A Jacksonville man and his family finally reunited with their beloved dog after losing him more than one year ago.
When Toby escaped from his home in November of 2016, his family thought they would never see him again.
Army veteran Lucas Brady got Toby in 2004, and together they have moved all over the United States. Though Brady describes Toby as pretty calm, he added that the dog is also quite the adventurer.
A Pattern of Lost and Found
Toby had an interesting track record of escaping, but would always come right back.
Brady might have picked the worst dog ever to move around the country with, because Toby escaped in a few of the places they went to.
The first time it happened was in Colorado. Toby escaped, and Brady searched for him using social media. Upon Toby’s return, Brady had the dog microchipped. That should have ensured that nothing bad ever happened again, right?
Wrong. Toby was determined to explore.
When Brady returned from a tour in Iraq, he got stationed in Hawaii. He spent considerable amounts of effort and money to bring Toby there with him. And after two weeks, Toby ran away again.
He was quickly found thanks to his microchip, and returned.
While Toby was proving that he was normally quick to return home, his last adventure would prove to be his longest.
Lost, But Not Found
In November of last year, a UPS driver was delivering a large package to Brady’s home. While the door was propped open for just a moment, Toby took his chance and bolted. Nobody even realized it happened until the UPS driver was leaving.
Brady and his family figured they’d get a call within a few days. But after a few weeks of not finding their dog, the family feared Toby was lost forever.
In July, Brady accepted this and did away with all of Toby’s belongings, no longer wishing to have a sore reminder of the loss the family had endured.
Brady’s daughter, 8-year old Emma, said she never thought she would see her friend Toby again. After 4 months, she lost hope.
An Unexpected Phone Call
On October 12th of this year, a woman brought a stray dog in to the Morgan County Animal Shelter. The first thing they did was scan for a microchip.
When office administrator Lisa Ladley relayed the information to the microchip company, she was astounded to find out that he’d been missing for nearly one year.
In her 18 years of doing the job, she’d never encountered a dog who had gone missing and gotten found after that long.
Toby looked like he was in slightly rough shape, but he looked like he’d been cared for; he appeared well fed and even had a harness on. So it seemed like someone else had been owning him for a while and he got away from that person, too.
“Looking at a Ghost”
When Lucas Brady received the phone call informing him that Toby had been found, he instantly assumed the worst; he thought Toby’s remains had been found.
But to his surprise, the woman on the phone informed him that Toby was in fact alive, and in good spirits, and that Brady could come and get him.
Brady rushed off to get Toby, along with the replacement supplies he needed.
This was a miracle for the family. Emma reports that when she first saw her dog, she cried and hugged him. She had assumed she’d never see him again, and said it seemed like she was “looking at a ghost.”
Brady says the family will take extra precautions to not lose the dog again, and will be “watching him like a hawk.”
Ladley sought to remind the public of the importance of microchips, both for owners of animals and for those who find stray animals.
When you find an animal outside, the first thing to do is take the animal to a vet or shelter to get it scanned for a microchip.
People often miss this step, and it can result in an animal losing its home forever instead of just temporarily.
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