Missing for 5 years, beloved pet set to return
Published: October 30, 2007 | 6784th good news item since 2003
A North Fort Myers man who lost his dog five years ago will be reunited with his beloved pet today.
Gary Thomas, 44, of North Fort Myers, is making the five-hour drive, with his son, Chance Reed, 12, to Lake City where they will meet Mindy Sue, their nearly 14-year-old Boston terrier.
The dog was found wandering around a state park in northern Georgia in early October. They identified Thomas as the owner through a microchip in the dog.
Phyllis Nixon, a volunteer with the Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue in Alabama, is driving about 400 miles to return Mindy, who is blind and deaf, to her family.
“She’s doing real well, she’s real sweet, she’s a good traveler and healthy as a horse,” Nixon said.
Thomas believes the dog was stolen while he went fishing in Boca Grande in 2002. When he returned home the house had been broken into and the only thing missing was Mindy Sue.
“There was blood on a small window that was broken and the dog was gone,” Thomas said.
Thomas has owned the dog since she was about a year old. He bought her in Shelbyville, Ind. He had the microchip implanted in the dog after he moved to Florida.
The dog was about to be euthanized when the Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue group from Alabama became involved.
The group arranged to have someone pull her from the shelter, found a foster home and worked out transportation to Birmingham, said Donna Farmer, president of the Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue in Alabama. “This was done in 24 hours.”
She was then taken to a foster home in Decatur, Ala., where she stayed for about two weeks.
“Whoever had her took real good care of her,” Farmer said. “She seemed to be in good shape.”
The microchip was discovered after the dog was scanned at the foster home. The shelter, which originally had Mindy, either did not have a scanner or did not check for a chip.
Farmer can only guess how the dog got to north Georgia. She may have been sold to a family there by the person who took her from Thomas’ home.
A phone number on the chip for Lee County Animal Services had been disconnected. The microchip had to have been implanted prior to 2000 prior to the agency moving to a new location, said Ria Brown, Lee County Animal Services spokeswoman.
“We received both an e-mail and a phone call from the Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue, asking for our help in locating the dog’s owner, Gary Thomas,” Brown said. “One of our officers, Carol McConnell, spoke to someone at the rescue which then led to the owner being contacted.”
To help correct the dog’s failing eyesight, Thomas, who is unemployed, plans do do some fundraising.
“I’m hoping to have a yard sale so that I can get some money to get her cataracts removed,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ family always celebrated the dog’s birthday in hopes she was alive.
Now, she’s coming back home where she will play with Girl, 12, a pitbull/mastiff mix.
“The volunteer bringing her back is like a guardian angel,” Thomas said. “They say she is very healthy and I can’t wait to see her.”