A local couple and their two children have been reunited with the family's dog nearly six months after the canine went missing.
The German shepherd mix was dropped off at Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control last week by an anonymous visitor. Shelter staff found that the dog had an implanted microchip, which identified him as Charlie, the Thompson family's missing dog.
Heidi Thompson and her 2-year-old daughter, Victoria, picked up Charlie last Friday, a day after shelter called with the good news.
"The dog was just ecstatic. He ran right up to the little girl, gave her a kiss on the face, and had such a waggy tail," the shelter's adoption supervisor, Allison Miller, told WANE-TV.
Charlie escaped Aug. 31 from the yard of the family's Grabill home. In the months that followed, the family moved and got another dog, but Charlie was still on their minds.
Heidi Thompson said she and her husband put up lost dog flyers in their search for Charlie. Occasionally, she heard barking that sounded like Charlie's, but it was never him.
"It was hard for our daughter and for our son to realize that, you know, is he going to come home?" she said. "We kept hoping someday he might get brought back to us."
The anonymous caretaker who dropped Charlie off at the shelter left a note saying the dog had been in their care since September.
Heidi Thompson said that her daughter now "won't go to bed unless Charlie's in her room."
She's glad the family had decided to have Charlie microchipped because without that chip and its identifying data he never would have come home.
Miller said Fort Wayne animal control reunites hundreds of pets each year with their owners because of the microchips. She said the chips cost between $25 and $40 and can be implanted at any animal shelter or veterinarian's office.