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Senior Lost Dog is Found 17 Months Later

by Katherine

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Piper, an arthritic senior golden retriever/chow mix dog, from Loveland, Col., had some mischievous ways. On occasion she would escape her home, but the senior dog would always find her way back. However, on June of 2012, Piper left home and never came back.

Her owner, Mellie Test, hoped her dog would be found, but after months passed and there was no news of Piper she assumed the worst.

Test, her children, and two other dogs moved out of state to Philadelphia in November of the same year. They had made peace thinking Piper had crossed the Rainbow Bridge and never expected to hear news of Piper. Yet, a year after moving out of state they learned Piper was still alive.

Piper the senior pet.
Piper the senior pet.


Seventeen months after Piper ran away the Larimer Humane Society in Fort Collins, Col., contacted Test’s ex-husband – he was the registered person on Piper’s microchip. On Nov. 4, 2013, Piper had been turned in by a couple who housed her for a few months after the Colorado floods, but now the arthritic dog needed help due to her declining health.

As soon as Test heard Piper had been found she contacted the Larimer Humane Society and learned her old dog had several tumors and suffered from hip dysplasia. Since Test now lived miles away there was little she could do to claim her pet right away, and as a single mom making ends meet, it was very difficult to make additional expenses to bring Piper home.

Piper was old and in bad shape, her chances of getting adopted were slim.

Test could not accept that her pet would be euthanized because she couldn’t come claim her, and the Humane Society would not hold Piper past the usual five days hold. Desperate Test reached out to friends in Colorado but no one was able to rescue the 12-year-old senior pet.

A few days passed and Test found a picture of Piper on the Larimer Humane Society website. They had renamed her Lucky and described her as an 8-year-old dog.

Test decided to create a Facebook page to advocate for the life of her senior pet. She tagged many of her Colorado friends on the page and consequently they tagged rescue organizations and other pet lover individuals.

Soon, Test’s wish to save Piper’s life was realized. Two friends agreed to pay for Piper’s adoption fee if Test was able to find a temporary foster home for the dog.

With the costs covered, Cristin Altepeter, another of Test’s friends, decided to visit the Larimer Humane Society and check on Piper. Altepeter thought Piper might be a good “old lady friend” for her 13-year-old senior dog, Kia.

It was a match made it heaven. Piper met Kia and they got along just fine. Altepeter texted Test saying Piper had found a new home!

On November 9, 2013, Piper became an official Altepeter family member. Seventeen months after running away from home, good-old Piper had found a new loving home and and now she had a place to rest and enjoy her golden years.

Thank you Cristin Altepeter, for saving Piper’s life.

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