When Little Buddy was picked up off the streets of Raytown, Missouri, and brought to Midwest Animal ResQ, he looked like most of the other strays.
“He was dirty but otherwise healthy,” Erin Morse, founding director of Midwest Animal ResQ, told The Dodo. “He was a little scared at the shelter but quickly melted the hearts of staff and volunteers here.”
And whether he knew it or not, Little Buddy also had a secret — he’d been missing for six years.
Little Buddy wasn’t at all afraid of the people working at the shelter and was ready to make emotional connections right when he got there.
“He would whine and paw at the cage door anytime someone would walk by, wanting to be let out,” Morse said. “He had all the humans here wrapped around his paw pretty quickly.”
Prior to arriving at Midwest Animal ResQ, the animal control officers who found Little Buddy realized he was microchipped. They began sending chip alerts to the attached contact information, but those alerts initially went unanswered.
“His owners originally thought the email alerts were a scam because so much time had passed,” Morse said. “Once we actually called the prior owner on the phone and told him we had his dog, he was over the moon.”
“When we heard he had been missing for nearly six years and he was so far from home, we couldn’t believe it!” she added.
Little Buddy was adopted from a rescue organization in 2017 and lived with his dad outside of Springfield, Missouri, until he went missing. According to local news station KMBC, his dad put up fliers and drove around the neighborhood looking for him without any luck — and no one contacted him using Little Buddy’s microchip information, either.
So when Midwest Animal ResQ reached out, Little Buddy’s dad immediately hopped in the car and made the four-hour drive to reunite with his long-lost pup. And when the two met again, it was like no time had passed at all.
“Little Buddy went straight to his dad, and his little tail wagged so fast!” Morse said. “As soon as he got a good sniff and heard his dad’s voice, he immediately started licking his face. By that point, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”
It’s not often the team at Midwest Animal ResQ gets to be a part of such a positive experience, making this reunion extra special.
“It really warmed our hearts to see such a lovely reunion with someone who had never given up hope on finding their Little Buddy,” Morse said. “It made it even better that Buddy’s dad felt so passionate about animal adoption and microchipping. It was almost too good to be true!”
Morse said that Little Buddy’s story is the perfect example of why it’s so important to microchip your pets, “and most importantly, to keep your contact information up to date, no matter how long your pet might be missing.”
And if you’re the parent of a missing pup, Morse thinks that Little Buddy’s story is one of hope and possibility. She said, “Never give up hope that one day your Little Buddy might be found!”