Earlier in January, a 1-year-old boxer mix was picked up as a stray and taken to the Harris County Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas. The dog stayed there for a week, going into foster care with a local named Giselle Krohn before Ruff Start Rescue moved the dog 2,614 miles away to Minnesota to be fostered by a woman named Lexi Johnson.
“We were told that she was really, really sweet, and very dog-friendly,” Johnson, Ruff Start Rescue manager, told The Dodo. “She proved to be exactly what they said she was — a totally sweet and wonderful girl.”
She discovered that the dog, whom she started calling Zooey, was actually deaf. She also noticed that the pooch understood basic commands like “sit,” “down,” and “shake,” and that she was already house-trained and comfortable in a dog kennel.
But no one had come looking for the sweet dog so the rescue team tried to find her a home, getting five applications, but for some reason, Johnson couldn’t understand why none of the adoptions went through.
It turned out that Zooey already had a home. In late April, someone commented on a post on the Harris County Animal Shelter Facebook page, claiming to be Zooey’s owner.
“She is deaf,” the woman said. “Her name is Penelope.” She went on to say that Penelope had escaped from her Houston home at the beginning of the year.
“She had gotten out of an open gate,” Johnson explained. “Somebody had forgotten to completely latch the gate, and she was able to sneak right out.”
The family kept looking for her and they finally found her through social media. When the team at Ruff Start Rescue confirmed that the people were indeed Penelope’s owners, they drove the dog 2,614 miles back to Texas. Johnson and Krohn also flew down to meet the owners and witness their reunion.
“She looked at her, and she looked at her again and was like, ‘Is this real?’” Johnson shared. “And then she went over there, she was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is it.’ I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.”
“I was so happy and sad at the same time,” Johnson continued. “I was happy because they were reunited, but sad because … it’s heartbreaking to think that it was five months when she was without her mama. But it was amazing.”
“She picked her bed as her own again, and she sprawls out on top of Mandy,” Johnson added. “She’s gone back to normal with her people.