St. Charles County (KSDK) - A basset hound rescue organization out of Dwight, Illinois, took part in a reunion Saturday between pet owners and their long lost dogs.
Allie and 'Bama were stolen five-and-a-half years ago out of Brenda Travis' yard in Murphysboro, Tennessee.
"We had a 6 foot fenced yard which you could only unlock from the inside," said Travis. "And when I was gone to work, they were stolen during the day. We went to all the vets, posted posters, filed a report, went to the humane society, and we live there an additional year and a half. Oh gosh, it was devastating. Every day we would come home and think they would be on our front porch, and we would look in neighborhoods, and look around. We drove around for months, just looking."
Travis and her long-time boyfriend, Tom Shields, had moved on, literally, to Wichita, Kansas.
Then July 5th Travis got a phone call regarding information contained on a microchip installed on one of the animals. The dogs had been found abandoned along a highway near Dallas, Georgia.
"It was a 770 area code," said Travis. "So I called her back and I said, you must have the wrong number. And she said, 'Do you know Tom Shields?' And I said yes I do. And she said, 'Does he have basset hounds?' And I said no ma'am ours got stolen 5-and-a-half years ago. And she said, 'I have them here.' And so there was a long pause and a lot of tears. And I asked her how they were and she said, 'Healthy and fat.'"
Don Hunt, of Belleville, is with Guardian Angel Basset Hound Rescue, an organization that rescues up to 300 basset hounds a year. Hunt took part in reuniting Allie and 'Bama with their owners. He transported the dogs on a portion of their trip home.
"And this proves you should get your pets micro-chipped," said Hunt. "Because if these pets hadn't been micro-chipped they would've never been found."
No one involved has any idea how the dogs got to Georgia, or who took them from Travis' home in Tennessee so long ago.
Travis said they had long since lost hope.
"Oh yes, oh yes," she said. "Like I said we got two more dogs, and we never heard anything. And in fact when our vet recommended we get Duke and Gertrude micro-chipped, we were like, no. We did that and never heard anything. So am I a firm believer in microchipping? Yes."
Travis said Allie and 'Bama are 8 and 9 years old, respectively, and appear to be in good health.