|City of Calgary Community Peace Officer, Deb Taylor with Rivers, the dog found running at large last week will be returning home to Arkansas,USA, thanks to having a microchip with up-to-date contact information. Monday March 26 2012. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY)
Buddy's incredible journey appears to be over.
When animal bylaw officials found the goofy chocolate Lab dog running about in a Calgary park recently, they tracked down its owner via a microchip in Arkansas.
But that was its original owner, a young man heartbroken when the purebred was stolen about four years ago -- but now thrilled to get him on a flight, which will finally see the dog return home.
"It's what we do, it's about getting lost pets home and our borders seem to be expanding," bylaw boss Bill Bruce said, stressing the reunion likely would never have happened had the dog not had a microchip or other permanent ID.
"We've returned dogs to Saskatchewan and Ontario, but this is the first time we are flying one home to the U.S."
The dog's ordeal began when it was just five or six months old and stolen from outside a Fayetteville, Ark., home.
Taken in by an unsuspecting man in Oregon a little more than a year ago, the dog ran away during a recent visit to Calgary by that man's girlfriend and ended up with animal services.
Mary Sue Farmer said she initially thought it was too good to be true when she heard the pup purchased for her son Pete from a long line of champion duck-hunting dogs had been found so far away.
"I was pretty flipped out," she said Monday. "I said, 'We have to bring him home'."
When the dog, originally named Rivers, went missing, Farmer said she was tenacious in trying to find it.
"We put out flyers, I kept calling vets and animals shelters and did everything to try and find him," she said.
"Pete was devastated, he would never let me get another puppy."
The man who called the dog his own until recently was heartbroken to learn of the sordid tale behind his beloved pooch, but gracious despite the circumstances.
"The people who have been caring for him have done a good job," Bruce said. "They understand he needs to go home."
Farmer said they will re-train Buddy to go by Rivers -- which should be easy.
"He's a lab," Bruce said. "Just show him a treat and he's your best friend."
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