Gunner, a fun loving golden retriever had no way of knowing he would cause his family such heartache 20 months ago when he decided to go for an unexpected run and not return. Each day his family hoped that Gunner would find his way home. When that didn’t happen they had to wonder if a bigger tragedy had befallen him.
Each year a countless number of our furry friends escape from their owners and end up lost. They become part of the family, so when this happens their humans are understandably distraught. Many owners do take the responsibility of micro-chipping their pets. If a stranger finds the animal and does not take it to a veterinarian to be scanned, or the animal is not caught, the microchip cannot do its job. Fortunately, Gunner’s story has a happier ending.
Gunner’s family never gave up hope that they would one day see their beloved pet. Almost two years went by before they received a call from the City of Pittsburgh Animal Care & Control pet shelter. Concerned neighbors had contacted the Allegheny County Dog Warden to let them know that a golden retriever had been running around loose in their area.
The warden was not only able to catch Gunner but was pleasantly surprised to scan the microchip and be able to contact the family with the wonderful news.
When the family showed up to the shelter Gunner sat quietly on a leash, waiting for their arrival. Perhaps, he might have been thinking he might be in a little bit of trouble. Running away for 20 months was a lot worse than peeing on the carpet or stealing a blueberry muffin off of the kitchen counter.
As a large man walks up to him, Gunner tentatively sniffs him at first. But within seconds he clearly recognizes the man’s scent and realizes this is his family.
The man crouches down and Gunner lovingly licks his face. Gunner eagerly raises his paws over the man’s shoulders in a heartwarming embrace. For several minutes, Gunner alternately kisses and hugs his owner, clearly having missed his family and glad to be going home again.
While he probably needs a warm bath and a thorough brushing, Gunner’s owners are surprised at how much weight he has gained. Gunner obviously had eaten well on his travels. While they will never know what Gunner was doing while he was away, if he could, he would probably have some amazing stories to tell. The shelter workers explained that animals are resourceful and can survive on their own if need be.
Gunner’s family will always remember the day he left and most certainly the day he returned. They will probably be keeping doors and gates locked and an extra tight hold on his leash during walks, to ensure they never have to go through that devastation again.
They are so thankful to have Gunner home, knowing he is safe and cared for. I’m sure Gunner is happy to, but maybe every so often he dreams about his great adventure and smiles in his sleep.