June 14 (UPI) — A Wyoming family has been reunited in Sioux Falls with their red heeler dog, Ginger, who went missing three years ago.
The family lost the dog while Jennifer George’s husband BJ was on a business trip in Burlington, Iowa, in August 2015.
Jennifer didn’t want to leave the dog in a kennel for the trip and the red heeler escaped from the house the family rented.
The dog was found on Saturday in Sioux Falls, seven hours away from where the dog went missing.
Director Kandi Glick, who runs an animal shelter in Des Moines County, had rescued Ginger.
“I actually made a phone call to the husband and said, ‘Hey, were you in Burlington, Iowa, about three years ago, this is going to be the weirdest phone call you ever get,’” Glick told KSFY News.
“My mom, the dog was originally hers and she had passed away about four months earlier,” George said.
The George family brought along the dog on the business trip and she escaped the house they rented. They spent 15 minutes looking for the dog in the neighborhood, with Jennifer staying behind for days continuing to search for the dog with help from the community.
They never found her until last week when Glick started getting calls from people who said they spotted “a deceased dog,” which she couldn’t find because the dog was actually still alive.
Glick said that the dog managed to survive by digging in the trash for food and water from a car wash.
She rescued the dog by setting up a trap with hot dogs and browsed through missing pets on Facebook to find the dog owner’s phone number.
Veterinarian Heath Hillyard told the Hawk Eye newspaper that the dog was heavily matted, had a few ticks, and needed shaving, but otherwise was in remarkably good condition for living in the woods for three years.
Though the dog had aged, after a trip to the groomer, the initially skeptical family identified the dog with its purple and lime green collar on the inside, and drove eight hours through a hail storm on Wednesday for the reunion.
“She’s just an angel,” George told KSFY News regarding Glick. “What she does …is she reunites families and she gave us back this dog that meant so much to us and without her people wouldn’t have these moments.”