TOLEDO (WTVG) - A remarkable reunion, a long time in the making. A local dog is back home tonight after going missing about two years ago. His name is Ghotti. He was reunited with his owners last week, and they've all picked up right where they left off.
At Lucas County Canine Care and Control the staff works every day to reunite dogs and their owners. Last year nearly 30% of the dogs that came in were returned to their owners, but reunions after that length of time are rare.This story is a great example of how hope and persistence can pay off.
Ghotti's owners, family, friends and even strangers checked the shelters regularly and used social media to help with the search. They continued that process right up until he was found.
It's hard to believe when you see them all playing today that Ghotti and his two owners were separated for nearly two years. Co-owner Kyle Metscher says Ghotti escaped while a friend was watching him. They think he may have gotten loose by jumping a fence, "I was just hoping some nice person had taken him in and was treating him well."
The search for Ghotti, was agonizing for Kyle and Robert Burden, Ghotti's other owner, "It got very discouraging at times. It brought tears to my eyes quite a few times, but not as many tears as when we found him."
It was heart-wrenching for Kyle too,"I felt like I lost a piece of me, a big part of me honestly." But Robert and Kyle always believed they would find their dog. Last Friday, they got the call they'd been waiting for. Ghotti had been brought in to Lucas County Canine Care and Control by one of the officers after someone called about the dog running loose. Because people had been checking at the shelter for the dog for so long, someone recognized Ghotti when he came in. Kyle and Robert went in as soon as possible to check to see if it was in fact Ghotti.
Kyle says seeing Ghotti again was extremely emotional,"I couldn't stop crying. He ran up to me and jumped on me and he couldn't stop licking me. He was wagging his tail like crazy.It was an amazing experience."
Robert says Ghotti was just as excited as they were,"He knew me right away. He lit up. He had a giant smile on his face. I have never seen a dog smile so much. He has a big mouth so you can easily see him smiling."
A lot of people at Lucas County Canine Care and Control were smiling too. Richard Stewart is the Director of the shelter, and he says the staff went the extra mile to make sure Ghotti, Robert and Kyle were back together as soon as possible, "The staff stayed later that day to make sure the reunion happened right away. They didn't make the owners wait until the next day. I am really proud of all of them."
While they may never know where he's been for the last two years, Kyle and Robert say it's clear someone was taking care of him. And they still can't believe the ending to this tale. Ghotti is living with Kyle right now, "It still seems surreal. I wake up in the morning and can't believe he's laying at my feet. It's amazing."
Robert and Kyle say it's important to point out that they had a lot of help .Family, friends and even strangers worked to track him down.
And their dogged determination finally paid off, "I can't even explain how good that feeling was. Pure happiness and joy.I can't stress enough that the community helped us find him more than anything. My advice for everyone who has lost a pet, just don't give up, keep trying."
Ghotti did not have a microchip, but he is going to the vet to get one this weekend. According to Stewart, a microchip and a license greatly improve the chances of getting your dog back if they are lost.
Just a reminder you have until January 31st to get your Lucas County dog license for $25. After that the fee goes up to $50.