Pets: they show up in the darndest places.
Joining the ranks of the cat who was found 900 miles from home and the dog from Michigan who turned up in Texas is Sinatra: the dog who went missing from Brooklyn, New York, 18 months ago and was recently picked up in Seffner, Florida.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the brown-and-white husky with striking blue eyes went missing shortly after his 16-year-old owner, Zion Willis, died during a “tragic gun accident” in 2015.
“I didn’t believe it at first, but when I saw the picture, I broke down in tears,” Zion’s father Lesmore Willis told the Florida paper of seeing the pup. After the dog was gone for more than one year, Zion’s family and friends, who spent months searching for the pet, feared they had lost this link to their loved one forever.
Turns out Sinatra was taken in by another teen. Rose Verrill, 13, recently found the canine wandering near her home and was immediately dedicated to finding the dog’s true owner.
A trip to the vet revealed that Sinatra had a microchip; unfortunately the information on the chip was distorted. Using the recovered name “Willis” Les and a phone number with one wrong digit, reports the Associated Press, Verrill and her friend Jeanne Baldi scoured Facebook for possible matches and eventually found Zion’s father.
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After comparing photos, Willis and Baldi confirmed the dog was indeed Sinatra, though neither has any idea how the pooch ended up so far south.
“That was [Zion’s] dog and their bond was strong. She loved to take him on her walks to the store. The love was obvious. When he was gone, it was like losing a part of her,” Willis said.
Zion’s dad now has that piece back. On Sunday, a friend of the Verrill family traveled to Baltimore with Sinatra to meet up with Willis and return the dog.