Dog missing for 8 years finds its way home to Gibsonville

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GIBSONVILLE, N.C. -- Jack Russell terriers are known for being smart but there is one in Gibsonville that may be one of the smartest after he found his way home after being gone for eight years.

Jessica Reid got Junior on Christmas morning back in 2004 and he was the only thing on her Christmas list.

"I woke up to him licking my face. I was so happy, so happy I was crying," remembers Jessica Reid, Junior's owner.

For about a year, Junior fit right into the Reid family and their morning routine.

"We let him out to go potty before we left and when we went to let him back in he wasn't there and we couldn't find him and we looked and looked," said Jessica.

Days turned into weeks then into months.

"We went through the neighborhood -- put up signs everywhere we possibly could. We never got a call, not one call. It was heartbreaking," said Crista Reid, Jessica's mom.

"We just accepted that we were probably not going to ever see him again. There were a lot of times I would dream of him being back," said Jessica.

On Tuesday, eight years later, Jessica's dream came true. Crista and her youngest daughter were leaving their home when they saw a dog at the end of their driveway.

"She said, 'Well that looks like Junior' and I said ‘It couldn't be it's too long ago. You were so little how can you remember what he looks like?’ ... 'I'm telling you momma that's Junior,'" said Crista. The dog was Junior. He was still wearing his collar and tags.

The Reid family is still trying to figure it all out, but whatever Junior's story is his family is just happy it ended at home.

"I will always remember him coming home. My little miracle," says Jessica.

The Reid family says if Junior is thinking about taking another eight year vacation it's going to be a little tougher. They are keeping a very close eye on him.


    • Chucky1992

      He was working to become a Road Scholar then he wanted to travel the world. Put him to the test… does he understand commands in other languages?

  • Lynn Polochock

    That is NOT the same dog as the one they show when he was a puppy! Completely different markings!!!! Doesn’t anyone else see that???

  • jeff perkins

    put him on a leash and let him lead he might take you to where he was and try calling him J – R that may be what they were calling him.

  • ByeByeToTheRight

    I don’t believe this. Of course, it’s from some small town in North Carolina, so that makes it even more suspicious! Some here have pointed out the completely different coloring – owning fox terriers as I do, I know they can change dramatically from puppy to adulthood, and even quite dramatically every year during adulthood! When I get mine groomed, sometimes they come back almost black and white, other times almost white or grey, sometimes showing some ginger, etc. So don’t go JUST by that – however, these markings on the puppy pic and the adult dog are VERY different – so again, looks like it MIGHT not be the same dog. But I don’t trust these folks – could someone confirm the collar? Man, it must be dirty and grimy by now – and if some owner took care of it, why would they leave the collar on for 8 years? The collar may even be too small after the first year! So I think they’re like a lot of small town North Carolina – can’t be trusted.

    • lESLIE cOOKE

      I am one of her co-workers that suggested her to tell her story. We dont care if you believe the story of not! This woman has been thru alot this past year and for this dog to come home before christmas was truely a blessing for her family.Get a life and stop putting people down who wants to share their good story.

    • Savannah Barrett

      I’m another of the co-workers that thought this story needed to be shared and am the one that contacted Fox 8. This is indeed a true story and this is indeed how it happened. While we’re all quite interested in finding out where Junior’s been, it’s quite likely we’ll never know. So we’ll just call it what is is, a blessing. Your “trust” issues would probably be better understood elsewhere.

    • sally jane

      WTHECk has being from a small town got to do with not being honest???????? Your comment doesn’t make any sense.

  • Crista Reid

    I don’t ever feel like I need to justify anything to anyone but in this case I will to defend my daughter. I did not contact the news media and never intended to. My co-worker did and several others that begged me to share my story after I came to work in tears of his return. Let me first clarify that the collar is not the original collar. It is a brand new collar so someone was taking care of him. I don’t understand why you would take an old tag and place it on a brand new collar?? Why not replace the tag with your information if you plan on keeping the dog?? We don’t know what happened to him during this time but for some reason he returned. I don’t have any information on who had him but I feel like this……if the original tags were still on him you had 8 years to contact us to return him. We have lived at the same address for 17 years and had the phone number that was listed on the tag for 10 years. This would have given the person plenty of time to make contact and maybe even check on see if this was a child’s dog. We never stated he was out in the wild, never had his collar changed…. in fact during the interview I stated he was well taken care of they just didn’t include that statement. Yes, we live in a small town that is why it would not have been hard to find us if they wanted to return the dog and that is probably why he was able to find his way home IF he did on his own. I would hope that if it was a case they could no longer care for him or the person died that they would drop him off to us instead of the shelter. Please think about that possibility before you put someone down. This is not about notoriety or making a name for ‘the town’. It touched many hearts that asked me to share the story so I did. It is sad what this has turned into.

