We met a young man at McDonald’s this morning, at exit 102 on I-95 in Pooler, GA. It wasn’t a chance meeting, we had planned to meet him there. The last time this young man saw his family dog, Bo, was two years ago. Bo recently ended up in our care and we set up the early morning McDonald’s rendezvous to reunite Bo with his family.
Bo was born in Florida, and then he and his family moved to a horse farm in Augusta, GA, when he was just a few years old. Life was good on the horse farm for several years. In 2012, however, when Bo was 12 years old, his family went through some life changes and had to make the difficult decision to rehome him. They gave Bo to an acquaintance, rehomed their horses, sold the farm and moved back to Florida. From time to time, Bo’s new dad would send updates on how he was doing.
Last year, Bo’s new dad had some heart problems and passed away unexpectedly. Bo’s family heard about it after the fact and lost track of what happened to Bo. They didn’t know who took him or where he was. They knew by this point Bo would be about 14 years old and they figured he may have passed away too.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, Bo was picked up as a stray in a rural area outside of Augusta and brought to a local animal shelter. When he was scanned for a microchip, the original owner’s name and contact info showed up, but the contact info was out of date. A shelter volunteer named Bonnie fell in love with Bo, called us, asked us to take Bo and then started calling around to local veterinarians to try to piece together his story.
The records Bonnie found at two different animal hospitals told the story of a dog who had been loved and cared for and never wanted for a thing. He was on heartworm prevention, he got regular baths and nail trims, he never missed an annual vaccination, and he received regular check-ups. But all of that stopped in July 2012.
As we tried to piece together what could have happened, we thought maybe Bo’s original owner had died (we didn’t know about the second owner at this point). The vet records stopped, the phone number wasn’t working, we knew something had to have happened in his owner’s life at that point. But it was obvious that now, two years later, Bo was still being cared for. Despite being picked up as a stray, he was still in pretty good shape for his age and hadn’t missed any meals.
Bonnie and her husband picked Bo up from the shelter and met us in Statesboro, GA, to transfer him to Retired Retrievers. Bo settled in quickly at our house. He was housebroken, got along with everyone, loved to go for walks, and was just a perfect old dog. We continued to discuss what might have happened with him and his family. We got back online and started searching with the information that we had.
A few days later we tracked down information about Bo’s original owner and discovered that she moved to Florida in July 2012, which then shed some light on why the vet records stopped at that point, but we had no way to contact her. So we kept digging until we found one of her sons. We sent him a note and he responded within a few hours. We were just hoping they could help us piece together his story, so we were surprised when they said they wanted him back!
Yes, Bo is back with his original family. They are in a different place in life now and have the ability to give him the retirement that he deserves. And, even better, one of the sons had been planning to drive from Georgia to Florida – today! So us getting in touch with them yesterday could not have been better timing. They had a long drive ahead of them so we made the transition as easy as possible by meeting the young man at a McDonald’s right off the freeway, and Bo headed south to Florida this morning. While we will miss him terribly (he is such a great dog!) we look forward to updates about Bo’s family reunion and his happy retirement years.
We’ll always wonder who had Bo more recently. He was at the shelter long enough that someone could have found him, and our super-volunteer, Bonnie, tried really hard to find anyone who might be looking for him. We may never solve that piece of the puzzle, but at least we know Bo will spend his retirement years with family. Congratulations on your happy ending, Bo!
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