Woman reunited with missing dog after 12 years and 1,000 miles away from home

“Dutchess” the fox terrier squeezed out the door at her owner’s house in Orlando one day in February 2007 and didn’t return. A devastated Katheryn Strang made “lost dog” signs and took daily trips to the local shelter for months, desperate to find her.

Last week, Strang finally reunited with Dutchess after 12 years. A man found the dog under his shed in the Pittsburgh area, almost 1,000 miles from Orlando. He took the shivering animal to the Humane Animal Rescue. There, a scan of Dutchess’s microchip linked her to Strang, who had since moved to Boca Raton, Fla.

At the shelter on Friday, Strang cried as an employee handed her the dog she had always hoped would one day return to her. Staff members posted footage of the emotional reunion on Facebook, writing, “This is why we do what we do.”

No one knows how Dutchess made the trek to Pittsburgh — or what she has been doing for the past 12 years. Strang joked that the dog could “tell me some stories.”

The dog, who is now 14, was hungry, shaking and “in serious need of a nail trim” when she arrived at the shelter the admissions counselor with Humane Animal Rescue, Torin Fisher said.

After finding the microchip, that contains a unique number that can be traced back to an animal’s owner.

Strang had always held out hope that Dutchess might be found, even after so many years. She paid a $15 annual fee to keep the microchip active, saying on Friday that she would have continued that for years.

Still, she was in disbelief as she drove to Pittsburgh.