A dog who somehow wound up in Lakewood, 715 miles from his home near Sacramento, will be reunited with his owner today.
Hours after Bryan Rapozo’s 2-year-old Patterdale terrier went missing Tuesday, the heartbroken owner doubted he’d ever see his beloved Bear again.
“I figured that was it,” Rapozo said. “I didn’t think I’d ever get him back.”
A woman who didn’t identify herself turned in the 20-pound dog Thursday to the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, saying she found him roaming in Lakewood.
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Because Bear had an implanted microchip, the Humane Society was able to get a message to Rapozo that the dog had been found and was safe in Tacoma.
“It was the best news I’ve ever heard,” Rapozo said Friday.
“He’s like my son,” said the 32-year-old father of two daughters. “I just want my boy back.”
Rapozo started the 13-hour drive up from Sacramento on Friday to pick up Bear today. When he sees him, “I’ll probably start crying,” he said.
Bear was sitting outside the office of the acoustical ceiling company where Rapozo works when he disappeared Tuesday afternoon.
“He sits out back waiting for a squirrel that’s been bothering him,” said Rapozo, who lives in Rio Linda near Sacramento.
How Bear ventured all the way to Lakewood remains a mystery.
“I think somebody took him and he got away,” Rapozo said. “He doesn’t stray. He doesn’t go anywhere without me.”
When Bear was turned in, he didn’t have the new collar and identification tag that Rapozo had put on him Sunday. The tag included Rapozo’s name and cell phone number, and the dog’s name as well.
But Bear did have a microchip.
Humane Society officials scanned it for its identification code, contacted the microchip company and called the veterinary clinic that had implanted the device. Then they left a message with Rapozo’s ex-wife, whose contact information was listed with the clinic, said Marguerite Richmond, development director at the Humane Society.
Tammi Rapozo in Rio Linda called her ex-husband, and Rapozo called his dog’s caretakers in Tacoma.
“I was excited that somebody found him, that I knew he was safe,” Rapozo said.
In her 16 years at the Humane Society, Richmond said she’s never known of a dog wandering so far.
“I think it’s extremely unusual,” Richmond said. “He didn’t walk up here. He didn’t get here by himself.”
Bear was in fine condition when turned in.
“He’s very happy,” Richmond said. “He just wants to jump in your lap and kiss your face.”
Richmond said the happy ending shows it’s a good idea to have your pet microchipped, which costs $25 at the Humane Society.
Rapozo said Bear will no longer be going outside alone. He said he’s putting his dog on “lockdown” when he gets him back.
“He’s not going to leave my side,” Rapozo said.