    • Lori

      I think someone stole him from you. For some reason (maybe guilt) they brought him back 8 years later. There had to be a reason they kept his tags. Beautiful story. Ignore the negative people.

    • Margaret Damiani

      You have to ignore the negative comments on here as there are way too many rotten people in the world. Misery loves company I guess is so true. I also believe someone stole him or found him and just kept him. I also think he would lead you to their doorstep. Glad he returned home. I also have a J Russell. Jack Russells pretty much pick the one person they love and never pay to much attention to anyone else, they are smart as a whip too. Too bad they took so long to let him go back home, but then again he is home. Vet check is in order though, hopefully he is healthy . Thank you for your story love it

  • Willie

    Christa, this is a beautiful story and just in time for Christmas. Ignore those that are spreading hate. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  • aimee

    This is a beautiful story! Please DON’T LET THESE NEGATIVE people bring uou down, especially at such a joyful time in your life! I have a similar story , bit our dog wasnt gone for no 8 years, almost a year! But the point is , is that uour baby is back :-) Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  • Justme

    While the sentiment of the story is true, I don’t think that it’s the same dog. The dog’s look completely different. I think this is a case of someone either stealing the dog, and having remorse and wanting to make amends, or more tragically, something happening to the original Junior, and wanting to make it right, and finally having the means to do so. I’m glad that they believe it to be their dog and have welcomed him “home”, but I’m sorry, looking at the dog in the puppy pics, and the dog now, they are clearly two different dogs. Sometimes we just need to believe for something to be true in order to heal our hearts. Whatever the case may be, there is now a family with a dog to love, and a dog that has a house to call a home.

    • Pam Klinebough

      I agree. It is one less dog that will end up in the shelter. I volunteer at my local shelter and I see all kinds of things happen. I was also thinking that someone could have replaced the dog but didn’t really want to say that. All that matters is that the dog now has a loving home and the empty void that was created when Junior disappeared has been filled.

  • S Dill

    Yorkies’ faces are almost black as pups,
    turning gold over the first couple of years.
    So, that explains the markings change.he
    He has the collar and tags so im inclined to believe.
    We lost a Boston Terrier from Austin, Tx and
    got him back from Witchita, Ks-put tags on your dogs!

  • Lisa

    I’m speechless at some of the ignorant, inconsiderate, negative people in this world. This is a great story! Who cares if you don’t believe if it’s the same dog or not. What a shame.. Prayers are needed for the ignorance of this world.

  • Shelia from statesville

    Ok this is obviously a hoax. If you look at the pictures of junior when he was a puppy & now, they don’t even have the same colors or markings. Like on the top of his head on the middle it white but in the puppy pictures it was white with almost like a black headband on. Come on people this is NOT the same dog, these people just wanted to be on tv. This type of stuff should be reserved to soldiers coming home after 8 years not a dog that supposedly ran away and mysteriously found his way back home almost a year to the day? Come on now! Merry Christmas to our soldiers that are coming home this Christmas! May God bless y’all!

  • Pam Klinebough

    My advice is to get him microchipped. That would erase any doubt from their minds. Jack Russells can change. Mine has. She is about 10 years old and has lost a lot of her coloring. Does it really matter if it is the same dog? Both the family and the dog seem to be very happy together. The tag is the same. it could be that the person that had him all these years made sure he got back home where he belonged. Whatever happened, the family and the dog are happy and that is all that matters. Just get him microchipped for his own safety and for the sanity of the family. Merry Christmas to Jessica and Junior!! And the rest of the family.

  • Steve Hogan

    Many interesting comments. I suggest that someone kidnapped your dog 8 years ago, kept him as their own for those years, got a conscience or got tired of him, re-found the old collar, put it on him, and then dropped him at your driveway. There is no way a collar would last for 8 years of use and no way he would not last for 8 years in the wild without a lot of “wear & tear” on his little body. A dognapper would have quickly changed the collar in case someone picked up the dog and noticed ID did not match dognapper’s name & address. You will probably never know where he’s been; unless someone in the dognapper’s family shares the story. It’s still an amazing story; regardless of where he has been or why.

  • DianaJoe

    I imagine he had those same markings just not as prominent as a pup. He knows his name and he loves his family. Even a Dalmatian is born all white. Love these stories

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