, we asked the vet to hold on to this handsome boy for a little while. We were going to do our best to try and find him a home. The reality is that it takes several months, sometimes years, to find a GOOD home for a Pit Bull, especially an adult Pit Bull. Ty was estimated to be between 5 to 7 years old. Most people want puppies or young (1-2 year old) dogs, and most people do not want Pit Bulls. In short, we needed a miracle. And that’s what we got, but in a different (and much better) way than expected.
Our volunteer Leslie, and I met on Tuesday, October 11th at the vet’s office to take Ty (who we had named Stanley) out in the neighborhood for a photo and video shoot. We were going to post his info on several websites to try and find him a home. We found a nice, shady, grassy area to take photos in, and we gave him some toys and a little bandana so he would look extra cute in his pictures. We took a ton of great photos and decided to take a walk in the neighborhood nearby to find a nice spot for a video. As we were walking, I told Leslie how funny it would be if the Ty’s owners just happened to see us walking him.
After a little walk, we settled on a nice lawn and Leslie and Ty were the stars of our little adoption video. Having captured some great photos and footage, we started walking back to our car. Suddenly, an SUV pulled up next to us and a woman rolled down the window. She was very excited and asked us if we had found this dog. We told her that somebody had found him and brought him to our vet. She shouted, “That’s our dog! It’s Ty! He has been missing for almost 2 weeks!” I still get goosebumps when I think about this moment. They stopped their car in the middle of the street and the woman, her husband, and their daughter jumped out of the car. They were in complete shock as they embraced Ty. It was a wonderful reunion, with Ty snuggling up in their arms.
I asked the woman, whose name was Debra, to show us some proof that Ty was really their missing dog. She showed us pictures of Ty on her cellphone, and it was clearly him! Everybody kept talking over everyone else because it was such a great moment. Debra, her husband Michael, and their daughter were in total disbelief that they just happened to be driving down this street at the right moment. What a miracle! And then they told us what had happened to Ty…
They had bathed him (remember, when he was found and brought into the vet’s office, it seemed like he had just had a bath) and then let him go potty in the yard. They left for a couple of hours to give food to the homeless people in the area, which they do regularly. While they were gone, it started to rain. Ty had a history of getting anxiety when the weather was bad. So, in his anxiousness, he chewed through the fence and got out. He wasn’t wearing his collar/tag since he had just had a bath and was drying off. (NOTE from the author: Please make sure to never let your dog into the yard without proper ID. Keep your dog indoors after a bath until you put collar/tags back on the dog.) Debra and Michael had adopted Ty about 6 years ago from a local, well known rescue who FAILED to check/change the microchip information, which could have resulted in Ty’s death if he had ended up in the shelter. We all went back to the vet’s office because I couldn’t release Ty to his family without getting approval from the vet. Dr. Nunez and the staff at Animal Medical Center were overjoyed about the wonderful news. Everybody had fallen in love with Ty during his short stay there.
Ironically, Debra had been referred to Animal Medical Center by a friend right before Ty had gotten out. Ty had a minor skin problem that they wanted to get checked out. The vet that was referred to them happened to be the same vet that Ty was brought to when he was found. Michael told us that he had just bought steak and fish for Ty right before his disappearance. When he went missing, they had checked the shelters (both in person and online), made lost dog posters, and posted ads on Craigslist and other pet search engines. They also recently had their fence reinforced with a metal grating so that none of their dogs would ever get out again.
When they were reunited, Michael rushed home to get Ty’s collar, tag, and leash. After we said an emotional goodbye to Ty, he and his family, now complete again, went home to reunite Ty with his little dog brother!