They Thought They’d Lost Their Dog Forever. Then He Showed Up At The Shelter With A Different Family.

A Virginia family found themselves celebrating Thanksgiving without a key family member after their dog disappeared just days before the annual meal. The pet in question was a one-year-old Pit Bull mix named Turkey, whose playful antics had inspired a moniker shared with the holiday’s namesake bird.

Naturally, Turkey’s disappearance put a damper on the family celebration. But as the dog’s disappearance stretched from days into weeks, the Johnson family started to fear they might never see their sweet pooch again.

Photo: YouTube/WTKR News 3

But then, almost a month after his disappearance, Turkey suddenly turned up at the local animal shelter. The couple who brought the dog in claimed they’d purchased him for $800 outside a 7-11 and wanted to get him vaccinated.

Fortunately, the shelter director thought she recognized Turkey; if so, the pooch already had a family. “We ran the scanner over his back, which showed us the number, which went to our database, which showed us that yes, indeed it was Turkey,” Kimberly Sherlaw, Norfolk SPCA’s executive director, told News 3. “There was no question that he would not be leaving and he’d be going back to his original family.”

Photo: YouTube/WTKR News 3

When Turkey’s ‘dog mom’ heard the news, she struggled to hold back tears of joy. “It’s like [an] early Christmas present,” Jennifer Johnson told the station. [It’s] probably one of the best feelings that I’ve had.”

This heartwarming story illustrates why it’s so important to microchip your pet. Not only can chips help identify missing or stolen animals, they can settle custody disputes and foster happy reunions. “With that microchip number – if your pet has gone lost and you are the legal owner, it stands there with a microchip as one of the systems of proof that the animal belongs to you,” Sherlaw said.

Photo: YouTube/WTKR News 3

Without a microchip, the Johnson’s know they wouldn’t have been reunited with their four-legged Turkey.”One of my first questions was [just asking] how his spirit was,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to know that he was, like, happy.” As Turkey greeted his family with full-body wags and slobbery doggie kisses, it become very clear that he was!

find out more about this heartwarming holiday reunion in the video below!

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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