Four years ago, Mabel Cruz from Braenton, Fla., was devastated when her Chihuahua named Simba disappeared from her home. No one knows how the dog vanished, but the family thought little Simba was lost forever. That was until they got a call from the Tallahassee-Leon Community Animal Service center last week. The shelter called to say they had found their pet.
Simba had arrived at the Cruz’s household at just eight-weeks-old. He was a gift for Mabel who faced chemotherapy to fight breast cancer at the time. The Chihuahua helped her cope through her treatments . When Simba was lost, the family searched frantically during months, but they never found him and gave up hope.
Three hundred miles away and four years later, animal control officers picked up a stray, emaciated Chihuahua, covered in fleas. The little dog was missing patches of hair and teeth, but he had not lost his will to live.
The determined staff from the shelter nursed the dog back to health and helped reunite Simba with his family.
The malnourished Chihuahua had an implanted microchip, and thanks to the chip’s manufacturers, the dog’s owner were located and contacted.
“We sent [Cruz] a picture [of the dog] and she said ‘Oh my god. That’s my boy,'” shelter worker Perri Dale told WCTV.
It is unlikely that the little Chihuahua traveled the 310 miles from Braenton to Tallahassee on his own. Rescuers believe someone took him from the Cruz’s home and kept him under inadequate conditions all these years. However, they are glad the dog somehow made his way into rescuers hands and then back to his rightful owners’ arms.
Mabel is happy to have her pet back . if it wasn’t for that chip, she would have never been reunited with her dog.