8 Years Later, the Dog Came Home

Editor’s Note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on January 2, 2012. Enjoy!

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.


Photo of Kiva the Pit via stock.xchng

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven7 months ago

thanks for the article.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H.9 months ago

To me, it seems, that someone had to have taken her. If she were on her own the whole time she would have been in worse shape. It is great that she was able to be found and returned home. My girls are microchipped. Thanks for sharing.

Kamia T.
Kamia T.9 months ago

So sad that the poor pup was taken. Whether she got out or someone assumed she would be good for use in a dog-fighting or breeding program, who knows. It must have been crazy traveling that far! Glad she finally got back to her family. One of the reasons I don't let my pups roam any more wherever they feel like.

Sally H.
Sally H.9 months ago

Grea story. So pleased they were reunited. My cat disappeared 9 months ago which broke my heart. It's so nice Petunia and her family have a happy outcome.

Susan N.
S. N.9 months ago

Incredible ... !

Nanette A.
Nanette a.9 months ago


paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell9 months ago


Hent catalina - maria


Karen Ryan
Karen Ryan9 months ago

Even in eight years, that is one heck of a long walk.

gail k.
gail k.9 months ago

Wow, i hear stories like this often now that microchip are available.