GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – For years, Michael and Phyllis Pettaway never knew what happened to their beloved dog, Debo. He disappeared the week before Christmas in 2013.
“It was kind of warm that night, so I said, ‘I'll just leave him outside’ and that morning when I got up it had rained, and I didn't realize it had rained and he doesn't like rain. He got loose,” Michael said.
They thought Debo would come back like he did before, but the days and months kept passing.
“I cried. I was so sad. We didn't think we were going to get him back,” Phyllis said.
Debo remained missing for close to five years. This month, the family received a surprising phone call. Debo was brought into the Guilford County Animal Shelter as a stray.
“When they said this is from the animal shelter, I said ‘yeah, right,’” Michael said.
“I was shocked, like what, Debo, you’re kidding me,” Phyllis said.
Debo was microchipped as a puppy, which allowed the shelter to contact the family to pick him up.
“I didn't know if he would still know me, but he ran right to me and then he started responding to his name, so he never forgot his name either,” Michael said.
“We both were shocked and happy and blessed,” Phyllis said.
People at the Guilford County Animal Shelter believe this is the longest amount of time that has passed where they’ve seen an owner reunited with a pet.
The shelter microchips pets from 2 to 3 p.m. each day except Tuesday for $10.