Petey, a four-year-old Jack Russell terrier, is to be reunited with his owner today after disappearing from his home in Tennessee only to be found wandering in a suburban backyard in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
"After months of searching, a happy reunion is finally in sight for Petey," according to the Michigan Humane Society. The energetic poochwas found to have a microchip implanted under his skin when he was brought to the group's Rochester Hills Center for Animal Care.
The animal rights organization then contacted Petey's owner in Tennessee and that set the wheels in motion to have the small dog transported home.
Petey had disappeared from the home of his owner Jim Arrighi July 28. Arrighi and family searched tirelessly for the Jack Russell with no luck; they made and distributed flyers, posted their predicament on Facebook, and ran ads in the local paper, but were unable to locate the Arrighi's faithful companion.
Arrighi's wife of 37 years, Juanita, 77, died Oct. 12, reported the Detroit Free Press, but he didn't give up hope of finding his dog. The family continued to search, and thought he must have been stolen by someone driving through Tennessee when he didn't return home.
After being contacted by the Michigan Humane Society, Arrihi's stepdaughter, Tyanne Morrison, 54, said, "He’s tickled to death. We’ve hunted and hunted everywhere. He’s had pictures put in the paper. We put posters up everywhere. We rode around on four wheelers in the area, so we knew he wasn’t hit by a car."
Arrighi thinks his deceased wife helped Petey find his way home. "That’s what he thinks -- he truly thinks that," Morrison said. "A lot of people think that. They think she was looking over him."
The animal shelter had dozens of volunteers who offered to drive Petey to Tennessee. Volunteer Nancy Greiser took on the task of driving over 500 miles to return to Petey to his family. She was to arrive last night and meet Arrighi on Thursday morning.
Marcelena Mace, shelter manager said, “This story put a smile on the faces of our entire adoption center team. It’s wonderful when we see microchip reunions, including those that seem like miracles. It really proves that no matter how far your pet may travel, a microchip can help him find his way home!”
The Michigan Humane Society and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend that "all dogs and cats be implanted with a microchip – a permanent and unalterable form of identification – in addition to ensuring they wear a collar and I.D. tags."
Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted under the skin of the animal by a veterinarian. The process is similar to a shot and not considered painful. The AVMA stresses the importance of updating your contact information with the microchip registry to facilitate the return of a lost pet. The AVMA said a third of the cats and half the dogs implanted with a microchip are eventually returned to their owners.