Eighteen months after his cherished German shepherd went missing, Richard Brower felt it was time to accept that he would never see his Dozer again. But when he went to a rescue site to look for a new dog to adopt, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Looking back at him was Dozer!
Dozer was stolen from Brower’s Alberta, Canada backyard in 2013. He had locks on the gate, and when he saw the pins had been pulled, it was obvious that someone had taken him. Brower did everything he could to find his buddy, but after a year and a half, the chances of ever seeing him again seemed nonexistent.
Brower thought it was finally time to open his heart to another dog, and went to the Claresholm Rescue Society’s website to look for one to adopt. The very first photo he came across made his stomach drop: it was Dozer.
The following is CBC’s interview with him:
David Gray (DG): What did you see when you started browsing on the Claresholm animal shelter site?
Richard Brower (RB): It was the first post that came up, and Dozer was just staring me back in the face, looking pretty much like he did 18 months before. And my heart just kind of sank and I started shaking.
I called Claresholm right away, and as I was telling her what Dozer looked like, my mom called my father who was just leaving [the town of] Picture Butte out by Lethbridge on his way past, so he stopped in.
He walked in, and as soon as Dozer saw him, he started going nuts, and wagging his tail and we knew immediately, and he was brought back to me that night.
DG: How did you lose Dozer in the first place?
RB: He was taken from the backyard. I had locks on both the front and back.
The pins were pulled from the front gate and he was obviously taken.
We don’t know what happened to him after that. He was definitely taken care of. He had no loss of weight or anything.
He was found about two hours away on a farm somewhere, just wandering.
The lady said he was friendly, he just came right up and they brought him to Claresholm.
He’d been at Claresholm for just about a month when I found him.
DG: Eighteen months had gone by. After he went missing, did a day go by when you didn’t look for the dog?
RB: No, no, I was absolutely devastated. He’s my best buddy.
He’s 10 years old now, so we lost just about two years together, but I’m just so happy to have him back.
DG: When your dad went to Claresholm for you, did you give him any specific instructions to test that it really was Dozer?
RB: Yeah, I did. One of the first things I taught him was to snap my fingers, and then he’ll come around to my right side and wait for his second command.
So I asked dad to go in the cage. The lady was there, and I didn’t say what he would do, I just said, ‘Snap your fingers.’
Then I said, ‘What did he do?’ He said, ‘He’s sitting on my right-hand side looking straight up at me.’
The lady at Claresholm started crying, I started crying, and all the other people at the shelter were crying.
Yeah, It was quite the day.
It was just amazing when he got home. As soon as he got on the block, dad said his tail started wagging, and as soon as he pulled into the driveway I opened the door and he just flew right in and buried his head in my armpit and just started whining like a baby.
Friends of mine, I mean, I have friends, we go out riding bikes together, some pretty big tough guys, and they were just bawling their heads off when they found out about Dozer.
DG: Are you spoiling him now that he’s home?
RB: Oh absolutely, yeah. He was never allowed to sleep on the bed, but he’s been on the bed just about every single night since he’s been home.
He’s got lots of toys, gifts from everybody, so he’s got more stuff than he knows what to do with.
DG: What’s he doing right now?
RB: He’s probably wondering why we’re not going for a walk. Usually when we get up, it’s the first thing he wants to do.