After Petunia finished eating, the Pruitts let her out of their Fredericksburg, Virginia home. That was a few days after Thanksgiving 2003, the day the American Staffordshire terrier disappeared without a trace. The family feared the worst. With a chip in her ear, Petunia would surely have been returned — unless she had been killed or scooped up for a dogfighting ring.
Eight years later, Meg Eden called the Pruitts from California. The wildlife biologist had been had been walking her dogs in the Spenceville Wildlife Area in central California. She saw the stray and took the friendly dog home for the night.
The next day, Eden took the dog to the Yuba County Animal Care Services. Staff scanned the dog and discovered Petunia had a microchip in her ear, with contact information for Kristin Pruitt. They called her surprised owners in Virginia and made arrangements for the now 11-year-old dog to fly home for the holidays.
Petunia was hungry and thirsty, but in good shape when she was found. She has no way of telling the story of eight lost years, but her adventure is the best possible advertising for microchips. About the size of a grain of rice, the tiny implants are inserted under the skin. Coded with identifying information about the dog and its owner, they allow shelters to reunite families with their pets.
As for Petunia, it appears she has a yen for adventure. Writing about her eight-year sojourn for the Washington Post, Susan Svrluga wrote:
“She does seem to be the kind of dog who loves to wander, Kristen Pruitt said. Sometimes, Petunia will stop outside and just stare off into the woods.”
Watch a video of Petunia shortly after she was found, here.
Washington Post created a slideshow of Petunia and the Pruitts here.
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