For eight years, Cara Seiler and her family never gave up hope that Kemo, their blue American bulldog pit bull mix, would come home someday.
Wednesday, Kemo was back. Seiler was running errands when her husband, Chris Gilbert, got the call from Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control that Kemo had been found.
“I was in shock,” said Seiler, who runs Canine Haven Rescue out of her home in Waterloo. “The second we walked into Animal Care and Control, he knew us.”
One of Kemo's first experiences was a trip to the vet, where his bloodwork was good, heartworm test negative, but the 10-year-old dog was about 25 pounds overweight, Seiler said.
Kemo disappeared when he was 2 ˝. He was taken from a friend's front yard close to Fort Wayne International Airport and was found in the Georgetown area in northeast Fort Wayne, Seiler said.
When he disappeared in September 2013, Seiler said she filled out a stolen dog report with the Allen Country Sheriff's Department. She didn't want to speculate on why she thought Kemo might have been taken.
Holly Pasquinelli, Animal Care & Control spokeswoman, said eight years is probably the longest time for a missing dog to be found.
“Every couple of months we get an animal missing for a while,” she said, sometimes for two, three or five years.
“This is a good reminder that microchips are extremely important, and if you aren't sure your dog or cat is microchipped, you can bring it here and check for $15,” Pasquinelli said. People are encouraged to update their personal information like phone numbers and addresses on the agency's website.
“We try the phone number and it's not in service. It's so important to update that information,” Pasquinelli added.
On the Animal Care & Control Facebook page, photos of Seiler reuniting with Kemo were posted.
“We are over the moon happy that Kemo was finally reunited with his family! This was such a heartwarming moment to watch and we're so glad Kemo had a microchip to make this moment possible,” was posted with the photos.
“I've never given up,” Seiler said. “We always made sure his microchip was kept up to date. I guess I was never going to give up trying to find him, but I never thought this day would come.”