ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A long tale of two basset hounds ends happily in a St. Louis suburb. The dogs... "Allie" and "Bama" ...were stolen in 2007 from their owners' yard in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Brenda Travis and her husband Tom Shields searched for the dogs but never found them even though one had a micro-chip identification. The couple eventually moved to Wichita, Kansas with no hope of ever recovering their beloved animals.
But they were surprised last week when a caller from Dallas, Georgia told them the two pets had been found wandering along a road hundreds of miles from Tennessee in the Atlanta suburb of Dallas.
"So there was a long silence and a lot of tears and then my next question was are they okay? She said they are healthy and they are fat," said Brenda Travis Saturday as she hugged one of her floppy eared dogs.
The identification micro-chip in one of the dogs led the Georgia animal shelter to the family. A network of volunteers organized via Facebook then shuttled the two dogs from Georgia to Nashville. That's where Belleville resident Don Hunt picked them up Saturday morning for the five hundred mile drive to St. Louis.
Hunt was thrilled to play a part in the reunion since he is a basset hound lover. " I think the biggest thing is they are so gentle...don't run all over the place.. well mannered dogs," he explained as he watched "Allie" and "Bama" get reacquainted with Brenda and Tom.
The couple had driven from their home in Wichita, Kansas to a home in New Town near St. Charles where Hunt's former wife Linda offered to host the reunion. Linda Hunt watched the event unfold, often wiping tears from her eyes.
Brenda kept shaking her head in amazement that both dogs were back in her arms. "There will be no way I'll ever be able to say thanks enough. Someday we hope to give everyone a hug. ...great appreciation because this is just amazing."
"Thank goodness somebody kept them together because they were inseparable before they left our house," she said still amazed the two dogs had been companions during their entire absence.
Hunt belongs to Guardian Angel Basset Hound Rescue, a midwest group that rescues some 300 hounds a year. "This proves you should get your pets micro-chipped because if they were never micro-chipped they would have never been found."
The two hounds and their owners were on the road for Wichita by 5pm. "I don't think it will take them long to remember us. We have a small Yorkie that was with us for the three and a half years. I think they'll know her.. so I hope so," Brenda said. She also has two other dogs and a grandson she cares for at home.
For more information about the rescue efforts contact : http://www.bassetrescue.org/AboutUs.html.