Janece Parsons had given up hope after her two Jack Russell terriers went missing five years ago. A call she received Tuesday changed everything.
One of those two dogs, Army, was miraculously found safe and identified thanks to a microchip, Parsons said Thursday.
Parsons and her family retrieved their 16-year-old dog from the shelter when it opened Wednesday morning.
Army has arthritis and can’t hear, “but that’s ok, he’s back in his loving home,” Parsons wrote on Facebook.
“You lose hope after a year or two,” Parsons said Thursday. “When you get that call, it’s like something you see on the news when a missing child is found. Then you start getting all these thoughts. They are a family member, they’ve been gone a long time, you don’t know what they’ve been through.”
Because Army is deaf, he did not respond to his name being called.
“Once he got close to me, when he could smell me, he started smiling and licking me like, ‘Where have you been?’” Parsons said.
Parsons said she and her husband, who live in Oldham County, visited a friend in Hardin County in April 2014 when the dogs went missing. She said the men were shooting guns at the range and it scared off the dogs.
They went door to door to help look for the dogs and posters were later placed around town. But there was never any sign of Army and Leia.
Leia remains missing, but Army was picked up after animal control received a call Tuesday night about an abandoned older terrier, the Hardin County Animal Shelter said.
Parsons advised owners to microchip their pets and keep their contact information updated.
“The only thing that brought him home five years later is that microchip,” she said.
Microchips are radio-frequency identification implants that provide a permanent ID for pets, according to petfinder.com. A microchip will normally last a pet’s lifetime, the website said.
Miranda Dawson, the receptionist at Hardin County Animal Shelter, stressed the importance of microchips.
“A lot of people think it’s very expensive but at most vet offices you can get it done for $20 or even less,” she said. “Once it’s in there, it’s there for good. They are a wonderful, wonderful thing.”
Parsons said she had assumed Army had died. She had gotten a new dog, named Roxie.
“It’s one of those things where you’ve already had it planned in your head he’s not here, so it’s that flood of happiness that makes you cry. It’s indescribable,” Parsons said.
Roxie is adjusting to the new, older dog in the house despite “having to share tummy rubs & neck scratches,” Parsons wrote on Facebook.
Parsons said Army is now a mellow dog after being “crazy” as a puppy.
While Parsons had Army since he was a puppy, the reunion was just as meaningful for her daughter, who was 3 years old when the dogs went missing. Parsons said the dogs were her daughter’s best friends when she was a young child.
Dawson, who has worked at the animal shelter for four years, said the reunion between Parsons and Army was exceptional.
“This is the first time I’ve seen one this long,” Dawson said. “The longest one I could think of before this was when an owner and their dog were reunited after eight months.”
The year the dogs were lost has been corrected in this story. The correct year is 2014.