Who’s not a sucker for a heartwarming reunion story?
Whether you just want to feel comforted with the knowledge that two separated parties finally met after an extended period of time, or maybe you’re just in a mood to cry and soak up all sentimentalities that are palpable in any reunion stories…
All those feelings just multiply if a story involves a beloved pet.
One such beloved pet went missing for 14 months before finding his way back to his owner.
But it’s not only time that separated the two. In addition to the 14 months of separation, the two parties also suffered an incredible distance of more than 1,600 miles.
Sandra O’Neill recalled that Zeppelin, her German shepherd mix, has always been an escape artist. Zeppelin would sometimes visit a local construction site on his own but would always come home in the evening if O’Neill didn’t find him first at the construction site.
But then Zeppelin failed to return to his California home and went missing on October 19, 2021.
O’Neill tried to search for her beloved dog but failed to find him after months of searching. She assumed that maybe Zeppelin got adopted by a construction worker who fell inevitably in love with Zeppelin, not knowing that he was already owned by someone else.
But 14 months later, Zeppelin was found in Kansas.
Heather Reichart, the person who found Zeppelin in her Kansas pasture, said that it was not unusual for strays to be found walking around on her property, but she felt something different when she came across Zeppelin.
“I went out to the pasture to see what our dog was barking at and found him… Ultimately kept him at the house overnight and brought him in [to the vet] yesterday morning,” Reichart said. “The rest is history.”
Zeppelin was brought to the Wildcat Vet Clinic, and they were able to identify the dog and his family using his microchip.
In a news interview, O’Neill said that she never lost hope that she would be able to find Zeppelin.
“I drove by the last place I saw him and said a little prayer. I said, ‘I hope you make it home someday.’ The very next day, I got a call. They found him,” O’Neill said.
Soon after identifying Zeppelin’s home, folks were left with the task of actually bringing him home. The options went from goodhearted volunteers to military airplanes. (Talk about VIP status, am I right?) Ultimately, Zeppelin started his trip home by going with a volunteer, Mary Hastings, who was on her way home to California after visiting her daughter in Kansas.
And Zeppelin was able to come home just in time for Christmas!
“We’re very blessed and thankful for all the people involved. There’ve been numerous people working on this tirelessly, trying to get all the legs of the trip handled. I’m just grateful for all the people that put time and energy into this and who have taken care of Zeppelin and loved him where he’s been,” O’Neill said.
This story just proves how important it is to microchip your pets. Even if you feel secure that your dog won’t ever wander off outside your property, much less a thousand miles away from home, you’ll never know until it’s too late.
Watch O’Neill and Zeppelin reunite in the video below!