Owner finds dog after 8-year search: ‘We never stopped looking’

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT
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FORT MYERS, Fla. (WINK) - In dog years, it’s a reunion that took more than 50 years.

When it comes to human years, it took eight years and five months.

“I just want to tell him I’m so sorry that I didn’t find him,” Betsy Dehaan said.

In February of 2014, Harley was a lovable, adventurous pit bull, but he got a little too adventurous.

“I turned them out to go to the bathroom and turned my back for a second and they went off into the woods. And we went looking and never found Harley,” Dehaan said.

Harley vanished from his Lee County home at just a few years old.

“We searched and posted missing pet posters. We never stopped looking,” Dehaan said.

Even though he was microchipped, the search went cold. Whoever took Harley never checked the microchip to find his owner.

Fast forward to the present day, a miracle kept the love story alive.

“The dog was so sweet and behaved. He [Harley] seemed as happy as he could be,” Angie Bray said, who helped find Harley.

Bray said she found a dog that looked like Harley, malnourished, almost nothing but skin and bones.

“It made me cry. It was just so heartbreaking to think about being torn away from my animals and unable to find them,” Bray said.

She took Harley to the Cypress Lake Animal Hospital and Lee County Domestic Animal Services, and they found Dehaan’s number through the microchip.

“We got the text on Saturday. And I was like, is this a scam? We were just talking about him that morning,” Dehaan said

Dehaan no longer lives in Lee County, but when she found out Harley was safe, she drove over 1,000 miles from Missouri to meet back up with him.

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