FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - On August 31, Heidi Thompson's dog Charlie went missing from her family's home in Grabill. He was chained up outside and had gone missing before, but when Thompson and her husband couldn't find Charlie in his usual spots, they knew this time was different.
The Thompson family moved and got another dog, but they never forgot Charlie. They say they put up lost dog flyers and kept looking. Heidi even said she would occasionally hear barking she thought was from Charlie. Still they couldn't find their dog, which they say was difficult to comprehend.
"It was hard for our daughter and for our son to realize that, you know, is he going to come home? Is he not going to come home? Is he ok?" Heidi said. "We kept hoping that someday he might get brought back to us."
But on Thursday, six months after Charlie went missing, the Thompson family got a phone call from Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control (FWACC) . Someone anonymously dropped a dog off overnight. After a health screening, officials found a microchip and identified him as Charlie, the Thompson's missing dog.
"They said that it was a German Shepherd and they mentioned the name Charlie," Heidi explained. "My husband said, ‘Oh my gosh, they have our dog.'"
The next day, Heidi and her two-year-old daughter Victoria went to pick up Charlie. Allison Miller, adoption supervisor with FWACC, caught the reunion on video .
"The dog was just ecstatic," Miller said. "He ran right up to the little girl, gave her a kiss on the face, and had such a waggy tail."
Heidi said she had to fight back tears because she was so excited to see Charlie again. But she said the most amazing part of the reunion was that Charlie and Victoria remembered each other.
Someone had taken good care of Charlie while he was away. But for some reason, they decided to drop him off at FWACC. The anonymous caretaker left a note saying they had the dog since September of 2012.
With the entire family united and back home again Friday, Heidi said Victoria and Charlie are inseparable.
"Victoria will not let Charlie leave her side," Heidi said. "She won't go to bed unless Charlie's in her room. Whatever room Charlie's in, she has to be in it."
What once was lost now is found for the Thompson family. They said it's all thanks to their decision to get Charlie microchipped.
"Especially now getting him back, it's paid off tremendously having him chipped and I would encourage anybody to do it," Heidi said.
Miller said each year, FWACC reunites hundreds of pets with their owners thanks to microchips. They're said to cost between $25 and $40. Pet owners can get them at any animal shelter or veterinarian.
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