After missing for more than five years, and traveling more than 270 miles from home, one local dog has been returned to his family.
Sammy, a 9-year-old poodle mix, went missing after his owner Stephanie Kissinger let him out to for his normal restroom duties.
“He was outside for maybe 15 minutes,” she said. “When I went to bring him back in, he was just gone.”
Kissinger said her back yard is fenced. She was convinced that the dog — four years old at the time — had been stolen. It was difficult not knowing if her pet was dead or alive, or being mistreated, she said.
Sammy eventually turned up in Hugo, Okla. a small community on the Oklahoma/Texas border. Kissinger said a local resident found the dog and took him to safety.
“It was raining when she found him,” Kissinger said. “He tried to come into the building that she managed, so she took him to the vet’s office.”
The vet scanned the dog to see if there was a chip that would make it possible to find the owner. Sammy was a still registered with Kissinger’s phone number.
“It was incredible that they found him so far away, five years later, because he was chipped,” she said.
Kissinger said she was suspicious when she received the call telling her the dog had been found.
“I originally thought the number was from a telemarketer,” she said.
Jean Wissinger, office manager for the Ark Veterinary Association, said the woman who found the dog brought it all the way back to Ark City and returned it to the owners.
Kissinger said the dog was very glad to be home, and had not forgotten her or her husband, Sherman.
“He tried to crawl out of the passenger window,” she said. “He was very excited and I got kisses. He was very happy.”
After being examined by Dr. Melissa Raymond at the vet clinic, Sammy was found to be in good general health but needs some dental work and serious grooming attention.
“He definitely needs a shave,” she said. “His fur is very matted and you can’t even see his tail.”
Kissinger said she was glad that her dog had been chipped and hopes her story encourages others to give their pets that same protection.
“The chip has your phone number and the dog’s ID and name,” she said. “It gets implanted in the back of their neck. It’s really helpful.”