Dog reunited with family 6 years after she went missing

A lot can change in six years.

For Maisy the Beagle, that's half of her of life. She has difficultly walking now and the veterinarian's orders are for her to spend most of her time resting.

But some things are exactly the same.

"She still does it, when you pick her up, she'll just lay back like this and be so sweet," said Maisy's owner, April Helland, as the 12-year-old dog rests on her shoulder.

Maisy is the Hellands' first family dog.

When their youngest son, Parker, was just 4 years old, Maisy followed him and his brothers into the woods of their Hardin Valley home but never came out.

"We started looking around the woods, putting up flyers, asking the mail lady 'can you watch out for a dog,'" said Parker, now 10.

"It was like losing a member of the family," said father, Chad. "When we put the flyers up looking for her, that's what we put, lost family member."

"I just prayed all night, 'God please bring her back.' I just missed her so much," Parker said.

"I thought I would never see her again. Ever," said April.

The family often thought of her, but moved on after a while. They even got another Beagle, named Cooper, but they say he didn't replace her.

Then just this week, Chad Helland got a call from Young Williams Animal Center. Maisy was not only alive, but at the shelter waiting to be picked up.

"It was probably the most shocking phone call I've ever gotten in my life," said Chad.

Maisy has a microchip, the size of a piece of rice, inside her. The microchip has the Hellands' contact information on it.

Because the Hellands' kept their address updated, when animal control found her wandering, they knew exactly who to call.

"It's one of those things that just worked out perfectly. It's the way it's supposed to work," said Young Williams Animal Center CEO, Jeff Ashin.

The reunion was not only emotional for the family, but for Ashin as well.

"We were all there. It's something we don't want to miss if we're in the building. We didn't want to miss that," he said.

Young Williams said it is the longest amount of time it has ever seen a dog be matched after going missing.

"When I saw her it was like everything just flooded back at once. It was like, that's her! At first you kind of wonder are they right? Maybe this is an accident, maybe they made a mistake? But it wasn't," April said. "It was just so overwhelmingly emotional for me."

Maisy had obviously been cared for in her time away. Ashin said she likely lived with another family and got away from them.

But now, in the final years of her life, she will feel the comfort and love of her first family.

"I feel so blessed to have her back. For my own comfort. I can hold her and tell her thank you for all those years that she was good to us," said April.

Young Williams Animal Center hopes Maisy's story will be a reminder to everyone to not only microchip your pets but make sure your contact information is updated in the registry.

They also advise that if you find a pet, before you take it in as your own, take it to a vet or animal shelter to see if it is microchipped.

Microchips helped 1,700 pets be reunited with their owners at Young Williams in 2013.


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