When Tina Anderson got a call last week asking if she’d lost her dog, she told them the animal was safe in her kitchen.
When they asked her if her dog’s name was Shaggy, Anderson said she was so shocked she almost dropped the phone.
Shaggy, it turns out, had gone missing from the Andersons’ backyard more than eight years ago, prompting a frantic search by the family.
“I was outside at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning putting up posters, going to people’s houses,” she said. “I just couldn’t find him.”
Shaggy had gotten loose before but had returned. This time, though, Anderson and her children were heartbroken that their little dog never turned up.
Until now, that is.
Shaggy, a Yorkie-cocker spaniel mix, was turned in as a stray at the Chicago Police Department’s 16th District headquarters on Jan. 6.
At first, no identifying microchip could be found inside the dog, and his photo was added to the gallery of unclaimed pets on the website of Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation, run by police Lt. John Garrido, and his wife, Anna.
Then a full-body scan of the dog revealed Shaggy did have a microchip; it had just shifted inside the dog’s body. With that, rescuers were able to get in touch with Anderson.
“All microchips are usually inserted between the shoulder blades on the back of the dog. Some of the older ones will move, and this one moved,” Garrido said.
Anderson said she and her family, who’ve moved twice in Chicago since losing Shaggy, are still in disbelief that the now 12-year-old pooch has been returned to them.
“I’m like, ‘No way!’ ” she said. “We were so excited. But we thought we were going to see him with one leg. We just thought he was going to be all messed up.”
She also said she’s been calling family to tell them about his unexpected homecoming.
“I called my family in Missouri and told them I had Shaggy and they said, ‘No way! Girl, stop playing. You don’t have Shaggy!’ ” Anderson said.
Losing the dog, she said, was “like a child that got kidnapped … like one of your family members goes missing.”
No one knows for sure where Shaggy has been for the past eight years, but Anderson said she suspects that after he escaped from her yard, someone nearby found and kept him.
“They didn’t care,” she said. “We had a dog chain on him. Yorkies are not rare, but many people love small dogs.”
Anderson suspects Shaggy might have recently escaped from whoever had him, or that he was abandoned to the streets and eventually found and turned in at the police station.
Tina’s daughter Daisha, who had a close bond with Shaggy before he got loose, said she and her sister Toyri are “super excited” about his return. Now 24, Daisha was at work and didn’t get to be there when the family picked up the dog. But she got to watch it on video.
“It didn’t seem real until they did the video,” she said.
Shaggy didn’t remember his name and “seemed a little tentative” on his first night back with the Andersons, Daisha said. “But by the next day, he was never leaving my side.”
He also is getting along so far with the Andersons’ other dog, Ebony.
But Shaggy’s troubles aren’t over yet.
Tina Anderson said she took him to the vet and was told he is blind in one eye, has a cataract in the other eye and infections in both ears. He’s also overweight, has bad teeth and walks very slowly. She said he needs costly blood tests, X-rays and other veterinary care.
“I was scared we’d have to give the dog up, but my daughter loves animals and swore she’d raise the money for vet bills,” said Anderson.
Garrido also said his rescue group also plans to help with Shaggy’s medical bills.
“We’re going to get the dog back where he needs to be,” he said.
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