If only all dogs could have this problem: A little Maltese named Reese has one too many families who want to give him a forever home. And both, it seems, have pretty strong cases.
Reese came into the national spotlight last weekend, when he turned up lost on the side of a Tacoma, Washington, highway. A vet scanned him for a chip and found one: Reese was owned Dinah Miller of Tyler, Texas, some 1,800 miles away. The vet called her and discovered more shocking news. Reese had been missing for seven years, and the Millers dearly missed their dog.
“Every time you hear a bark, you think, that sounds like Reese,” Miller told KHOU. “We drove. We searched. We looked over fences. We peeped everywhere we could without getting shot.”
In short order, Reese was booked on a flight and flown back to Texas, into the embrace of her long-lost family. It seemed a happy ending to an all-too-familiar tale.
But Miller didn’t know the full story yet. Where had Reese been for those seven years? It was only when the dog was back in Texas that the rest of the pieces fell into place. Miller learned Reese had been with another family, a family who adopted the dog at a Texas shelter six years ago and then moved to Washington, and they wanted their dog back. Kelli Daivs told KHOU that Reese — or rather Harley, for that is what they call the dog — had escaped after her two-year-old daughter unlatched the front door, and they had been looking everywhere for her.
“We were running down the street trying to find him, and she was crying, ‘My Harley ran away,'” said Davis. “Every day we have gone out and printed fliers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day calling his name.”
Miller, though, isn’t giving the dog back, and the Davis family is crushed. Miller said her “heart goes out to the family,” according to KHOU, but there is “no way” she’s giving back Reese. She said the dog is being treated like a king back in Texas.
Davis claims that the dog had been marked as an owner-surrender at the shelter where she adopted the dog, but when she contacted the shelter to bolster her case, she found out it purges its records after five years.
The Davis family is heartbroken, yet according to KHOU legal expert Gerald Treece, there’s not much it can do, because the dog legally belongs to Miller.
“Harley is my daughter’s best friend,” said Davis. “That’s her little buddy. They do everything together. … I don’t know what to do. We just lost a part of our family.”
Imagine having a dog for six years, one you rescued from a shelter, only to have him suddenly flown to another state, never to be seen again. And then imagine losing your precious dog and searching everywhere for him, only to get a call seven years later that he’s been found.
It’s a tough one. What side do you fall on?
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