YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A Virginia family may have their long-lost dog back in time for the holidays after a terrier found nearly 3,000 miles away in rural Yuba County was traced back to them.
An Oregon woman, Meg Eden, was working with her dogs in the Spenceville Wildlife Area near Beale Air Force Base on Wednesday when she found what appeared to be a stray American Staffordshire terrier and pit bull mix, according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department.
“She was very thirsty and very hungry when I found her,” Eden told CBS13. “I’m just happy she took the right fork in the road and found me.”
She cared for the dog overnight and then turned it in to Yuba County Animal Care Services. Staff there did the usual intake process, including scanning for a microchip, and a chip was indeed registered to a clinic in Virginia for an American Staffordshire terrier, the sheriff’s department said.
The clinic contacted Kristen Pruitt of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and she called Yuba County Animal Care Services and confirmed that her family dog, Petunia, had been missing since 2003.
“It was just amazing to me,” said Animal Care Service’s Deborah Lewis. “I kept saying, ‘You’re in Virginia? Because we’re in California.'”
Pruitt and family are anxious for the reunion.
“I’m curious if she’ll remember us,” Pruitt told CBS13’s Ben Sosenko. “She was my husband’s dog. It brings tears to your eyes, it really does. I’ll give her a kiss and a hug.”
Petunia, then 3 years old, went missing from the family farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving that year, according to Pruitt. The family conducted a large search for Petunia but never located her. They have an 8-year-old daughter who was 5 months old when Petunia went missing.
Animal Care Services staff sent Pruitt a photograph of the dog and she was positive the dog was Petunia. Animal Care Services will now assist Pruitt with the process of returning Petunia to her Virginia home, the sheriff’s department said.
Pruitt said the family plans to fly the dog home in the next few days.