Reunited and it's doggone good

ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) -- With the help of local organizations, a man and his dog have re-united after the canine went missing almost 7 years ago.

Brenda was reunited with her owner in San Diego after 7 years. (Source: Arnold Veterinary Hospital)

Carmen Fuentes was in Abbeville to find out how the dog and its owner, 2,000 miles apart, were reunited.

Back in October 2019 animal control officer, Dave Rice was notified of some stray dogs in Shorterville.

"Got a call that there were some dogs that were roaming down close to the dam,” Rice said.

Rice apprehended the dogs and took them to the Arnold Veterinary Hospital in Abbeville to be examined before taking them to SHARK, or Safe Haven Animal Rescue and Kennels.

"We can't put any dogs with our other ones until we know they're healthy enough, and not going to transmit and viruses or anything” Rice explained.

The vet team performed their typical routine examination.

"[She was} a little underweight, fleas, ticks, internal parasites that kind of thing” explained Deana Jones, vet assistant, and office manager at Arnold Veterinary Hospital.

It wasn't until they scanned her for a microchip that they found out Brenda, the 8-year-old English bulldog mix, did in fact have a home in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jones says, "We were under the impression he was still in New Orleans. And then when I talked to him the next day is when we found out that he had actually relocated to San Diego."

Damien Pagoaga lost Brenda while moving from New Orleans to San Diego at the end of 2013.

"He was just in disbelief, so emotional. He never thought he would see her again” Jones said.

Figuring out how to get Brenda to San Diego was a challenge.

Dave Rice says, “We tried reaching out for animal transports that go around the country. We tried a couple of the airplane groups that do it.”

Then the staff at Arnold Veterinary Hospital found the Many Paws Volunteer Transport Team on Facebook.

"We were able to, ultimately, put together a relay,” Rice explains.

That relay team consisted of 30 members that took turns driving and handing off Brenda to the next person.

Dave Rice was first in line.

"I was fortunate enough, actually really honored to be able to do the first trip from here in Abbeville out to Jackson, Mississippi."

Then on Monday evening Brenda and Damien were reunited after 6 long years.

"Minutes seemed like hours waiting until we could see the actual video of Brenda meeting her family. It was a long night but well worth it” Rice detailed.

Veterinarians recommend you chip your pets and keep your animal's microchip information up-to-date.

You can send donations for SHARK to P.O. Box 126 Abbeville, AL 36310.

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