3-Legged Dog Reunited with Owner Almost a Year After Going Missing: 'It's Like She Never Left'
Athena has found her forever home — again!
The brindle dog, who had one of her legs amputated last year after being hit by a car, previously disappeared from the Bourbon, Missouri, backyard of her owner, Dylan Summers, in February 2020, while she was recovering from her amputation and still on postoperative medication.
According to St. Louis-area station KTVI FOX 2, Summers said that he "searched everywhere for" Athena "and posted online" in an attempt to locate her, "but no one came forward."
"I had suspicions that she was stolen but I couldn't confirm it. I was so worried about her," he added.
Eventually, Summers began searching shelters for a new dog to adopt — and got the surprise of his life when he saw photos of Athena on the website of Gateway Pet Guardians (GPG), about an hour away from his home.
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Summers called the shelter and left a voicemail, which was checked by Gateway Pet Guardians Program Director Alisha Vianello at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night.
"It was about 9 p.m. on the night of December 30th and I just happened to check my voicemail before bed and there was a call from Dylan stating that we had his dog! I called him back immediately and was so happy to learn that the dog we had named 'Miss-A-Toe' was actually his missing dog, Athena," said Vianello, KTVI FOX 2 reports.
"Everyone involved in her rescue had been so puzzled as to how a dog who not only was spayed but was also healthy and had received a life-saving surgery was on the property with other dogs who seemed likely to have never received veterinary care," she added of Athena, who was confiscated from a property along with others dogs earlier that month. "All the missing pieces really came together when I spoke to Dylan. The next day I contacted her foster family, who was thrilled for her and arranged a time for everyone to meet at the GPG facility."
"I was so happy to hear that she was safe and doing well, and being reunited with her was incredible," said Summers, according to KTVI FOX 2. "She is already settled back in at home and it's like she never left. I am so appreciative of Gateway Pet Guardians for getting her back home to me."
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GPG shared a photo of the happy reunion to their Facebook page on Friday, beginning their caption, "We have quite the crazy story to start off the year! In December, Gateway Pet Guardians took in a beautiful brindle pup we named Miss-A-Toe."
"Her back leg and part of her tail had been surgically removed at some point, and she had also already been spayed," the post read. "Police removed her from a property where the owner was in serious legal trouble, and the other dogs at the residence looked like they had never had vet. Naturally, we were all puzzled as to how a dog who had costly surgeries was there with them."
"Well, two days ago we received a call from Dylan, her original dad! She had been hit by a car about a year ago, and he had paid for her surgery only for her to suddenly disappear from his yard in February. He was devastated and posted everywhere for her, but she was never found. He suspected she was stolen but couldn't confirm it," said GPG.
"Fast forward to 12/30 when he had decided to start looking online for a new dog, and there she was on our website! Our shelter is over an hour away from his home! Today, we were thrilled to reunite Athena (her real name) and her dad," the group concluded.