When a pug wandered onto the porch of her Durant home looking for water a couple weeks ago, Vicki Collman had no idea the dog had been missing for two years or how the canine had traveled 130 miles from home outside Dibble, Oklahoma.
Valerie Botchlet and her family looked for their family pug Fiona for weeks when she went missing approximately two years ago. When those efforts came up empty, Botchlet said she had given up hope.
“We looked for weeks all around the area, driving up and down every road, talking to neighbors, put up fliers in town, posted on all the local Facebook groups, and called the shelters in the surrounding towns,” Botchlet said. “I did give up hope after a few months. I thought that she had either been stolen by someone who saw a purebred small breed dog and wanted to keep her for themselves or saw an opportunity to sell her and make some money.”
Botchlet said she also worried something even worse happened to her fur baby.
“If she had just escaped the yard on her own, and not picked up by someone, I thought she would have been killed by coyotes or other wildlife,” Botchlet said. “We live out in the country and there are plenty of predators.”
After giving the thirsty pug water, Collman brought her to a vet to check if the dog was tagged. And fortunately for the Botchlets, that microchip led to the happy reunion with the Botchlets just outside Dibble; approximately 130 miles — or a two-and-a-half-hour drive — from Durant.
After Fiona went missing, Botchlet said her family eventually added new dogs to the family.
“We took in a stray pit bull mix puppy and bought a German Shepherd puppy for my son’s birthday,” she said, adding her daughter was ecstatic when she heard the news about Fiona. “My daughter was very surprised when we picked up Fiona, she had just told me about two weeks prior how much she missed Fiona. When we got to Vickie’s home and she brought Fiona out of the bedroom and handed her to my daughter Ava, she immediately hugged her tight and had the biggest smile on her face. Ava held Fiona the entire way home that night.”
Fiona is happy to be home, and soaking up the love, Botchlet said.
“It’s honestly like she never left,” Botchlet said. “It was obvious that she still recognized us as soon as we picked her up.”
Botchlet said it was a tough loss, but one that had a happy ending.
“It’s hard to lose a pet, especially when you don’t know what happened to them,” Botchlet said. “However, this story goes to show you that there are still good people in this world willing to do the right thing, and there’s always hope.”