When a couple noticed a small dog tied outside a store, they didn’t think much of it until they read the note attached to him. It was heartbreaking, and they wanted to help find his owners.
The note said, “Free Pup. My name is Scooter. Owner went to jail today.”
They took photos of the dog and posted them online.
They were hoping someone would recognize him and help. They caught the attention of Paula Langford, who runs South Eastern Homeless Animals. She decided to take the dog in and help.
She said, “I just reached out to them and said, ‘I’ll take the dog. I have a microchip scanner, I’ll get him scanned and validate the story first. And then we’ll get him wherever it is that he belongs.”
She met the couple at a gas station later that day to get the dog.
That’s when she realized that this was someone’s beloved pet. She explained, “As soon as I saw him, I knew this was a loved pet. He was clean, he was flea-free. He was abandoned with an expensive carrying case for him, an expensive collar, a bag of grain-free dog food.”
When she held the dog, it was clear that he knew he could trust her.
He was nervous but started to relax the more he was around her. She felt like his owners would have never left him alone and wondered who was behind the abandonment.
She said, “He was a bit nervous but very sweet and very loving. He wanted to cuddle. It was kind of precious, because on the way home, he kind of laid his head on my chest and just did this big sigh, and kind of melted into me and went back to sleep. It was obvious that this was a snuggly, well-loved, well-cared-for dog. He wasn’t just a throwaway.”
She started looking for a way to reunite him with his family.
The dog did have a microchip, and she tried to call the number attached to it, but it was disconnected. She also found out that the dog had previously been found in Colorado and again in Florida in 2015 and 2016. He had made his way to South Carolina this time.
Langford said, “We discovered that he is originally from Colorado. We tried to contact the number on the microchip, but the number was disconnected. The microchip company informed me that he’d been found in 2015 in Colorado, and then again in 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida and that he’d been returned to the owner, but that’s all he knew. And then, all of a sudden, he’s in South Carolina!”
She found out that his owner had been arrested in a parking lot near the store. He had hoped his friends would care for his dog, but his friends betrayed him.
Langford explained, “When he was arrested, his main concern was that his dog did not go to the shelter, so he handed his belongings, his money, his backpack, his carrying bag, and his beloved dog to his friends and asked them to ensure that the dog was safe.”
She informed the cops, and they are working to bring the people who left the dog in the store to justice. Langford added, “They have issued an arrest warrant for those two individuals for the abandonment.”
Langford eventually found the owner’s mother and decided she needed to reunite them. She lived in Colorado but agreed to meet Langford in Nebraska. It was a long trip with over 24 hours of driving for Langford. She also had to leave her young children to make the trip. Still, she knew it was the right thing to do.
She said, “It was a very touching and emotional reunion, and it was quite obvious that Scooter was very happy to see his family again. I am 100 percent confident in my decision to reunite this beloved pup with his family.”
Langford is dedicated to helping animals.
She thinks it is heartbreaking to see them scared, alone and neglected. She is glad she made the choice to work so hard to reunite this dog with his family, and she hopes that one day, his owner will get out of jail and be reunited with him as well.
She said, “When an animal is found on the streets, the ultimate hope is that the animal has a loving family looking for them. However, in more cases than not, that is not the outcome. In Scooter’s situation, he was a loved and treasured member of a wonderful family. And while it was emotional for me to say goodbye, I have no doubt that he is exactly where he belongs.”
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