Dog reunited with Decatur family after being missing for nearly 2 years

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DECATUR, Ala. -- After nearly two years, a dog is reunited with his family because an adoption representative remembered him.

When furry friends run away, it can feel like a dead end. In November of 2017, the Neil family lost their dog Earl, after hearing shots at the beginning of hunting season. Pete Neil was walking Earl when he took off running.

"He was gone," said Pete. "Nowhere to be found."

The family posted Earl's photo in several Facebook groups, including "Track My Paws" and contacted local animal shelters to see if anyone had found him. One representative at Decatur Animal Services remembered Earl, and became close to Susan Neil.

"Every time we would go to Huntsville, I would look out over the water on those islands for a white spot to see if I saw Earl," said Alane Ward, an adoption representative from Decatur Animal Services.

Susan continuously posted on Facebook and checked in with Alane, not giving up hope of finding Earl.

On Wednesday, a year and a half after Earl ran away, someone came to Decatur Animal Services to "owner-surrender" a dog. Thursday morning, Alane knew she recognized him, but didn't know how.

"I don't know if we have had him or not, he's just a little old man," said Ward. "And for some reason, something just hit me when I said old man, and I was like, 'That's Ms. Susan's dog!'"

Alane found Susan's number and called her immediately. Susan asked her to look for a recognizable scar, and became overwhelmed when Alane found it.

"Immediately, she got choked up," said Ward. "I got goosebumps."

Pete arrived at the shelter first, and Alane said with work clothes and all, he immediately got down on the floor to see Earl.

"The dog recognized him immediately," said Ward. "He was licking him in the face and even though he was 12, he was bouncing all over the floor."

Pete calls the entire story a miracle. "I guess you would say it's a miracle because I was getting to the point where I wasn't expecting to get him back," he said. "We are just really, really lucky."

The Humane Society recommends if you lose a pet:

  • Contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies
  • Search the neighborhood
  • Advertise
  • Try the internet
  • Be wary of pet-recovery scams
  • Don't give up your search

Never give up hope! You never know when your furry friend may scamper back into your life.

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