In Mobile, Ala., a Rhodesian ridgeback named Keiko (Japanese for bravery), went missing from her home on Feb. 20, 2014, but 53 days later, she was found and reunited with her owners, the Naman family.
Back in February, Keiko was in her yard when a thunderstorm spooked her. The dog jumped the fence and got lost. Her family posted fliers all over town, used Facebook and Twitter, and called local animal shelters every week in an attempt to find and reunited with their four-legged family member. Yet, their efforts did not bring them closer to their pet.
Throughout those 53 longs days, the Naman family received numerous tips, but “every dog we chased was not her,” Marcelle Naman told AL.com.
The search for Keiko came to an end on April 14, when the City of Mobile Animal Shelter called to tell the family they had found their dog near LeFlore High School the night before.
The Namans were hesitant to believe this was true because the animal shelter described the dog as a mixed breed, and their Keiko was a pure breed Rhodesian ridgeback. However, the animal shelter contacted them because the dog was still wearing a collar with the family’s phone number on it when found.
When the family arrived at the shelter, they met a dog that looked similar to Keiko, but this one was skin and bones.
“You couldn’t see her ridge,” said Macelle. “At first, I said, ‘Mattie, is that her?’ And then you could see a complete change in the dog’s face. She lit up.”
The dog had been fending for herself on the street for the past two months and had lost more than 40 lbs, but deep inside she was still the loving, playful dog the Namans had adopted back in 2005.
When Edmond Naman, Marcelle’s husband, arrived at the shelter, Keiko ran up to him and jumped right into his truck.
“She was so weak, but she licked him up and down,” said Marcelle.
Dr. Albert Gaston from Skyline Veterinary Hospital checked the canine and concluded she was in good health. She would need lots of dog food to regain the lost weight, and some antibiotics to fight possible infections, but over all she would make a full recovery.
Keiko is now at home, enjoying the good life next to her loved ones. She might have found her courage while she survived life on the streets. According to Marcelle, during Monday’s night rain storm, Keiko didn’t flinch with the thunder or lighting.
Welcome home Keiko!