An Incredible “Tail:” VAO reunites dog missing for 3 years with owner
Reuniting lost pets with their owners is nothing new for the Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO). This story, however, ends with a chance surrender that led the VAO to facilitate an extraordinary reunion over 100 miles away, finally resolving a stolen dog report issued three years prior in the Bronx, and demonstrating the immeasurable value of microchipping your pets.
Rihanna, a unique white boxer mix, was stolen from her home nearly three years ago, and after reporting the incident, her owners never gave up hope. But they were astonished and incredibly emotional to receive a phone call from Laurie Ballard, VAO Kennel Manager, saying she had their beloved Rihanna safe in her care… in a different state.
Laurie said, “This was an incredibly emotional situation… microchip information is not always current, so while we are thrilled when we discover that an animal who has come in is microchipped, it does not always mean they will be reunited with their owner. In this case, given all that the family and the dog had been through over nearly three years – nothing short of a miracle. Everyone at the Voorhees Animal Orphanage was thrilled to play a part in such a happy reunion.”
This dog’s journey has been one for the record books, and all the pieces may never be known. But after two VAO employees drove Rihanna on her homeward bound ride last weekend, it can now be said the happy ending her owners may have been beginning to doubt has indeed come.
Rihanna came to the VAO after being found in one of the 15 Camden County municipalities we serve. A scan of the newly arrived dog’s microchip yielded a New York address. Usually, when a chip shows in another state, it means the owners never updated it when they moved, or the animal has new owners who never registered their information. But when Laurie called the phone number registered to the microchip, the scale of events began to unfold. A stolen dog reported almost three years ago, the case still active and unresolved. This is an incredible situation where the microchip details, having remained current, led a stolen dog back to her owners.
The entire VAO community rallied around Rihanna and the opportunity to connect her to her long lost family. Staff and volunteers sprang into action to raise the funds needed for the door-to-door transport. We are thankful for the miracles that happen at the shelter once in while. Rihanna’s story reaffirms the importance of local shelters like the Voorhees Animal Orphanage, and stresses the importance of not just microchipping your pet, but ensuring that the registered information remains current. This is why every single animal the VAO adopts out is not just spayed or neutered and vaccinated, but also microchipped.
Jennifer Bailey, VAO Volunteer and Board Secretary, remarked, “A microchip, a pet Amber Alert, and a reunion three years in the works…? It sounded like the makings of a movie… If anything, since it was specifically the microchip that helped us connect a stolen dog back to her owners over 100 miles away, this case stresses the importance of microchipping your pets AND keeping the information current. This is why every single animal the VAO adopts out is not just spayed or neutered and vaccinated, but also microchipped. We just kicked off a capital campaign for a much-needed new facility precisely so we can continue serving the community in this way. Cases like this reinforce our role in – and commitment to – the community at large.”
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