(CBS) — It’s a reunion more than a decade in the making: Dutchess the dog escaped her yard in Florida way back in February 2007, CBS Pittsburgh reports. More than 12 years later, she was found under a shed in Pittsburgh.
Dutchess was just a puppy when she got lost; now the Fox Terrier is 14-years-old and has been reunited with her owner in Pittsburgh at the Humane Animal Rescue.
“I’m just so happy to have her back. I cried so many nights without her,” Katheryn Strang told CBS Pittsburgh. “I was at work, and my son, who was 12-years-old accidentally opened the door in the afternoon after school one day and we never saw her again.”
The dog was found Tuesday shivering, hungry and “in serious need of a nail trim.” The person who found her brought her to the Pittsburgh shelter, where they scanned her for a microchip.
Dutchess’s chip showed she was registered to Strang, who lives in South Florida.
No one knows exactly where Dutchess went or what she did in all that time and along all those miles, but Strang is thrilled to be getting her dog back. She says she never lost hope.
“I held out hope because I paid for that microchip every year,” said Strang. “It was $15 a year I wasn’t going to give up hope for that. Always hope.”
The shelter says Strang finished up the more than 18-hour drive on Friday to reunite with Dutchess. It was a happy, emotional reunion.
Dutchess is going home to her family and lots of other dogs to play with, including Strang’s two other Toy Fox Terriers.
Humane Animal Rescue says in honor of the incredible story, they will host a Microchipping Special through the end of the month for area pets in hopes that any dogs that go missing can be reunited with their owners – just like Dutchess.