It took 331 days, but a lost dog has finally been reunited with its owner.
Back on a rainy day in October 2020, Lisa Raulerson accidentally left the gate to her West Palm Beach home open and her 16-year-old dog Sparky escaped, she told local station WPTV-TV.
Despite putting up lost-dog fliers throughout her neighborhood for weeks, the Westie was not found.
Raulerson told the station she and her family assumed the dog passed away because of his age.
“We pretty much figured he passed away,” Raulerson said. “It was sad because he was part of us and we talked about him every day.”
A few weeks ago, luck stepped in: Raulerson said she was scrolling through Sunshine State Westie Rescue’s Facebook page and locked eyes with her lost pet.
“I feel like a void in my heart was filled,” Raulerson said, holding the sweet, light-haired dog. “I never thought I’d see him again but here he is. I wish he could talk.”
On its Facebook page, the rescue says Sparky had been pulled in as a stray from animal control on Sept. 9; though he carried a microchip, it was not registered.
The reunion two days later prompted the facility to send a warning to followers regarding the importance of registering microchips as “your first and best option” to track down your lost dog. The FB page post also noted that the Westie was brought back to its owner the same day it was set to be euthanized.
“That is a very unusual circumstance,” said the rescue. “Just a blessing for all involved.”
Bev O’Keefe, a spokeswoman for Sunshine State Westie Rescue, told the Miami Herald that Sparky didn’t get far, and was found in West Palm Beach — just miles away from his home. But she doesn’t think he was wandering around in the streets the entire time.
“We think that a 16-year-old, nearly deaf dog had to be picked up by someone and cared for until he got away or was dropped off somewhere and picked up by animal control,” O’Keefe said. “It would be great if we had more rescues like this one.”