Man Reunited With Beloved Shih Tzu After 5-Year Search

A Shih Tzu named Bandit disappeared five years ago. But he wasn’t gone forever.

Bandit’s person, Mike, and Mike’s nieces kept looking for the dog, whom Mike had fought to keep in his divorce settlement. But it turned out that Bandit found him.

Bandit somehow wound up at an animal control facility, and from there he went to a shelter called reTails Indy, which later posted Bandit’s story on its website.

The shelter scanned him for a chip, and lo and behold, he had one. Somehow animal control had missed it. The shelter staff were even more surprised to find that the phone number registered with the chip was still current. Mike lived right nearby. Within 10 minutes he was at the shelter, ready to reunite with his long-lost companion.


“This is my little buddy,” Mike said, holding Bandit close and fighting back tears. “This is my best friend.”

Bandit had run out an open door five years earlier and was seen being scooped up by a stranger in a car. Someone got the car’s license plate number, but Mike says the man refused to return Bandit despite his repeated attempts.

Mike was often out of town doing construction work; it was lucky that Bandit happened into the shelter when he did, because a week earlier Mike would not have been home to take the call and pick him up.

Without a microchip, Bandit and Mike never would have found each other again. Time Magazine writes that “approximately 10 million pets that have been chipped over the past 15 years.” They “have helped reunite more than 600,000 pets with their owners,” reports‘s Lavanya Sunkara. For a FAQ about microchips, visit the Humane Society‘s website.


Related Stories:

Should Dog Microchipping be Compulsory?

California Microchip Bill Will Save Thousands of Shelter Pets

Dog Lost in Hurricane Katrina to be Reunited With Owners After 7 Years



Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

Wonderful story. Thanks Piper.

steven r.
steven reilly4 years ago

Let me get this straight: When a pet goes missing and someone STEALS it, the rule of law is "finders keepers?"

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

What a nice reunion!

Alicia Guevara
Alicia Guevara5 years ago

Love stories with happy endings! Tks!

Carrie Anne Brown

great news and video, thanks for sharing :)

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright5 years ago

Lovely......lessons to be learned ~ microchip your pets and never give up hope!

Andrew C.
Andrew C5 years ago

Such a great story. This made my night.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Thanks for this heartwarming story and video!

Maree Ann Peterson

Mike so glad that you found Bandit, may you stay forever together!

Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath5 years ago

Heart warming story!